By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
The New York Times recently took note of 14th Street’s transformation in a piece entitled, “A Street’s Grit Gives Way to Glamor.” While The Times loves to deliver backhanded compliments to our fair city, this one gets to the heart of a brewing neighborhood debate: How many luxury apartments and expensive restaurants are too many?
While no one is really mourning the loss of liquor stores or pawn shops (well, a few are), there are many area residents we’ve spoken to that worry about how high rents are climbing for real estate and retail in the area. The Times credits the area’s explosive growth to the opening of Whole Foods in 2000.
In case you don’t feel like reading the Grey Lady, the article does get around to this question at the end of the article, asserting that many residents are happy with the transformations but there are a few that miss the grit. You may recall a Q&A piece with national journalist (and Borderstan resident) Julie Mason in which she mentioned how she missed seeing the transvestite prostitutes in the ‘hood.
What about you? Are you happy to trade Central Mission, hookers and a pawn shop for the possibility of ‘little’ big box stores?
- DC Liquor Licenses by the Numbers: Ward 2, 40% and Ward 1, 16%
- 14th and U: Petition Opposes Possibility of Liquor License Moratorium
- No Hotel for 13th and U, Project Will Be Residential Says JBG
- JBG Cos. Developing All Around U Street Corridor (Hotel or No Hotel?)
- Plans Unveiled for the Louis at 14th/U; Will Remake Famous Corner
- Feb. 2: ANC 1B Takes Closer Look at Florida Avenue Development
- Developer Changes Course: Rentals Not Condos at 14th & S NW
- U Street Dirt: “NOT Ballston” for 14th & U
- In Pictures: Development Projects Line the 14th Street Corridor
Shh! It’s a secret! This week I attended my first underground dining experience: the DC Supper Club.
Remember when The Washington Post ran that story about underground supper clubs? There was a brief moment when it seemed these clubs would be the next cupcake. A hot foodie trend that would grow and grow, reaching critical mass until foodies declared it passe. Kind of like that whole speakeasy thing.
Due to, one can only assume, fairly stringent health codes, legalities of serving food to the public and other such regulations, the baby trend hasn’t grown much (thankfully). But DC has a flair for the secretive, the underground, the “I know something you don’t know!”– so we’re not without options.
I’ve heard about and been invited to join other underground dining clubs, but, to be frank, the price tags had kept me away. You can safely assume you’ll be dropping $60 to $100 or more depending on the club.
DC Supper Club website: “Sign up for the next Supper Club which happens monthly at an undisclosed location. You will find yourself enveloped in a twelve course gastronomic experience like you have never had before. This is not just a dinner… It ‘s an event designed to inspire, fulfill, intoxicate, and involve all your senses.”
In case you missed it, there was another¹ New York Times article on DC hipsterness last week, which comes closely on the heels of the Out magazine article on gay hipsterness in DC. The title of the April 26 piece is “All the Obama 20-Somethings” and it profiles some of the young White House staffers and their DC lives.
Worth noting is where many apparently live, which is here:
The young White House staff members have formed an unofficial enclave in an area north of the White House, where many live within a 15-minute walk from one another, settling in group houses and apartments in Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, U Street and Columbia Heights. The tiny but distinct neighborhoods bleed into one another, with nightlife emanating out from the U Street corridor. The area, part of which was ravaged during the 1968 riots, is gentrifying but still has a gritty feel.
Personally, I think gritty might be a bit hyperbolic; I suspect my neighbors who moved here in 1985 or so could explain gritty to the reporter. But as they say, it’s all relative. (Perhaps they were willing to take a chance on grittiness after Kal Penn led the way?)
Be sure to take a look at the map showing the favorite hangouts of our White House-connected neighbors: “A guide to bars, restaurants, cafes and a basketball court frequented by the 20-somethings working in the Obama White House.”
Included on the list are three favorites in this domicile: Java House (great lox, a nice patio and they roast beans), Rice (always very good) and Stoney’s (try the pizza). I point out these three establishments simply because we regularly patronize them. Perhaps we can attain White House-level hipsterness by osmosis or transference?
Also, don’t miss the reader comments on the article–they run the gamut from adulation to bitterness at the good fortune of the staffers profiled in the piece.
There is something of a breathless quality–the Vanity Fair- style staged photos are a hint–to the article and it is fairly lengthy. Overall, though, it is a well-written and interesting read, especially if you live in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.