Monday, October 01, 2007

What Makes Us Among The Greatest Neighborhoods in DC


IMG_4386, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Many of you probably saw the article in today's Post titled In Columbia Heights, Room for the Little Guys.

The article says: "The $149.5 million DC USA project is being developed by Grid Properties of New York. President Drew Greenwald said the firm will reserve 15,000 square feet, or about 11 percent, of ground-floor retail space for local and minority-owned businesses, under an agreement with the District to buy and develop the land. He will reduce rents by 30 percent to encourage smaller tenants."

But for me it is the little touches exemplified by this photo that I hope we never lose. This wonderful women sells sugar cane, mangoes and a variety of other tropical fruits. I bought a bag of sliced mango for 2 bucks. Not bad. I certainly hope these authentic street vendors will have a place as well.

30 comments:

Christina said...

Nice, PoP. This is what makes us a neighborhood, and not some sterile Disneyfied development. Well, this and the littering (grrr!!!!)

odentex said...

Sugar cane is blechy. Mango is yummy tho.

Anonymous said...

speaking of sliced mangoes...did anyone go to the festival on sunday...great neighborhood feature :)

Anonymous said...

This is pretty common in Latin American neighborhoods anywhere in the US, but is something i love. Latino neighborhoods in general have a much better notion of street life/public space than really gentrified places (where everyone stays inside!)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I'm sure these folks will disappear as the neighborhood is taken over even further by people who think the DC USA development is too "low end."

Fonzy said...

Hey last two anons,

I have no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds like borderline bigotry.

reuben said...

lets be real... the "diversity"which people claim attracts them to such neighborhoods is always (can you prove me wrong) driven out by said (well meaning?) people, and -yes, those who seek a community made in their image, and their image alone..

Anonymous said...

If they would just bring a Whole Foods into DC USA then there will be no need for these street vendors!!

Anonymous said...

rueben, i've seen several of your comments on this blog and many of them come across as if you yourself are a racist. it seems sort of sad because some of what you say is really great, but i can't get beyond the hateful remarks. i'm sure you'll say you're not, but maybe you should go back and read everything you've written. you just might see what i mean.

Invisible Sun said...

compare the re-development of the Tivoli (attractive, tasteful, unique, inviting, and interesting) to the DC USA monstrosity: (ugly, vulgar, imposing, and dull). so sad...

let's hope future development, is more along the lines of the Tivoli block than the DC USA one--or we will lose the distinctiveness and charm of our neighborhood.

odentex said...

Ruben: do you feel that PW is becoming *less* diverse with the influx of hispanics and whites? Or are you only speaking of CH? It seems to me that PW is still an overwhelmingly African American neighborhood and will likely be so for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

my question is-- where did she buy her tropical fruits? she certainly didn't grow them herself. So really-- isn't it the same as the safeway down the street??

Anonymous said...

The difference is that by purchasing from her you're putting money directly into the local economy rather than into the hands of the corporate giants.

Grim said...

I'm not sure what you are taking from Reuben's comment that would be racist Anonymous (if you are going to charge racism at least use a recognizable identity...) He seems almost forlorn about the effect of hipsters seeking out diverse neighborhoods and the eventual gentrification that happens when developers and chain stores follow those hipsters (or yuppies in days past).

jon - as if it matters said...

First off, "anonymous" tells me no more than "rueben" does about who's posting. My name is Jon, does that help?

Secondly, I said I've read his comments on several posts here and I said they seem to be racist comments. And it's not always hipsters moving into these neighborhoods. I moved in 6 years ago because it was a relatively quiet and certainly affordable area. I'm no hipster.

Anonymous said...

That's not necessarily true. If you went to the Giant, yes money would go to Giant. But that Giant also employs several local residents. If everybody stopped shopping there, those people would lose jobs.

odentex said...

The biggest problem with the Giant isn't that it's run by some Darth Vader in a tower somewhere, or that it's wants to put that poor woman out of business ... the biggest problem with Giant is they don't carry hot salsa ... only yankee approved mild and medium.

BURN IT DOWN!

Anonymous said...

I hate the term hipster. It implies a "coolness" that most of these people do not possess. I love grim's idea that today's hipsters are yesterday's yuppies... except that yuppies had jobs. The 20 somethings moving into Columbia Heights and Petworth can only be described with one phrase... young lawyers.

I propose calling them "Yolys".

PS: Steal that and I'll sue you silly.

Anonymous said...

I meant "non legal jobs"

Jonathan said...

i love that stand...i used to swing by and get stuff when i lived on park rd...i hope she stays there.

GforGood said...

@invisible sun: well, Tivoli was probably re-developed given that Giant was to come there (not that unique etc etc.) and that there was a real prospect of DC USA and the other new developments coming. These things do not happen competely in isolation/independently of each other.

Anonymous said...

i'm the anon who mentioned that Latin American neighborhoods have great street life. I have no idea how fonzy would interpret that as something like borderline bigotry.

Anonymous said...

There's no question Latin neighborhoods have great street life buddy. I'm from Texas. It's the rest of what was said that's a problem. You're making a sterotype about non-Hispanic neighborhoods, like the rest of the races don't have a vibrant community life in this city and don't come out of their houses.

pauper said...

I normally leave this stuff alone, but to the last anonymous, I think you're being overly sensitive. I didn't read it to say that all races or ethnicities outside of the latino community sit in their houses all day. It just seems that the commentor thinks gentrified neighborhoods have less of a tight knit community than latino neighborhoods do.

Although, I don't necessarily agree with that or that people living in gentrified neighborhoods stay inside. Look at Columbia Heights, U Street, etc. People are out and about all of the time.

Mr. 14th & You said...

"i'm the anon who mentioned that Latin American neighborhoods have great street life. I have no idea how fonzy would interpret that as something like borderline bigotry."

I was scratching my head at that one too. It's a fact that across the globe different cultures have different traditions--have we really reached the point where making ostensibly positive comments about them implies some sort of bigoted agenda? I should hope not.

Anonymous said...

"You're making a sterotype about non-Hispanic neighborhoods, like the rest of the races don't have a vibrant community life in this city and don't come out of their houses."

I didn't say that at all. Please reread what I said. Considering I'm partly from another region of the world, Asia, which absolutely has strong street life, I would never argue such a thing. But the notion of Latinos utilizing public space more isn't a new concept. Read "Magical Urbanism", by Mike Davis, for example...

reuben said...

hmmmm. what i hate is living in a world which deems those with less cash unworthy of that which does appear when those deemed "worthy" appear.. i humbly challnge anyone to show an exception to the irony of gentrification...for me-racistn-oops, i mean racist means i feel somesuperiority (nah!) to those of inferior races.. oh, and if i had the power to further institutionalized racism-i might be able to -oh-work as a block buster in the real estate game.. i am saddened and -yes-angered -by much in this world...please define racism-anonymous

Anonymous said...

i'll make it simple - you don't like one or more other races of people - i don't know, maybe it's because you've had to deal with so much in the past - but you seem to be a smart man and blaming past treatments would be ignorant

and i know it's been said before, but this little neighborhood you call your own was once a thriving middle/upper class neighborhood - as far as i'm concerned, gentrification is just another way to say cyclical

tell me, what was so great about your neighborhood before the new developments? i'm sure you'll say that it was great because it was affordable and your neighbors weren't priced out back then, but guess what i was priced out of my neighborhood 5 years ago and i moved here - i didn't bitch

reuben said...

hmmmm. anonymous-your comment is laced with the "get over it" theme so commonly expressed in america today. one reason i think this banter between us is good is because-inmy opinion-america has never dealt with the perceptions, anger, wt have you-that is the legacy of slavery. it is not enough to sing "we are the world" and point to a picture of condi rice. for any of us.... now as far as the g word is concerned, i am (g word meaning gentrifi.... )-how shall we say it- a people before profits person. yes-i know i am a minority (no pun) where this is con cerned-but i will always believe that people -all people-are entitled to-saY-decent stores and restaurants.. i will ALWAYS believe this. always have. finally, i would suggest you look inna (forgive the typos) dictionary for a more nuanced -less emotional- definition of racism...well, almost finally... my comments on this post arent all angry-or, as someone wrote, wistful . and surely my opinions are no threat to the march of inevitability...... sigh. at lease you didnt call me "articulate"

Anonymous said...

rueben - we've got a point of agreement - everyone should be entitled to nice restaurants, shops, clean streets, less crime, etc. - i actually hope that many of my neighbors who have been here for years, will be able to stay - i don't mean to sound like i'm saying get over it, i just thought you were pointing at all your new neighbors and saying it's all their fault - like you were saying they don't care, which isn't true - take the prince for instance - he obviously cares

i was having a bad day when i called you out - my apologies