I’m Not Sure This Is Going To Cut It

IMG_6349, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This is the famous bodega across the street from the Petworth Metro on New Hampshire Ave. It is a notorious spot for drug dealing and loitering. While I like the font on these signs, I’m not sure their message will be appreciated. And since these signs are under the authority of the bodega, do you think a dealer is going to obey?

Updated: Actually a neighbor of mine told me that he saw a number of kids smoking grass and dealing a “few transactions” right across the street outside the metro. So maybe it has had a little effect…

In all seriousness, I feel really bad for the proprietors of this store who seem like really hard working nice folks. It is shame that they have to deal with the loitering and dealing outside their store. Now, that I think of it another person told me that there are dealers who hang out front of the bodega on 5th and Shepherd. Is this a common problem outside many bodegas in the neighborhood?

15 Comment

  • Yes, I speak Spanish, but is a bodega what I call a little store? Or a corner store? I have never heard one of those establishments called a bodega by people from here. I know that’s what small stores or markets are called in NYC, but here?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Are you offended by the term bodega? I’m from NY originally, that is what is we call these stores, it is ingrained in my mind. But this is the second time someone has voiced concern so please tell me what the offense is to using the word bodega.

  • No one should be offended by the term – it’s not derogatory in any way. It’s just not used in DC much, if at all. I’ve only heard it used in NYC & Boston, here we just call them corner store, market, mercado, tienda, etc.

  • Yeah, it annoys me, a lifer from DC, that you use the term bodega. Can’t say why but if it helps I hate the Yankees too….. and I don’t even watch or play baseball.

  • One of the El Salvadorian places on MtP St has a sign calling itself a “Bodega.” For what it’s worth…

  • I learned that the term Bodega was Puerto Rican or Carribean. Mercado was more sophisticated and something an educated person would say. And Tienda was a Central American phrase. But I’m not Latin, so forgive me for my mistakes.

    On Halloween I was talking to one of the teachers at my son’s school and I used the term Fantasma for a ghost and he laughed and said, “You sound like an old woman who lives in the country, you mean, Espectro.”

    Only Espectro was a word we used to describe rainbows and everyone in Mexico uses the term Fantasma.

  • The correct term is “Salvadoran” not “Salvadorian” or “el salvadorian”

  • I find it interesting that all the responses have to do with the use of the word “bodega”, but not POP’s question. For a minute I thought I was reading a transcript from one of the Presidential debates…

  • I agree with anonymous – yikes! I live up Georgia a bit and the market across from me has a nice bit of drug traffic outside. Interestingly, the Safeway in AM used to be a hotbed of drugs and, before the advent of cell phones, stolen calling card number transactions. I guess there is something about food markets that attracts this activity.

  • The signs will probably help move the trafficking away from the store. Interesting comments on different words in Spanish. One of my friends from Brazil was taking Spanish at Johns Hopkins and trying to practice on another spanish speaking friend from Puerto Rico. It was pretty funny! If you’ve ever lived in another region of the US there are the same kinds of differences in English, and I’ll note that a lot of them have to do with food.

  • Offended? I’m offended by drug dealing, crime, killings, the war in Iraq (don’t get me started). I was merely questioning the use of the word bodega in DC to describe a corner store or a neighborhood market. My parents are (were) from NYC but came to DC before the huge Puerto Rican influence on life and culture there, so I was not exposed to the word through them. But other NYisms, especially borrowings from Yiddish abounded. Speaking about offended, I didn’t mean to offend anyone, especially PoP, with my questions about the term. I’m a language teacher and am so atuned to language and languages in general. Thank you for someone above posting that bodega is a PR term, possibly also used in the Dominican Republic (Caribbean). And as for fantasma for ghost, pues así se dice, that’s how you say it in standard Spanish. Also Salvadorans don’t call a corner store or a market a bodega typically. I asked a Salvadoran en español just to make sure.

  • This may be a dumb question, but why wouldn’t the owners call the PoPo when the dealers are doing their thing in front of the store.

    I used to drive down Kennedy on my commute home. There was almost always a police car parked on the sidewalk in front of the store PoP was talking about. Do they still do that?

  • just put a fake video camera outside the store.

    they’re like $30 and they keep the trash away.

    hell, i’ll buy one for them, but i won’t install it. brick it way too hard for me to drill through.

    or maybe my drill just sucks….

  • ever hear of a mason bit, pal? works like a charm

  • I live right down the street from that store and go there fairly often. I’ve never noticed any drug dealing right on that corner. I have smelled pot which I guess is the result of a deal, but I would be surprised if they were dealing there.

    There is a whole boatload of action on the block behind the store on 8th street in the alley that runs between Quincy and Rock Creek Church road. I’ve called the police a couple of times. They kick up the cruising for a few days and it dies down, and then as soon as they are gone, everybody is back in action.

    But I am curious if I just completely didn’t notice action at the store. Means maybe I am getting too lax….

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