‘Tony on Being the Mayor of Congress Street’ by Danny Harris

Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. He launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. You can follow People’s District on Twitter @PeoplesDistrict, and can read his previous columns here.

SpeakeasyDC and Danny will be hosting a DC storytelling night on stage at Town next week. The event will be March 8, at 8pm at Town. Tickets are $10. Details are here.

“I’ve been fixing cars since before most of you were born. I started in Jamaica, where I was born, and have been doing it for the forty years I’ve been living in Washington. I started fixing police cars over at Northeast Ford on West Virginia Avenue. After nine years there, I left to open my own business. My first shop was on 14th and Belmont, and then I moved to Georgia Avenue.

“A ways back, I returned to Northeast. Now, they call me the Mayor of Congress Street. I have been working as a mechanic here for a long time….and I mean a long time…..like 27 years long time. I can tell you everything about everything here. When I first got here, there was nothing around here and the place was rough and tough. I knew that one of these days, it was going to get better. It did.

Continues after the jump.

“As the neighborhood changes, I get a lot of new customers. Most people find me through word of mouth. I can fix any car out there. If it has four wheels, I can take it apart and put it back together. Now, I work by myself because it is hard to find people with my work ethic. People don’t want to work no more.

“See, I am a very picky person. If you can’t work how I work, you can’t work here. I don’t like customers coming back or needing to recheck things. Once a car goes out of my shop, it stays out because I fix the problem.

“I don’t mind working by myself because I listen to my Christian music. See, I am a man of faith, so I never feel alone when the father is here guiding me.”

Tony’s Auto Repair is located at 1116 Congress Street NE.

3 Comment

  • A charming story. I miss the old Ford place up on West Virginia Avenue, NE. That part of town is a hidden treasure trove.

  • DC govt. wastes millions on ineffective job-training scams. Wish they could just pay guys like Tony to take on a few apprentices. He would probably do it for the cost of Kwame’s SUV leases.

  • The best mechanic in the district. I’ve been going to him for years and can attest to his honesty and his skill. Thanks for showiing this profile. He deserves the recognition.

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