Dear PoPville – Why so many DC haters?


Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe in DC

Dear PoPville,

I live in DC, and I’m really enjoying the changes taking place around the city. As a committed resident, I am relieved that DC is finally seeing some positive and constructive changes (though admittedly aspects of gentrification are creating majority equality gaps), growing up, DC had a lot of sad tales to tell and hardly anyone outside the beltway was listening.

Last year, after securing a job I’m very happy with, I moved downtown – I live at Harvard and Sherman and I absolutely love it. I am loving DC and everything new and old it has to offer. I’m friendly with my old neighborhood neighbors and making new friends from all over the world. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much DC is pleasing me and how content I’m finding myself to be here. I do find the haters who live here to be annoying, but at least they live here and have tangible examples to refer to in their vast wailing and complaining. It’s not it, it’s you.

Stream of consciousness, I digress, the purpose of this email, because I am somewhat confused… there have been many recent articles that absolutely hate on DC [ed. note: The Post’s Dan Zak had a good response to the Cindy Adams screed] from individuals living in other cities around the country – the only thing I can surmise is that DC may finally be cool?? Are we doing well enough (restaurants, cultural activities, bars, locally owned, grown, honed, public transport & cycling, pop ups of all kinds, great concerts for every eclectic taste, shops & boutiques & vintage, breweries, etc etc etc ) to have haters?

I think the answer is yes, but I was hoping for PoPville to confirm. (I suppose I was wondering what others’ thoughts were on why we’re trying to be knocked down a peg … are we somehow the popular kids now?) This was poorly worded, my apologies, I hope you understand what I am hardly articulating. Thank you.

109 Comment

  • Harvard & Sherman ain’t downtown nothing.

    • +1. Exactly what I was coming in here to say.

    • +1 – haha – was going to say the same thing!

    • ^^You see that? That within a few minutes, three people felt the need to chime in and correct you on this? That’s a good first clue to answering why there are so many haters.

      • Uh, that doesn’t make any sense at all. People are haters because they have pride in accurately describing the city in which they live? Huh? Saying Sherman & Harvard is downtown DC is like someone in Deanwood saying they live on Capitol Hill.

        • I’m afraid it has nothing to do with pride, it’s the attitude that people feel the need to point it out so much, when I know that you all understood exactly what the OP was referring to.

          • But we can’t “know” what the OP meant. The statement “downtown DC at Harvard and Sherman” is completely nonsensical. Downtown DC is a well-defined area, one that doesn’t include the intersection of Sherman and Harvard. If being irritated when someone displays his/her ignorance of the city in which s/he lives makes me a hater, then so be it.

          • js–
            He’s not saying *you* are a hater. He is saying *other people* hate DC because there are (perceived to be) so many people living here of the personality type that would need to (repeatedly) point out an error tangential to the OP’s point.

            (I’m not saying I’m agreeing; just translating.)

      • Cause it is true! They should be called out!!

        • I think you’ve just further proved their point. Anyone who’s been here long enough knows that to a lot of people, “downtown DC” = DC proper.

        • Just making sure the ‘newbie’ has a good lay of the land… If they want to fend off the haters, they have to know what they’re talking about!

      • totally. I love many things about DC, but it is a town full of know-it-alls.

    • brookland_rez

      It’s downtown when you grew up in Woodbridge.

  • They see us rollin’.

    They be hatin’.

  • Luckily for me I see cities like DC, NY, and LA as simply places that people can live, more than cultural meccas. They all have their pluses and minuses. People that talk about cities as either “in” or “out” are the same people that buy new iPhones right when they come out, or spend 600$ on a purse they can only use on special occasions. It’s all consumerist B.S… I have lived in DC for the past 16 years and liked it, it has many bad points like a ridiculously rising cost of living and bad roads, lately the good has outweighed the bad but that can change any time.

    I’m glad I stayed in DC, if it had huge tropical “clear-water” beaches surrounding it, it would be unstoppable as far as I’m concerned… New York has way too many people and tall buildings for my liking and I’ve never been a fan of Cali rap or the vanity it exudes, but that’s just my personal preference. To write an article about my personal feelings as if they were “populist” views would be doing an injustice, and to do so as well I’d just painting myself as an elitist douchebag. I have no problems when people bad mouth my city because we could always use less douchebags here… :)

    • Agreed. DC is a great place to live & it has been for awhile (I always laugh when the newcomers act like the changes for the better started when they stepped foot inside the District). This city has seen hard times, but it’s been on the upswing – slowly at first – for almost 20 years. But, as many of the commenters have pointed out, much of the criticism comes from jealousy of DC’s (sadly unsustainable) prosperity while much of the rest of the nation suffers. Other criticism comes from the demeanor of many of the residents, who can alternate between douchiness and pretension on command. But the city! The city is beautiful and offers more than almost anywhere else, NYC excepted.

    • What is “Cali rap”, and how does that correspond with the “vanity” of 38 million people with one of the most diverse populations in the world with an area 50% larger than Italy and the number 8 stand-alone economy anywhere? What did California do to you?

  • The reason is really pretty obvious though, right? DC is doing well while much of the country is facing the worst economic circumstances of most people’s lives. So there’s a sense that DC, as the city that controls the Federal purse strings, has been able to divert everyone’s tax revenue into a prosperity that the rest of the nation isn’t sharing.

    Yes, this misses the role that urbanization and falling crime rates have played in the neighborhoods covered on this blog. But there’s an element of truth that many federal contractors especially have been able to live large on the taxpayers back.

    • +1 … this is definitely a lot of the issue.

      But… DC itself is somewhat to blame too. It’s filled with striving Type A personalities, and that filters through the culture of the city. I’ve been here 17 years and can’t wait to escape to someplace where people are friendly and welcoming.

    • Wall – You are square on for this one! The haters are everywhere and Republicans have convinced most that nothing but over paid Federal Workers live in DC. Silly I know but it is what they think.

      Oh and it has nothing to do with a nice inquiry mistakingly placing Harvard and Sherman in downtown.

      How embarassing for the first three posters.

    • Beyond that I think a lot of people don’t differentiate at all between the Washington DC that is the federal government and the Washington DC where normal people live and work.

  • I love DC and after finally battling the DMV I”m officially a DC citizen. Perfect mix of everything in my opinion. I hope I don’t get priced out.

  • interesting article about the rise of DC to America’s “Second City”…
    http://www.city-journal.org/2013/23_1_washington-dc.html

    • Interesting read, but the closing paragraph seems to come out of left field. The author heaps praise on the city for dozens of paragraphs and then concludes by saying that DC’s fortunes are at odds with the country’s.

  • I was unaware of Cindy Adams and her column on D.C. until seeing this thread.

    Someone from New York City criticizing D.C. on the basis of LITTER?!? That’s pretty rich.

    Parts of D.C. do have frustrating amounts of litter and litterers… but every time I come back to D.C. from a New York visit, I always think, “Ahh, it’s so much CLEANER here!”

  • saf

    Many of them don’t see the difference between Washington and DC. They hate Washington and don’t believe that DC exists.

    Many of them don’t believe we (DC residents) exist, or that if we do, we are all hillrats.

    Funny, they create the Washington they hate (really, can’t blame US for the fools on the hill) and then blame DC.

    • Ha! I literally JUST read that article the other day. Didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me though to be honest with you. Like the author of the article AND the OP here, I live in CH, actually quite near the OP and I find a heck of a lot more broken crack pipes and discarded 40s than smashed Ciroc bottles.

    • On the “Washington” vs. “D.C.” note… did others in PoPville see this essay in the New York Times last week?

      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/two-cities-in-one/

      I got the feeling that the writer seemed to think that all white people who’ve recently moved to the city think of it as “Washington” rather than “D.C.” Some interesting points in the essay, but it seemed to waaaaay oversimplify race and class differences in the city.

      • saf

        I hadn’t seen that – fascinating to see it being discussed outside of DC.

      • jim_ed

        Agreed. It started out strong, but by the end I was dismissing it as oversimplified and way off the mark, like nearly every article written about race and DC.

        Also, if she thinks its her new white neighbors leaving empty bottles of Ciroc around the neighborhood, I seriously have to doubt the validty of the rest of her anecdotal musings.

        • saf

          Oh, I read that last one at some point. Made me so mad.

          • The city divided thing goes back to the days when Rock Creek park was the great divide, except that never explained Shepherd Park, Mt P, Adams Morgan, Brookland, etc. or the large Black middle class. It’s just lazy journalism. DC was a second string (at best) city, a sort of overgrown state capital until the 60s/70s.

            Actually, the NW vs. SE divide has been present in DC for many decades, even when both were mostly white. The really Southern city was always S of the Anacostia, whereas the more northereastern city (European immigrants, Catholics, Jews, transplanted northeresterners) were in NW. Jim Crow ruled because of Woodrow Wilson, that vastly overrated president, and in many ways, DC probably was more of a border city–a snotty relative of Baltimore. it certainly doesn’t have the thinly disguised feudalism of, say, Atlanta.

            There are cities that probably have sharper divides that get less attention: Chicago’s racial segregation only justifies a tiresome piece every few years, Philly’s less often. No one notices that Atlanta is basically a small liberal town, almost a college town (the areas E of downtown, a rich Republican town (Buckhead) and mostly poor Black town (most of the areas S & W of downtown).

            I like DC much more than I did when I lived here in the 90s. The old second string city/overgrown state capital until was more visible. Now there’s much more going on and more of an arts and music scene, for example. It still attracts asshole-ish people and I’d never raise kids here. The DCers I knew before coming here, esp. the ones from the suburbs seemed to have a chip on their shoulder because of their exposure to famous-for-Washington types as opposed to any real exposure to interesting culture like some NYers. The kids I’ve taught here at a local college seem even worse.

          • Rich….I’m not even going to try to address all of the inacuracies and rediculousness in your rumblings. I’ll tackle one that I think is actually an I teresting fact.

            Baltimore was at one point the shinning jewel of the region where DC, even as the nations Capitol, was a rundown slum. If you actually look at the architecture of much of the cities, you’ll see that Baltimore has a lot more grand architectural history to it than our lovely city.

    • This is so true! I lived in Atlanta for 4 years before moving back here, and pretty much no one there knew that DC doesn’t have voting rights (I also know people born and raised in VA that don’t know this either…)

      • When I drove out to the west coast in the late ’80’s in my car with DC tags many people out there were shocked to learn that DC issued license plates.

  • talula

    I’ve lived in DC for two years. Most of the people I’ve met here did not grow up here, and therefore are constantly comparing DC to their hometown. “The bagels/pizza/takeout is such much better in NY” “I’ve had way better Mexican food in LA” “Seattle coffee is so much better” etc. Everything from nightclubs to rush hour traffic… nothing in DC is ever good enough for some people and this creates a lot of DC haters.

    I grew up in NYC and saw how Brooklyn changed, for better and for worse with gentrification. I ended up making friends with some NYC transplants. There were some NYC haters, but not to the extent I find in DC. I think in NYC, people move there because they want to live there and experience it, but people in DC move there only because they get can jobs, not necessarily because they want to live there.

    It’s interesting for me now being on the other side, I’m part of the gentrification of DC. I actually really love it here and hope to stay here. It bums me out since most of my circle of friends are also gentrifiers who are just marking the days off their calenders until they can move away. Guess I need to start branching out and meeting more people!

    Just my 2 cents.

    • most people that i know that were bron and raised in nyc love it here. most people i know that live here that had at one point in their lives lived in nyc hate it here.

      but i also know a lot of dc locals. all love it here.

    • I love it here and plan on staying. Only a few cities in the US can stack-up against DC when look at what it has to offer. Great walkable urban neighborhoods, good transit options (biking, a somewhat dysfunctonal Metro, and a soon to be operational streetcars/lightrail), one of the top job markets and some the best cultural/entertainment options in the U.S.

    • See, I’m definitely one of those people who moved here for jobs. But I ended up liking the city a lot and have been planning to stay for a while.

      The one thing that could change that, though, is the utter dysfunctionality of Metro. I don’t own a car and I refuse to live in a place where it’s required. DC is regressing in that direction with Metro useless on the weekends and not much better during off-peak hours. And if there isn’t a major turnaround in the next few years, I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

      • take the bus.

      • I hope that the situation with metro improves.

        But I also suggest broadening your transportation horizons. When I started biking/bus-riding five years ago following an office move which added a metro transfer (after five years as primarily a metro rider), that was when the city really opened up for me.

        Nowadays, between my bike, the bus, walking, taxis, CaBi, Car2Go, Uber, and, yes, occasionally, Metro, transit options feel abundant and flexible.

        If you are feeling car-dependent-but-for-the-metro, I would recommend at least trying a broader perspective. You might be surprised!

  • I hadn’t read/seen this article until now either, but I usually take poorly-written articles with a grain of salt. It also sounds like this woman has some underlying issue with DC that she’s not mentioning in the article – why does anyone have to be so overly dramatic and down on a city that you don’t even live in?!

    This isn’t to say that DC doesn’t have any problems, but I agree with the OP. I’m happy to be here and happy to be a part of the changes happening.

  • This city has been hated by Americans since it was founded. See, well, any presidential campaign. Pols run against this city, people here are portrayed as out-of-touch elitists, and “Washington” is often used as a pejorative in campaign speeches. I think that’s your answer. DC has never been popular. If people think they dislike this city for another reason, it’s because they don’t quite understand how the inertia of history guides their opinions.

    Now this columnist from the NY Post (surprise) seems to echo the anti-DC language and my guess is she’s clicked on the umteen thousand Drudge posts on how well our suburbs are doing on account of overpaid government workers.

    This city is going through a renaissance. I’ve written that before in comments and I’ve been attacked as being insensitive. “A renaissance for whom!?” the indignant ask. The answer is beyond the scope of this post, I think, but my general point is that while the Anti-Federalists are still going to cry about Washington, awesome people everywhere are starting to take notice of what’s happened here during the Great Recession, and we’re on track to prove these idiots wrong.

  • It seems as though some people still have some very broad stereotypes about Washington DC that hold the city back. Some examples:

    – The stereotype that everyone lives in the suburbs, and related…
    – The stereotype that the District proper is almost all urban blight, drugs and crime reminiscent of 80s (of course many contest that is still an issue in many parts of the city);
    – The stereotype that most “white collar” residents (in the Metro area as a whole) are frumpy Hill staffers who can’t dress themselves.

    The District’s cultural scenes, restaurants, theaters, have been largely overlooked. Perhaps the coverage is picking up more. However, I think some of those stereotypes hold the city back.

    Since many movies or TV shows about DC focus around the Hill and politics, I’m not sure the media portrayal helps assuage those issues, either.

    At the same time, lord knows I don’t want a “Sex and the City: DC Edition.”

  • You can never please all the people all the time.
    My love of this city (and frustration) has nothing to do with others opinions of it.
    I say calm down and just enjoy yourself and your city.

  • Suburbanites and maybe a recent ex-suburbanite refer to all of DC as ‘down town’ meaning in the District as opposed to Shady Grove or Rockville. Of course it has a different meaning to those who have been living in the city. Having lived here for 45 years the definition of downtown has greatly expanded into more and more redeveloped developed areas.

  • I grew up in DC and DC’s always been hated. For folks far away, it’s because the federal government is here, and everybody hates the feds.

    For folks in the burbs and close enough to come to DC every now and then, it’s because the city was historically majority black. Racism, fear of black people and fear of getting your ass kicked by said black people, the latter having been a legitimate fear in many parts of town, is the reason DC was hated by its neighbors. I can’t believe nobody brought that up.

    As for the recent hating, I agree with the assessment that the economic disparity between DC and the rest of the country is another element to the hating.

    I actually read this first wondering why there were so many hatERS in DC, but that’s another post….

  • i blame reagan.

    • Well, that name did desecrate our fine airport, named after a fine president — George Washington.

    • It doesn’t help that Marion Barry still has a public service job.

      • meh. i still love marion barry. he’s done more for this city than anyone. sure he’s past his prime, and says really stupid things, but he still inspires many people in this town.
        with all his flaws he’s still doing more for dc than 99% of the people reading this site, including me.

        also, i was just kidding about the reagan thing. dc was actually very cool durring the 80’s.

  • I think DC has been and will be a place that a lot of people love to hate not because of DC but because of the federal government. Of course people hated on DC in the first decades because it was a bit of a pit (or swamp) and people were far from home at a time when most people weren’t as far from home as they are now. Then I think it just held on from there.

    I am going to echo talula a bit. There are a lot of people here from somewhere else and unless they utterly loathed where they were from, are likely to find any big city a little wanting. What you grew up with is often how you think things are done everywhere, and then you move somewhere and it is done differently, different becomes “wrong,” and if it is wrong people feel free to hate on it. Some people come from “cool” places that have good food, good ambiance, or good culture and well, DC has not had much good in any of those departments for much of it’s life so it can suffer by comparison (ex. I am from New Orleans and the food scene up here still leave a lot to be desired though it is MUCH better than it was).

  • To answer the original question: Do people hate on DC because it is cool now? No, DC still isn’t cool. It tries way too hard to be cool, making it even less cool. Part of being cool is not having to try at it. DC hasn’t figured that out yet.

    No one moves to DC because of its reputation like they would New York, LA, SanFran, etc. “Oh, I’ve always wanted to live in DC because it’s so hip and trendy” is a phrase said by no one, ever.

    The majority of people move here to find work and make money. Or they are from the backwoods and don’t know any better.

    I know I sound like a hater, but I’m not. I like living in DC, I just wouldn’t consider it a cool place to live.

    • True, true.

    • I’d be curious to know how long you’ve been in DC–because I’ve been here 30 years and I know firsthand that DC does know how to be a cool place, because it once was. Remember the Georgetown punk community? Georgetown is now the least punk place I can think of.

    • You obviously don’t know DC very well then. DC is mecca for tens of thousands of black gay youth who move here from many parts of the south and northeast. It also boasts the largest gay immigrant communities from nations in the caribbean, african, and central american countries. You don’t get this beauitiful mix in NY or SF. Gays are often associated with being the first to move in and gentrify a hood. They also are often associated with creating a hip city or community. DC has the 2nd highest gay population by numbers and highest per capita. We know cool when we see it.

      • So gay people are hip and trendy and straight people are not? And we have have gay people to thank for gentifying the hood to make it safe for the straight people?………fascinating, if it were true.

  • I love this response, which I have seen many places in internet comments that has become a bit of a non-sequitur … Thanks Obamacare!

  • Rent/Food/Cost of Living is too damn high for what you get out of this city. Is paying out $1800/mo for a crummy 1bedroom in this city worth the tradeoff? Sorry I don’t think so. I can make that argument in NYC (and likely get a higher salary to afford it) but not here. Smithsonian? Its great but after a year it’s not enough. Parks? The Mall is just grass and Rock Creek has too much unused potential. I mean I read that DC surpassed NYC for cost of living? Come on! I’d rather move to London, Paris, NYC, San Francisco and get gouged price wise.

    As for the culture/people/personality of the city. Just not my cup of tea. As liberal as this city is, people’s outgoing personalities are just too conservative for me. That doesn’t mean everyone by any means, but the general vibe I get it is. NYC, Minneapolis, Madison, San Francisco, all these places I’ve lived in are just more vibrant, creative, and risk taking with design, architecture, restaurants/bars (H St excluded here).

    And yeah there’s a lot of development right now and that’s GREAT! But its architecture that matches the timidness of downtown and K St, and its filled with lawfirms, chains, or fun/creative places that are locating from other cites (like Fuel Pizza, Lime Fresh, or Shack Shake). Its just the nature of the Federal Government and the type of businesses and people it brings in.

    DC is a nice town, its just not for me.

    • I think you have a romanticized view of living in some of the cities you mentioned.

      • You could make that same statement against people who are head over heels in DC. None of those cities are perfect, but I feel they all exceed DC.

        Again, DC isn’t shit, it’s not a terrible city, and it certainly isn’t what that crazy Cindy Adams claimed it to be. It just isn’t the Bee’s Knee’s…

    • What exactly are you seeking to get out of parks that D.C.’s parks don’t provide? I ask this with sincerity, not snark.

      • I was something on par with Golden Gate Park, Central Park, or the Minneapolis/St Paul River Front and Park system around the Uptown Lakes and the Bike trails that connect everything together.

        • Hey AT, not sure if you’ll see this, but I was wanting to know about the qualities or features or activities offered that you like about other cities’ parks.

  • http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/the-personal-side-of-a-presidential-election/?hp

    Did anyone see this article in the New York Times? I think people like this help to give DC a bad name.

  • You know what makes DC a great town? The people. Smart people who quite often give a shit about changing the world and sometimes know how to have a little fun on weekends. Sure, we have a shortage artists and a surplus of lawyers (who often self-segregate to the ‘burbs, fortunately). But if you want to find grownups — (lets call them 27+ with something resembling a career) who can talk in depth about social policy and with intelligence about art, film and decent Thai food; argue about urban planning and racial politics; and then you on to a good band, DC is a damn good town. The kids are probably OK, too, I just don’t know that many.

    Sure, Dnver has its outdoorspersons and New York its hipsters and artists and San Francisco its beautiful slackers but DC — you go to a DC bar and end up next to an apparently unemployed drug fiend whose a scientist for NIH working on childhood diseases, and then to a party next to some tight-assed lawyer who’s a Peace Corps veteran is about to spend six months in Haiti.

    Sure, not every is as cool as all that. I’m not, but the friends and acquaintances I’ve made here are pretty amazing, and the city has and will continue to provide and environment in which they flourish. That’s why so many “transients” never leave.

    Also, unless in a neighborhood specific discussion (and especially in discussions with tourists or suburbanites), “Downtown” can be roughly defined as that territory enclosed by The Mall, Rock Creek, Military Road ( alittle too far north, but…) and North Capital Street.

    • I DISAGREE 100% – I have lived in 10 places, in 5 states and 2 other countries and DC is the absolute worst place I have lived in (In my opinion). The reason is the people. While there are many, many great people here and I have a lot of good friends that I will miss when I leave possibly in the next year, however there are twice as many angry people, and so much hatred here. I work in a neighborhood (not downtown) for a local home grown non-profit organization that I love, which is why I have stayed so long (5 years now) and live in a neighborhood I love and feel comfortable in (in DC). BUT there is absolutely nowhere that I have ever been where people treat each other so poorly like DC.

      • thats so sad. i’m sorry you’ve had that experience. i’ve not lived abroad, and i’ve only lived in 5 states plus dc, but DC, at least the dc i know, is the friendliest place i’ve ever lived.

    • “Sure, we have a shortage artists ”

      so far from true. what we do have shortages of though are galleries and dc oriented collectors. but artists we got. they just have to exhibit outside dc to make a living so you may not have come across them.

  • I find the DC-dwelling haters to be more annoying than the out-of-towners. Not that people shouldn’t be allowed their gripes, but I’m tired of the assumption that DC is a place that people tolerate rather than enjoy and tired of irrelevant comparisons to other cities.

  • Many cities throughout the world are going thru the same urban renaissance found in DC…Even Bombay (Mumbai -perhaps we can authenticate our cities nomenclature too) and New York City: Harlem, Hells Kitchen, East Village, Williamsburg were not so chic not that long ago. I think there are more similarities in DC to those financial booms than to the commuting federal workforce here.

    I’m of the believe the newly arrived ‘mean’ talk is in large part to the new flux of folks from parts more north of here more versed in that, and especially delighting in the ‘southerners’ visible uncomfortableness with these violations.

  • I have such a love/hate with DC. I love the walkability, the things to do, the people I know, the people watching. I hate the cost of living, the people I don’t know because everyone seems to have a “better than thou” attitude here. It’s like a game of survival of the fittest. I guess I am more of a creative type, and this being a place of power, money, politics, and foodies, I don’t have much in common with any of those things so…

  • All the DC haters are bamas

  • People hate on D.C. generally because they know nothing about it. They think everyone is somewhere else, because they hang almost exclusively with other transplants, who worship the towns they left. Never mind that they left those towns for a reason. Factoring in: transit; Rock Creek Park; my neighborhood; ease of (non-government) services; 3 airports; Amtrak; the rising food scene; the music scene (past and present); the museums; the sports; the fact that I can play soccer here until I’m 90; the cycling; my amazing (roommate-free) house; my local; the cuties, etc…this town is the shit. Only a new kid would care who hates on us. In fact I like it that way. We have enough hyper-educated, feckless, spineless, beardo, know-it-all asshole, grad student-types moving here daily. Keep ‘em headed to Brooklyn. Tell ‘em DC sucks!

  • I love DC, but no, you can’t get good Mexican food here!

  • no doubt dc is clean and convenient and getting better all the time. but it’s also insanely expensive and aggressively suburban. it’s a fun place to live right now, but the cost of living, warp-speed homogenization (how many more redrocks/matchboxes do we need? why is the only coffee shop on u st. that’s open past 5 PM a starbucks?) and the lack of urban quirk make it unlikely that i’ll stay. every time i visit friends in baltimore, philly, SF, even richmond, i realize just how much individuality and eccentricity this place lacks, and i am quite bummed.

  • The fact alone that several NY columnists need to write an article about DC (good or bad viewpoints) shows that they are either concerned or just plain scared that DC is taking away whatever status, job, person, or potential that NY loves to boast. It really doesn’t matter what the they or the rest of the country feels because it’s the international investments and people that are in love with DC. We are more cultural, diverse, democratic, liberal, gay, young, rich, educated, and just plain more lucky than the rest of America. Our shortcomings such as better architecute, or public parks is entirely due to the federal government. Let us take control and you wait to see the difference. And keep in mind that when DC propsers, so does the entire region including NY.

    • People on the West Side don’t think the East Side is the real thing, New Yawkers will NEVER concide anything to DC (except that quietly DC is a beautiful city and exactly what they wish they could find in the own hood.)

  • ***As the author, when I said downtown, I meant in the district lines. I am aware that Columbia Heights is not Foggy Bottom, however I believe my neighborhood, Shaw, Bloomingdale, Petworth, Logan, Admo, Atlas, etc. are the evolving neighborhoods that are making DC “cool” rather than your strict definition of “Downtown” DC which is extremely homogeneous, expensive, predictable in its development… not exactly where this cultural renaissance taking place.

    • I understood exactly what you meant by downtown. For many years people in the burbs have used ‘downtown’ to mean basically the District. DC residents by the same token have usually meant something more specifically downtown. Till the 60’s that would have been F street environs, later K street area, now I guess anything urbanish

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