Dispatches from the Mean Streets of Some of the District’s Sketchiest Neighborhoods Vol. 2


Thanks to a reader for sharing their experience:

Having just moved to the northern end of LeDroit Park a few weeks ago, I’ve been told by many to be sure I, “keep my wits about.” The other day while walking my basset mix, a man came up to me completely cutting off my route. “Excuse me,” he said, “But your dog is well-loved. He obviously has someone who loves him and gives him a great life. He’s a great-looking dog, but looks better because he’s happy. I know I’m a stranger to you, but it’s obvious even to someone who’s never met you or your dog. Have a lovely day.”

Ed. Note: If you have a story/experience from your own mean streets please send a brief description in an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dog)com and include what neighborhood you live in.

21 Comment

  • I used to live in Eckington and would have experiences like this regularly. The dude in the store on North Cap lending me 10 bucks for an umbrella when it was pouring (I paid him back the next day), friendly conversations with neighbors, etc. Anacostia has that same friendly old south town feel as well… so different from uptight and more Northern-feeling parts of Northwest.

    But dude. There are a bunch of crazy homeless people and all sorts of nefarious types in that area. I also regularly heard big gang altercations (not sure if anyone actually fought, though) in the alley and whatnot.

    It’s not one or the other. You will definitely have some really pleasant experiences in these areas (especially when it comes to friendly strangers), but you will definitely have some bad ones, too.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      No shit. We hear about the bad experiences all the time. We rarely hear about the good experiences. That is the point. Sorry I didn’t explain that better to start.

      • I thought it was pretty obvious what you are trying to do with these, but I guess the irony of the title is lost on some people? Anyway, please keep these coming. DC has its problems, but I love living here. It’s nice to have something to counter the sometimes constant stream of negativity.

        • Yeah, I think it might be people who missed the earlier “sketch/yokel” thread and/or Vol. 1 of “Dispatches” who are confusing. Might not hurt to precede subsequent ones with a quick intro along the lines of “We hear a lot about crime and bad things in D.C., and about the alleged sketchiness of various D.C. neighborhoods. This series is a reminder that alongside the bad things, there are good, sweet, and lovely things that happen in D.C.”

      • POP is on a roll today.. 🙂 ….. Sweet stories about our great city are ALWAYS refreshing to hear, please keep posting them.

  • Emmaleigh504

    That’s so sweet and random!

  • Sounds terrifying.

  • This is my new favorite feature, Prince of Petworth! The world sucks with so much crappy bad news, and we get crime reports, etc. This little feature is just the perfect little way to balance out the whackadoodle. Thank you!

  • Eh, I think it’s nice. Considering how many people come up to me and ask if I “breed” my dog, I’d find a comment like this very refreshing.

  • this sort of friendliness is actually super-common in Ledroit Park. As someone else noted, there is a very strong southern-charm culture amongst many residents. New neighbor, also expect people walking past you on the street to say ‘hi’ to you, which will be shocking at first. They are not insane, or hitting on you, they’re just friendly, believe it or not. After years of living in suburban apartments where the standard attitude was to pretend that you didn’t see your neighbors when passing them in halls or sharing elevators, this took me several months to acclimate to. However, now I love it, and I am one of the ones freaking out my new neighbors by greeting them when we pass on the sidewalk.

    I’d estimate the ratio of legitimate friendless to insanity and/or greeting being followed up with asking for money is about 50 friendly to every 1 sketchy, which is pretty solid IMO.

    Also, wave and say ‘hi’ to your neighbors sitting on the porches of their wardman-style rowhouses. you will invariably get a warm response.

  • Just moved to northern LeDroit a couple months ago and I say hi and talk to more people on the street in one day than I did in a year living in San Francisco. And I grew up in San Francisco.

  • Mike

    Vol. 3 right here – I bought a place off Benning Road NE recently. I was advised after moving in that people would take anything not nailed down. Being the enfant terrible that I am, I decided to hang some Christmas lights on the house and a wreath on the door. While hanging the lights, an older woman stopped, came into the yard, and told me about how my house, way back in the day, would have the nicest holiday decorations in the neighborhood. She thanked me for helping her to remember a happy time and told me she wants to see lights on my house every Christmas from now on.

  • I live on Shepherd Street street in Petworth. Every morning I walk down Kansas on my way over to 14th street by way of Spring Rd. Almost without fail, there is a gentlemen exercising in place on one of the corners of Kansas between Shepherd and Quincy. He is awesome. Other than just exercise he is on a mission to wave and say “good morning, have a good one!” to every single person who walks by. He’s more than happy to yell “good morning” two blocks away. If I’m lucky, my route will take me right next to him where I’ll get a “Looks like you’re ready for another one.” It sounds stupid, but it’s a complete treat. He’s the waving man, and he’s getting it done.

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