It’s Time to Play – Where Do I Live? Vol. 131

Where is my Mind?
Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

“Dear PoPville,

I just moved to Emerson Street NW near the intersection of 4th Street. My realtor calls the neighborhood Petworth, but I have heard other people call it Brightwood Park, North Petworth, and even Fort Totten. I just want to know so people stop looking at me weird when I try to explain where I live. Soooo which is it?


Never mind the DC Tax Office, wikipedia, your realtor, and/or your spiritual advisers: When someone says 4th and Emerson – what neighborhood do you associate it with?

44 Comment

  • It’s either Brightwood Park or Petworth. Petworth is actually farther north than what people think (Petworth gets confused with Park View).

    In terms of what to call it, if you say on the north side of Petworth, people will know. If you say Brightwood Park, people won’t have any clue what you are talking about.

  • Very definitely Petworth.

  • Petworth. I think you can say the northern park of Petworth, but in my mind, you don’t get to Brightwood until Kennedy and north thereof.

  • Petworth — I live on 4th at Emerson…welcome the neighborhood…you’re not too far from the Lord of Petworth’s place, so definitely Petworth.

  • You could say that you live near Sherman Circle. People who live north of Columbia Heights know where that is. For the uninitiated, you could just tell them that you live west of the Ft Totten metro.

    • In my experience the problem with saying “near Sherman Circle” is that it very often doesn’t mean anything to people who don’t also live near Sherman Circle. It’s not like saying “near Dupont Circle”.

  • I live on Hamilton and 7th. I tell people I live right on the border of North Petworth and Brightwood Park. I’ve seen maps that show Petworth ending at Emerson/Farragut/Gallatin/and Hamilton so saying petworth will let most everyone know where you are.

  • Petworth. If you were north of Kennedy, I’d call it Manor Park (but so far I seem to be in the minority on that designation).

    • What is South Manor Park, as indicated by the sign at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave, and where North Capitol turns into Blair Rd., and (yes, a third intersection) Kennedy Street?

      • It is a section of Manor Park. There is a South Manor civic association. I would say the area is bounded by the train bridge on the north, the train tracks on the east, Missouri Ave on the South and Kansas Ave on the west.

  • Welcome to Petworth! You’ll love it here.

  • I think technically Emerson Street is on the border of Petworth and Brightwood Park. So if you are on the south side of the street, Petworth, or Brightwood Park if you are on the north side of the street.

    • There are no technical neighborhood borders.

      • “There are no technical neighborhood borders.”
        Unless you are in a street crew based on “micro-neighborhoods” and then I assure you, there are borders.

    • +1. According to the Washington Post and Google Maps (for what that’s worth), it depends which side of the street you’re on.

      • jim_ed

        I think Google Maps cheats from Wikipedia and WaPo likely cheats from Google. Google also shows Petworth stretching to 16th St via Arkansas and includes Red Derby, which I don’t think anyone else considers to be Petworth.

    • This is correct according to the City.

      • the city doesn’t recognize official boundaries.
        but civic associations, historic districts often define them.

  • jburka

    I don’t care what it’s called, I just want to live in a neighborhood in which the scrawlings in fresh concrete are Pixies quotes!

    In my neighborhood it’s just the usual adolescent names and tags in the cement…

  • jim_ed

    Petworth. I’ve always been under the impression that Petworth ends at Kennedy, which makes more sense than Emerson or Gallatin, since there is no obvious break or change in the neighborhood at those streets, whereas there’s a significant change once you go north of Kennedy.. We live around Hamilton and tell people north Petworth, only to keep people from thinking we live by the metro, but it’s Petworth all the same. Also, no one has a clue where Brightwood Park is.

  • I’d just say Petworth. North Petworth = NoPe. You don’t want that.

  • Accountering

    You are in the few blocks that may be the most contested in DC! My rental is also in this area, and I certainly go with Petworth. The border is technically Decatur, and you are in Brightwood Park, but most DC residents (and even some suburban residents) have heard of Petworth, but no one has heard of Brightwood Park. Stick with Petworth! Welcome to the area!

    • “The border is technically Decatur”
      What’s the technical source for that? I’ve heard and seen different claims about the boundary between these neighborhoods but never further south than Emerson.

  • If you are talking to a parent you could say Petworth one block north of Barnard Elementary, or (if their kids are a little older) a few blocks south of Washington Latin.
    I live in Petworth and until I moved here (from Adams Morgan) nobody in my circle knew what/where I was talking about. My gay realtor drove me around and was like, “I’ve sold a lot of fixer uppers up here to the boys” this was in 2008.
    Also call it “Not Yet Worth” or “upper upper Columbia Heights”

  • My vote is for Petworth. Personally wouldn’t call it Brightwood Park until Kennedy St.

    Surprised someone suggested Fort Totten! Although I guess it would be your closest metro… Fort Totten (the neighborhood not the metro station) is really small – Bounded by North Capital (west), Fort Totten Dr (east), Hawaii Ave (South) and Riggs Rd (north)

  • I live at 1st and Farragut NW, and I’m in the same boat. I tend to say North Petworth or NoPe. (Q: “Hey, isn’t that cool new bar near where you live?” A: “NoPe.”). A lot of my friends say I live in Fort Totten, but Fort Totten is in Northeast and I live in Northwest.

  • I’m at 5th and Emerson (hi neighbor!) and claim Petworth.

  • North Dupont!

  • I live on Jefferson St. and my deed says Petworth. Also you can look up your address in the DC property assessment database, and look up your address and see what neighborhood they designate. I just looked up 413 Emerson St., a random address near 4th on Emerson, and the designation is Petworth.

    BTW, in the property tax assessment database there is a dropdown menu of neighborhoods, and Brightwood Park isn’t even on the list. The only place you see it is on the Google map, and I have no idea how it got there.

    • The neighborhoods as defined by the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue are a rather strange assortment. There’s no “Adams Morgan,” for instance, and no “Dupont Circle” or “Logan Circle.” According to tax records, my old place — which most people would think of as Adams Morgan, or maaaaaybe Lanier Heights — was in Mount Pleasant.

  • If history is a guide, the Petworth subdivision went from Rock Creek Church Road all the way north to Hamilton Street. The western boundary was Georgia Avenue (by any other name) and it went east to the 300 block, and further in the southern part.

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