Petworth Featured in the New York Times


Lots of love for Petworth in the New York Times. Tell me something I don’t know!! But nice to see the recognition has spread. Thanks to the many many excited Petworthians who sent me emails. Here’s how they define the borders of Petworth:

“Petworth is bounded by Emerson Street NW to the north, Rock Creek Church Road NW and Spring Road NW to the southeast and south, the 18th-century Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery to the east and Arkansas Avenue NW to the west.”

20 Comment

  • Cool! I am really curious to know more about the history of Grant and Sherman circles. The article didn’t mention that there are two small National Parks right in the heart of Petworth…..

  • I had always considered Gallatin St. to be the northern border, as Arkansas naturally merges into it at Georgia Ave. and Gallatin also forms the northern border of Rock Creek Cemetery. Georgia begins it’s climb uphill north of Gallatin, which also makes a neat geographic delineation between Petworth and Brightwood.

    • You are the first person I have ever heard say that. The border is most often debated to be either Emerson or Kennedy. FWIW, we are in the area between Gallatin and Kennedy, and we are considered to be in Petworth via the tax legal subdivisions. I am personally of the view that the northern border is Kennedy.

  • Regarding the boundaries, I’ve always considered anything west of Georgia to be outside the Petworth boundaries. I think PoP has convered this before….

    Closer to Spring on the south, I’ve always considered this Columbia Heights. A little further north closer to Upshur is a bit of a no-mans land, but definitely not Petworth. 14th St Heights, maybe?

  • When I saw the article I was sad to see that I wasn’t officially in Petworth by their measure. However I’m glad others here are giving me some validation 🙂 I live on 1st ST NW between Gallatin and Farragut. Hugging our lovely cemetery. I feel worthy of being a Petworthian!

  • There’s no shame in living north of Emerson — Brightwood Park, centered around Kennedy Street is very much a real neighborhood and deserving of people living north Petworth proudly embracing that neighborhood identity.

    • samanda_bynes

      i’m literally on that border on 3rd street and very much like the strip of Kansas by me, the long walks down Jefferson towards 14th, going up to 1st street via Hamilton with the dog, the quirky markets on Kennedy (can’t stress enough how many times a beer run was saved by a tiny market) and the general geography. plus, it’s got a quiet charm to it – even if it looks a little rough 🙂

  • Alright, the Anon post has moved me to talk boundaries. The google maps citation has no particular validity. It’s based on wikipedia, which is fraught. One could similarly cite the zillow map, which bounds Petworth at Kennedy. This is based on DC tax subdivisions.,-77.005299,38.938231,-77.035339_rect/14_zm/

    The Wikipedia page has been the subject of many edits over the last few years. E.g.,_Washington,_D.C.&offset=20150114221750&action=history

    Right now it has three citations for the claim about boundaries: 1. This NYT article; 2. The google maps link (circular / self-referential) and 3. A broken link to, purportedly a list of neighborhood names. So – I’m not convinced, especially since I think the NYT page was based on the wikipedia definition.

    The best answer I can offer is either the tax subdivisions or the original plats. The latter are interesting. WIkipedia has cites to proquest for late 1800’s Washington Post articles. Not quite sure what’s there (paywall), but I found this nice writeup by Matthew Gilmore:

    It discusses the first map of Petworth, explaining why the numbered streets don’t align with the L’Enfant plan (there was a new law passed by Congress while Petworth was being surveyed. But, bottom line:

    The first plats of Petworth put the northern boundary at Hamilton.

  • If you google Petworth, these are the boundaries that come up in Google Maps.

  • andy

    The characterization of the 800 block of Upshur as “the block” was the oddest note to me. Is there actually a person who says “I’m going down to ‘the block’ to eat/drink/shop”?

  • Does anyone know when this piece came out in print? I looked through our weekend NYTs and didn’t see the article. Or was it online only?

  • Wow, I had no idea the schools were so completely terrible. This was eye opening.

    • I used to coach the 6th Grade basketball team at McFarland several years ago before the school was closed down and later reopened. The old McFarland resembled EastSide High in the movie Lean On Me….Not sure of its present state.

    • Did you just move here? Serious question, no snark intended.

  • when the petworth metro stop opened in ’99, there was still discussion of having another stop in actual petworth, so they labeled that one as petworth to be inclusive. the area around it was generally still known as columbia heights through ’99. plats for property in the area from spring to upshur, 14th to georgia still say columbia heights.

    • saf

      Huh. When i moved here, not far from the metro station (before it was built) my neighbors called it Petworth. That was 1990.

  • i’m all for dramatic language to emphasize our nostalgia for the present—especially for this neighborhood i’ve come to love so ‘well’—but i cant believe NYT referred to it as ‘a football MATCH.’

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