Borderline Neighborhood To Finally Get A Name Of Its Own!

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2009 at 1:27 am 92 Comments

DSCN6216, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Well, I’m dying to here what you guys think about this one! There’s always been lots of controversy about upper 14th Street and which neighborhood it falls under. Just last week we were discussing whether or not the Red Derby was in Petworth or Columbia heights. Renaming neighborhoods or parts of neighborhoods has always been controversial. Case in point – North of Mass Ave or NOMA.

So here’s the scoop. Currently, there are discussions about renaming the area on 14th Street from Monroe north to Shepherd. The name will be – Tivoli North. Or Tivoli North Corridor. Personally, I think it’s a great name. I know that Columbia Heights technically goes as far north as Spring St. Road but I believe the area from Monroe Street on north has it’s own distinct flavor. So what do you think about the name Tivoli North – Thumbs up or down? Any alternative suggestions?

  • I don’t know, I tend to think of that area as part of Columbia Heights regardless.

    If we’re renaming neighborhoods, I’ve thought Pleasant Plains would be better named “Howard Village”, given its proximity (and hopefully improved connections) to the university.

  • RD

    As a resident, I disapprove. I don’t like directional neighborhood names at all. i.e. shaw is not logan east, it’s shaw. We need a real name. Like RD-toria

  • Well, you better hurry up and name the place before the realtors get a hold of it. Then you’ll get stuck with “NoCoHe” or “SoPiBra” for “South of Piney Branch” and those suck too hard to even think about.

  • once this neighborhood has been renamed, which DC government agency needs to be contacted so they’re aware of the change?

    seriously, it’s columbia heights up to spring and 16th street heights north of that. why do people have problems with the names already there? this isn’t analogous to noma, that’s not an established neighborhood.

  • eric in ledroit

    why not just “tivoli”? is there a tivoli south?

  • Anonymous

    part of that area is already called Holmead Village. The Historical Society did an exibit on Wardman houses and it’s mentioned there and some other places.

  • Ian

    Would this extend to the East at all? Currently we’re in a bit of no-man’s land as well (Quincy Street, betwen 10th and Kansas). We’re closest to the Petworth Metro and legally either in Columbia Heights or 16th Street Heights.

    And Monkey is right… SoFlo? Sigh…

  • Ian Says:
    February 2nd, 2009 at 8:39 am
    Would this extend to the East at all? Currently we’re in a bit of no-man’s land as well (Quincy Street, betwen 10th and Kansas). We’re closest to the Petworth Metro and legally either in Columbia Heights or 16th Street Heights.

    And Monkey is right… SoFlo? Sigh…


    Same here..I grew up on 10th and quincy and now live on 10th and Quebec and Im not sure what hood im officialy in because the border and zip code changes right across the streets.

  • Larchie

    I’m with Mr. Laenker, I consider that part of Columbia Heights.

    Why the need to differentiate? Now that the area is being gentrified it needs to divorce itself from the Columbia Heights it’s leaving behind? Sorry, calling it Tivoli North just feels icky.

  • Sean

    No way! North 14th is still C-Heights baby!

  • Anonymous

    Tivoli North sounds dumb. It’s Columbia Heights.

  • Anonymous

    if the folks on 14th up there want their own name then 14th street heights should do the trick. arent there already banners to that effect up there? Also I think calling it Tivoli North is just plain stupid as Tivoli is clearly a Columbia Heights landmark. so why on earth would you use it to set yourselves APART from being lumped in with columbia heights?

  • 14th n’ otis

    I live on that stretch of 14th and would happily prefer to remain in Columbia Heights. Why make this more confusing then it already is?

  • WDC


    When I moved to Oak Street (two north of Monroe) I was told that Columbia Heights extended east to 11th street, west to 16th street, south to Florida Ave, and north to Spring street.

    Look at a map. It makes sense that way. The neighborhood’s center is the metro, and the name of the neighborhood is the same as the name of the metro. No way am I going to ask a cab driver to take me to “North Tivoli”.

    And among who are these discussions taking place? I don’t like blind items in blogs. Cite your source, please.

  • John

    I don’t like inorganic neighborhood names, especially when they derive from a building or restaurant. The Atlas District is weak. So is Tivoli North, unless Tivoli has some other genesis than the Tivoli Theater.

  • Hoodrat

    I also live on Oak. and, um, this is Columbia Heights

  • Sunshine

    I live in the potentially affected area and would much refer to remain in Columbia Heights for property value reasons.

  • GforGood


    “So here’s the scoop. Currently, there are discussions about renaming the area on 14th Street from Monroe north to Shepherd”

    Who is discussing and where, so that we can raise our objections directly with whom ever is discussing this silly idea?

  • Vernados

    Absurd. I refuse to believe that I live in the heart of ‘Tivoli North.’ That name sounds more suited to the next high rise that will inevitably sprout up.

  • I like the idea of existing on the cusp of neighborhoods; I claim residence to Petworth when my street cred is in question, I claim residence in Columbia Heights when picking up hipster chicks, and I claim the Peoples Democratic Republic of Shepworth when I’m feeling sassy and totalitarian about the greatest alley in the district from which to drink in lawn chairs and spout unfounded political rhetoric.

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What is wrong with just calling it Columbia Heights?

  • ontarioroader

    I’m going to guess this is a real estate agent’s attempt to distance some properties they’re handling from the big-box-store-ification of Columbia Heights and recent beating death of a man at 14th & parkwood.

  • Ogden/Oak

    PoP, I join in the call for you to cite sources. Who, exactly, wants to rename this corner of Columbia Heights?

    “Tivoli North” is a massive fail. The boundaries of CH are Florida, 16th, Spring, and 11th/Sherman. Are we going to siphon off corners of CH until the only thing left is DCUSA? What’s next? NoFlo for the southern edge of the neighborhood?!?

  • IHeartShaw

    it’s Columbia Heights, plain and simple… to be quite honest, I don’t feel like explaining where “Tivoli North” is. i don’t think the district needs ANOTHER neighborhood designation. like truxton circle, in center city, in NOMA…

  • Fig Newton

    No way! When I moved here everyone was trying to pass themselves off as Mnt P. I’m happy that finally people are proud to say that they live in CH. Don’t mess with it!

  • The Intangible Solution is the Right Solution for all:

    Divide the city into parcels roughly five square blocks apiece.
    Name all of them “Steve”.

    You can thank me later.

  • taylor.nmt

    I live on the south side of Spring Rd., a few houses in from 16th street, which means I live on the razor’s edge of Columbia Heights. I like the fact that if I moved across the street I’d live in Petworth (“I can see Petworth from my house!”).

    I don’t know who’s advocating for “Tivoli North”, but they should find some other way of occupying their time. We have a name of our own up here. “Columbia Heights.” I’m pretty sure the boundary hasn’t moved since it was defined, and I wouldn’t swear to it, but I think I’ve seen it in documents tracing back to the 40s or 50s. Unless there’s some compelling reason to change it, I think it’d be a shame.

  • bogfrog

    Now you’re telling us Sherman Ave is another no-man’s land, neither technically in CH nor Pleasant Plains. Grr! Where the heck do I live, then?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    This is only in the preliminary stages. It would not be an official designation (like on your tax records or anything), it is more for the business community along 14th Street.

  • ElevenIrving

    Since when is 11th St is a border of Columbia heights?

  • WDC

    You still haven’t said who is wasting their time and your blog space with such a suggestion.

    Oh, and this bit: “There’s always been lots of controversy about upper 14th Street and which neighborhood it falls under.” Really? Has there? How have I lived there for years and constantly missed said controversy?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    There is controversy of what neighborhood 14th street is north of Spring Road (thanks Taylor). And this discussion will be useful perhaps persuading folks that Tivoli North is not a good idea.

  • taylor.nmt

    Perhaps this is nitpicky, but I think you mean Spring Road, and not Spring Street. The only reason I would mention this is that there is also a Spring Place one block south of Spring Road on the 16th street side, a situation which has caused no shortage of confusion for out-of-town friends trying to tell cabs where to find us 😉

  • In a word: No.

    We should try simplifying these basically retarded neighborhood designations. There’s no official boundaries, just hearsay and whatsycallsit. I’m fine saying I live “kinda where CH, Petworth and Park View collide” (11th+Spring); I can also just say I live in CH, or “right by the GA/Petworth Metro.”

    Gah, it’s Monday morning and I need more coffee.

  • Or, to answer the question, when I lived on Newton+Holmead, we were definitely in Columbia Heights. Screw new names and “business districts.”

  • Stacey

    I’m a neighbor of taylor.nmt, apparently. I live at Spring Place and 16th. Yes, please be accurate in your description of Spring Road. It is difficult enough trying to get a cab driver to take me to Spring Place as it is.

    And I live in Columbia Heights.

    Frankly, trying to splinter off a bad corner of the neighborhood only does everyone harm. It allows residents of better streets to overinflate the value of their homes and their business; it forces residents of other streets to devalue their properties and deters investment.

    Columbia Heights is one neighborhood which is truly a melting pot–a huge mix of incomes, races, and educations. Let it stay that way.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in the disputed territory of Spring to Arkansas, 16th to Georgia. I think it has to be 16th Street Heights for what its worth, but in any event “Tivoli North” is totally unacceptable. It might as well be “Logan Circle North” for as descriptive as it is. Worthless.

  • Nick

    I’ve never seen so much agreement in one string of comments on this blog. Questionable PoP postings — bringing people together.

  • Anonymous

    What an arbitrary and pointless distinction. We have enough flexible neighborhood boundaries in DC as it is — big, big thumbs down to adding a further complication that isn’t going to be acknowledged by anybody, particularly realtors. The neighborhood boundary is historical and has been set for a long time. Add to that the four commonly understood directions and you should be able to get any part of the city down to a dozen blocks or so — if “north Columbia Heights” doesn’t do it for you, Tivoli North isn’t going to do any better. Plus, isn’t the Tivoli itself at the heart of Columbia Heights?? Someone wants to name a new neighborhood after a building in another neighborhood?

  • Chris in Eckington

    Some people in the area jokingly refer to it as PETCO.

  • Anonymous

    “Near the Target”

  • Matt

    How about “ChineseTakeOut&FuneralParlor-ville?”

  • enus gobunger

    or maybe “JAYWALKING-VILLE”!!!!

  • GforGood

    If its for the business community distinction purposes only, I would have less objection0 I would suggest it still be identified as “Columbia Heights” as most of what you are talking about is in CH. However, I can understand that businesses north of Spring Road may either recent it or not be “allowed” to use it by CH proper business owners.

  • Just spell Tivoli backwards, call it “I Love It”, bring back the hookers to 14th Street, and let the “invisible hand” of Capitalism work its magic.

    By which I mean fisting.

  • Park View

    … and not to start a tanget to this already meandering cocophany of agreement, but out of curiousity … is there currently any majore development technically in Petworth? Geogia Ave. south of Rock Creek Church is in Park View, and the west side of Georgia Ave. north of Rock Creek Church is technically in 16th Street Heights. This means that the new building by the Metro and the highrise just south of the gas station at Upshur are both in 16th Street Heights.

    Now I’m not bringing this up to be snarky, but really, I’m curious. Why isn’t there development on the east side of Georgia? Is this a zoning thing, or just a weird coinsidence???? I’d think that the east side of the road should be just as desirable from my point of view. It all functions like one neighborhood regardless of the designations.

  • Anonymous

    This is a terrible idea. You can’t just lop off half off Columbia Heights and call it something else to please a few businesses. It shouldn’t be that hard for people to understand that Columbia Heights extends beyond Park Road. I think the opening of Allegro will link this area better anyway and it will likely be a moot point.

  • What I don’t understand is the constant debating about what neighborhood is what. It’s not like we’re trying to solve the war in Gaza. There is actually an answer.

    Just go to Wikipedia. The Red Derby is clearly in a neighborhood called 16th Street Heights.

  • 14stbulletz

    whenever i walk into the Korean liquor store up there…it still feels like c.heights…

    on a related topic, that might be worthy of a forum is what the abbreviated name of columbia heights ought to be. normally i reference c. heights. however, i have heard, and have used “CoHe.” I like the ring of CoHo, but it just sounds too NY for my taste.


  • 14stbulletz

    CoHe…not “CoHo” althought I like the ring of that too…if only there were a Columbia Houston in DC

  • People have been calling columbia heights “CoHi” going on two years now. “CoHo” is actually the name for certain denizens of CoHi, frequently found at 1101 Kenyon Street.

  • Fig Newton

    You know you’re a hipster when…you say “CoHi” instead of Columbia Heights.

  • Anonymous

    I propose that we create a new neighborhood specifically encompassing the intersection of 13th and Euclid and surrounding blocks and call it ‘An area where your white ass wouldn’t be caught dead at 10 years ago’.

  • Solives

    I live in Columbia Heights, on Spring Rd. No way I’m going to call that Tivoli North. And what business owners? The new ones from Thai Tanic or the old ones from Panam grocery store?

  • Manner Park

    “Just go to Wikipedia.”

    Or for the right answer, https://www.taxpayerservicecenter.com/RP_Search.jsp?search_type=Assessment

  • Sticky McBiscuit

    I lived at 14th and Quincy a few years back, pre-Red Derby, when the C&K Motel still charged by the hour (I believe they rent rooms by the day now). We referred to it as Columbia Heights, as it certainly didn’t have that sedate Petworth Vibe. Nobody but nobody called it 16th Street Heights.

  • @Manner Park, the neighborhood names on the tax rolls in many cases don’t have a lot to do with the names that have become established for DC’s neighborhoods. These are used only for the purpose of broadly categorizing areas for a specific purpose, and are completely arbitrary.

    According to the tax database, Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan do not exist, and a lot of people who thought they live in Bloomingdale now apparently should start referring to their home as “Old City II”. And I can’t say for sure, but I doubt anyone says they are from “R.L.A. N.E.” Whatever that is.

    Wikipedia has very detailed descriptions of DC neighborhoods and the boundaries, as well as the history, and discussion of “fake” neighborhoods like Lanier Heights, Reed-Cooke, U Street.

  • Anonymous

    I live at 14th & Shepherd, which (for anyone who’s even been there) is at the top of the northern most hill in Columbia HEIGHTS. No need to rename The Barrio people – Ward 1 for life.

  • ElevenIrving

    I have to agree that Wikipedia lists the neighborhood borders which closest resemble the consensus. Whatever the outcome, I hope they don’t even consider tacking on additional names to the CH metro station. It’s already long enough that I just abbreviated it.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I am 99.99% sure that 14th and Shepherd is Ward 4.

  • Spring Road is the boundary of Ward 1 and Ward 4. It’s also the northern boundary of Columbia Heights. I know you guys up there really want to think you live in Columbia Heights but face it, you’re just not. You’re not even in the same ward!

    So your choices are Petworth (which is where the Red Derby people swear they are) or 16th Street Heights which is what it actually is.

  • Steve! Steve! We’re all residents of the various districts of Steve!
    Down with North Steve (NoStee) or South Steve (SoStee) or Steve Heights Between Some Other Steves (SteeHeeBeeSomoStee) We’re in the middle of the street in the middle of Steve, burning copies of THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK! Steve Uber Alles! We shall not bemused!

  • Manner Park


    I’m just looking for some consistency. The wiki entries change on a daily basis. I just checked out wiki again to find that I have been orphaned as of January ’09. I apparently live in neither Brightwood nor Manor Park.

    Ah well. 🙂

  • I did notice that “NoMa” has now been legitimized on Wikipedia. I’ve got a problem with that. Of course, that neighborhood used to be called “No Man’s Land” so maybe “NoMa” is appropriate.

    Sorry to hear about your orphaning. I suggest you take this opportunity to add your own neighborhood page to Wikipedia. How often does one get to invent their own neighborhood name?

  • Pennywise

    I remember my house deed, referenced in my mortgage, said I lived in some cryptic sounding place, my voter card says Ward 4 Brightwood, and my tax assessment said something else. Ie, neighborhoods are a loose concept at best.

  • Manner Park

    “I suggest you take this opportunity to add your own neighborhood page to Wikipedia. ”

    Which leads me to my other problem with the wiki info — the map on the main neighborhood page doesn’t match up with the maps on the individual pages.

    I think I’ll just start saying that I live in DC.

    Random DC resident: “I live in Mt. P. Where do you live?
    Me: “DC.”
    RDCR: “What neighborhood?”
    Me: “DC.”

  • Anonymous

    Honestly…..who gives a shit?…..I mean except for realtors and hiptards.

  • Anon 4:03 – 14th and Shepherd you say? Should it strike your fancy, feel free to join us this spring for some Alley-League Cornhole and lawnchair drinking. Don’t worry bout finding the place… just follow the Willie Nelson.

  • PabloMa

    This wouldn’t be a lively debate, or a proper Monday, without the mention of fisting. Thanks Monkey.

  • oh no!

    I’m at Webster and 14th….where does that make me? I’ve just been saying “North of Columbia Heights-West of Petworth-East of Crestwood-South of Brightwood”.

    Or, “A Few Blocks North of the Red Derby.”

  • Mitchgant

    I would call the area from Monroe to Shepard NOCO (North Columbia Heights) rather than Tivoli North. The area north of Spring Road does have the same feel as the rest of the area, even if its not technically Columbia Heights.

    My Vote – NoCo.

  • RD

    flipflop, i set up the cornhole in the basement the other week. spring can’t come soon enough.

  • roommate of 14th n otis

    This is typical. Yes the two areas in question are different, but why not change the name of the area that changed, i.e. south of monroe. Or is it not enough to steal half a neighborhood, now we need to steal the name too.

  • djdc

    I believe I have a copy of a map and details from about the time some of these areas were subdivided, and it names the area north of Spring Road as “North Columbia Heights,” so that’s what they were calling it back then. Of course things could have morphed since then (such as, there was also a small subdivision between Petworth and Brightwood called Brightwood Park, which I don’t think anyone uses anymore). But I guess by the time I scrounge up a copy of the map and/or article, no one will be reading this thread.

  • Prince Of Petworth
  • Anonymous

    Ain’t nobody gonna tell me I wasn’t living in Columbia Heights when I lived on 14th and Otis. Damn ye!!

  • diomedes

    i didn’t bother to read all the comments so it may be a repeat but lets name it: Old Columbia Heights or Pre target-best buy Columbia heights

  • Ravi

    How about: The GaP? (Please, hear me out.)

    There seems to be a no-man’s land– a “gap” if you will, nestled in amongst Columbia Heights, Petworth, 16th St. Heights, and Crestwood. It ain’t like any of those other places. What makes it distinct, and what draws it together, is it’s proximity to the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station, which might be abbreviated as . . . you guessed it: the GaP.

    Now some of you may be thinking, isn’t there a chain clothing store by that name? No. That’s the “GAP” or maybe the “gap.” Don’t quote me. The small a and big P in “GaP” will totally set us apart. It shouldn’t cause too much confusion . . . and what are they going to do, sue the neighborhood? Maybe, if we steal their “Fall into the GaP” slogan . . .

  • KdeJ

    I like GaP.
    Red Derby and anything North of Spring does not fit with Columbia Heights and 16th Street Heights is also useless.
    Rather than the random cutting off of words so prevalent with the poser hipsters (AdMo, CoHi, ad nauseam), GaP it is an intelligent apronym that provides spatial (near the Georgia Avenue Petworth Metro) and situational (a neighborhood trapped between larger areas) information.

  • SG

    Wow, I love “GaP”. PoP, can you please make a new post with this idea instead? Most will still not like it, but I think if it needs to be renamed, this should definitely be it.

  • saf

    “it needs to be renamed”

    But it doesn’t – so let’s not encourage it!

  • Anonymous

    I own at 14th and Shepherd…the title to my property from the city names the area Columbia Heights. Shouldn’t we go by that?

  • Ravi

    Good question, but I think that information on the title is just whatever your real estate agent and the closing agent at the title company felt like entering that day. When Columbia Heights was the only hot hood in the area, sellers were pretty casual about stretching and listing everything nearby as Columbia Heights. Now that other neighborhoods are evolving and developing unique personalities and pride, I hope they’ll assert themselves and seize their own naming rights.

    You gotta admit, 14th and Shepherd has a totally different vibe than 14th and Irving. Would you take a Washington Pizza pizza over a Pete’s one any day of the week, and then chase it with can of Schlitz at the Red Derby? Do you get annoyed with the Safeway, but go anyway because the Giant is expensive and creepy? Yeah, you do.

    Gotta love the GaP.

  • Peter S

    Love the name GaP. It even looks good with its own gap between the G and P. Would look good on t-shirts. It’s tough as well. Mind the GaP!!! It’s easy on the ear and simply explained.

  • well, i think we have an answer about there the “tivoli north” moniker comes from.

    read this wapo article from marc fisher. the eighth paragraph quotes a hector gomez from the “tivoli north business association”.

    pop: is this who you were having the discussions with?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Damn, IMGoph you’re good! Yes.

  • BG

    GaP is perfect. But then, I live in Columbia Heights.

  • BG

    GaP is perfect. But then, I live in Columbia Heights.

  • pop: hey, being a citizen journalist is fun, isn’t it?

  • Ravi

    I don’t get why we would want to name our neighborhood after a landmark in another neighborhood. The Tivoli is pretty and all, but it is in Columbia Heights . . . unlike us.

  • The term “CoHe” and similar cutesy replacement names are redolent of a remarkable blend of pretentiousness and ignorance.

  • Elaine

    PoP, I know you clarified in the comments that this is not a neighborhood-wide name change idea, but rather an initiative of the local business association. I think you might also make that clearer in your original post. As it stands now it’s very misleading (although apparently it got by enough people in February!). Thanks.


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