I Don’t Really Get This Article. But Having Read it, I Now Feel Nauseous

by Prince Of Petworth August 4, 2009 at 1:26 am 104 Comments

City Mall, originally uploaded by M.V. Jantzen.

In the Post today there is a story titled, “The Target Of Their Ambivalence – Suburban-Retail Icon Seduces Hipsters Of Columbia Heights”. It starts:

“For the hipsters, post-hipsters or quasi-hipsters who moved into Columbia Heights several years ago for the grit and the cheap rent and the proximity to the Wonderland Ballroom (the hipster, post-hipster or quasi-hipster bar that sponsors local music and nights like “Sundress Fest”), life can be divided into two discrete phases: Before Target. After Target.”

Please read the rest of the article here. Let me know what you think. My reaction is a mixture of nausea, sadness and a slight smile. But I really think sometimes a Target is just a Target…

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what defines someone as a hipster. Is it like art, or porn? You just know it when you see it? Are there defining characteristics? Is it an attitude thing? A personality thing? Where you hang out?

  • I don’t associate being able to walk to a store to get toilet paper with being unhip or the burbs. Plop any suburbanite down at 14th & Girard and see if they feel like they are in Reston. Me thinks not. 🙂

  • New2CH

    And people wonder why print media is dying a not-so-slow death …. I’ll stick with POP for my area news, thanks. 90 percent, at least, of Columbia Heights residents don’t need to feel some sort ironic detachment before we decide to patronize an establishment. Sheesh.

  • ShermanAveGuy

    Suburbia is defined by a sprawling area in which one must drive everywhere. Columbia Heights is still and will continue to be a pedestrian-haven. That’s why I bought a house here. I love the Target. I love the Giant. Although I prefer the independent restaurants, I’ll eat at Ruby Tuesdays too. Can’t wait for Meridian Pint to open! Plan to be a regular there.

    I second “James in Washington.” Having a Target does not make Columbia Heights a suburb.

  • Yeah, by just about any standard, that article was garbage, pure filler that barely scratches the surface of Columbia Heights. In no way did it give a serious look at development in Columbia Heights, or explain the differences between urban and suburban retail and land use patterns. I guess it was trying to be just a breezy slice of life thing…

  • sheepprofessor

    The problem with the article is that it is written in the second- and third-person, when it apparently should have been in the first. The insinuation is that every good resident of the area ought to feel the same self-loathing as the author for having convenient access to affordable goods. Apparently, deprivation is an important part of the ‘authentic’ urban experience. I did not know that.

  • Annie

    Seriously? A coming of age story about the hipsters of Columbia Heights and their secret-not-so-secret relationship with Target? I want the 5 minutes of my life back that I wasted reading that.

  • 14th n’ Otis

    Either this article is meant as a joke (not ver good) or the author is a complete idiot…I suspect the latter.

  • monkeyrotica

    It seems that every day brings a new reason to be glad I don’t subscribe to the Washington Post anymore.

  • Harsh Reality

    Target is a store where people buy crap in wide, well-lit aisles. It’s only special in context, namely, a neighborhood where such a thing was (I’m told) inconceivable not so long ago. I’m with PoP on this one: it’s just a Target.

    That Giant, on the other hand, is well worthy of derision. There is no worse shopping experience to be had. Maybe checking out at the Columbia Safeway at 6:30 pm on a weekday is worse, but just barely.

  • Christina

    Sometimes I don’t understand the fierce hatred of the Post. I don’t see this article as one of their best, but it was vaguely amusing and also inaccurate (I also don’t agree that “Target” = “suburban.”)

    We see this kind of “hipster poseur” vs. “authentic Washingtonian” argument play out here in almost every thread, along with the “support your local businesses”/”big box stores are killing the city” argument. So why is it so strange that a Post writer should explore a tiny piece of that same dynamic?

  • cookietime420

    The “reporter” really needs some therapy. She desperately wants to be a quasi-hipster but was shunned by them in junior high school and is forever damaged. Columbia Heights fills her with an overwhelming sense of angst that she can only find expression by writing abtout the Target. Returning to her apartment in Clarendon, she broods with a cup of flavored cofee. Staring out her window at the parking lot below, she thinks about those youthful, pretty, hip Columbia Heights people. They call them selves hipsters but they shop at Target just like me! They are such hypocrites. If they were authentic, they would refuse to go to Target, or maybe burn it down because the neighborhood was so much better after the riots.

  • Collin

    Making fun of hipsters is getting a bit too hip for me.

  • Cookietime above just nailed it. Please close comments PoP. Nothing more needs to be said now!

    P.S. Did anyone else notice that the large picture accompanying the article of a tattooed “hipster” is a stock photo per the credits, and not a picture of anyone interviewed in the article? sad…

  • Eli

    Lighen up, people. The article obviously wasn’t meant to be serious. I took it for what it was and had a chuckle or two.

  • Anon

    I can’t decide what is more annoying: hipsters, or those who go on and on about how annoying hipsters are and how much better they are than them?

    Her description of the hipsters and the Target in Columbia Heights is a caricature, I hope no one takes her too seriously. After googling her name I see that it appears the writer is an intern — maybe if monkey still subscribed to the Post they could afford a real staff writer. (j/k)

  • target sold houses then and now

    As someone who moved in just as the new Giant was being started (let me tell you, geezer style, that this Giant is 10 million times better than the old Giant on 14th – now condos) I’d like to point out that some of the “before target” era should still be considered “after target”. It is safe to say that nearly every house that was sold, or apartment rented via craigslist in the five years before Target arrived touted the Target, Best Buy, sometimes even the rumored Whole Foods in the flyers. The prices also reflected the future convenience of all those things, well before they arrived in reality.

    Those of us who moved here in this millennium, moved here for Target, like it or not. And after years of deprivation and vacant lots/construction sites, I have shopped proudly at Target and eaten at Ruby Tuesdays without a whiff of irony.

  • Christina

    It’d be cool if everyone who read this article and thought it was silly — I’m including myself here — would go to Pfeiffer’s in the next few days and buy something they might have trekked to Target to get. I don’t hate Target, and I don’t think shopping at Target makes me less “authentic” (it’s interesting to me how my neighbors who have lived here for 30 years aren’t worried about their “authenticity” in the same way some newcomers are) BUT, a place like Target does have an effect on a place like Pfeiffers. That’s a more useful thing to talk about than whether Ruby Tuesday’s is hip enough.

  • U

    Eh, this is just an intern trying to write a trend piece about 20 somethings. So, this is a stoopid story about stoopid people (or at least people with no context whatsoever). I agree with Traget Sold @ 8:59am. Everyone’s memories are so short. Zipcar wasn’t really here before 2002/3. Wonderland didn’t open up that long ago (05?). And no one moved anywhere, “then” or now, for “Bodegas”.

  • Reid

    For what it’s worth, according to Whitepages.com Ms. Hesse lives on 11th and Columbia, so at least she lives in Columbia Heights. Her articles all appear pretty vapid like this one, but then again she writes in the Style section, so that pretty much comes with the territory.

    The central error of hers is to equate suburban with chain department stores. That’s historically wrong. Was shopping at Garfinkles on F St. suburban back in the day? How about going to Manhattan’s Macy’s nowadays? No, it’s wasteful land use and auto-centric development that makes something suburban.

  • anon

    I cannot stand the author of this story — she is the main reason I cancelled my subscription to the post. She completely misquoted me a few years ago to make her story more ironic and “funny.” The best part of her writing this, is she must live in CH, because I see her at Pete’s and other places from time to time. She’s basically a tool, writing stories about herself, but using people who talk to her to tell the story ironically, so that she is making fun of them, not herself. I can’t bring myself to read this, but that’s how the articles I’ve read by her generally seem. Idiot.

  • Larchie

    The author of the article got to her point right around this paragraph:

    “Before Target, your cat played in cardboard boxes. Before Target, your dinner plates were cracked group-house hand-me-downs. It never occurred to you that this was a problem.”

    This article is one large metaphor for all or Columbia Heights and all other gentrifying neighborhoods. It’s a great article about attitude. It’s not really a bitter attack on hipsters, she’s just using them as a convenient shorthand and a vehicle for her thesis.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I guess the Post doesn’t get it! After nearly four years of being beaten down by the Northern Virginia traffic, my husband and I decided to move back into the city. We concentrated on the 20010 zip code for its walk-ability – something much of NoVA lacks. Our ability to walk to Target, Giant, restaurants, etc. sold us on the return to the city. Immediately after moving to Mt. Pleasant, we got rid of one of our cars and the one we kept spends a lot of time sitting in our backyard because we either walk or take mass transit most everywhere. And the Post thinks I should feel guilty about these choices?

    When I tell people where I live, I explain that I live in the BEST part of the city because we have most everything we need so close. I didn’t move here to be some cool hipster, I moved here because I wanted sanity and balance in my life. I guess I’ll have to drop my subscription to the Post as I’m clearly no longer in their demographic.

  • J-Flo

    I agree Cookietime nailed it. The “hipster” label seems to be used primarily by insecure yuppies. Granted, most of the “hipsters” interviewed didn’t seem to be the brightest bulbs, but the article was pure garbage. Who the hell moves to Columbia Heights to be closer to Wonderland or “grit”? LOL. Cheap rent? Yes. The reason many “hipsters” (artists, musicians, activists) originally moved into Columbia Heights is because they were priced out of areas like Mount Pleasant by yuppies during the housing bubble.

  • Odentex

    The problem this author has is that it is hard to be ironic when your oblivious and interesting when your topic is as boring as watching Congresscritters debate health care. My primary feeling after reading this dreck over my bran flakes this mornin’ is a continued wish that Lil’ Gal would let me cancel the Post subscription since the Leader works just as well for lighting up my BBQ coals – and it’s priced right.

  • ShermanAveGuy

    I think getting new dishes that aren’t broken is part of growing up, not part of getting a Target.

  • The article (I have the dead tree version) says CH was a predominately black neighgorhood. What no mention of Latinos? Obviously the author used the white newbies bad, authenic black people good template that is used for every changing neighborhood the Post seems to report on (Trinidad, Shaw and the various parts of Shaw- U St, Logan, Truxton). The complete failure to mention the Latino character of CH is one thing that is wrong with the article.
    Other thing wrong, CH is not Jeff Davis Hwy. And there is another Target on the Green Line in PG Plaza.
    It is a pity the Post let go their experienced (more expensive) writers, at least they had a f*ing clue of what they were writing about.

  • Allen

    Holy crap. We are 75% hipsters; the only thing we are missing is the clothing.

    Yikes, I’m not sure if I’m ready for a label like hipster.

    When you get a chance, stop at the corner of 14th & Park and look around at the people…Independence is all around…independent theatre, thrift store, organic restaurants, drinking local or brewing beer, listening to public radio and riding bicycles. And, best of all, the diversity with all the types of people in the neighborhood. I know so many other cities that would kill to have this environment.

    So, what is so wrong with living in CH and having so much variety in a neighborhood?

  • pru

    Someone please tell me that’s not a newspaper article, but a blog post by a 20-something with too much time on their hands, and a following of 50 readers. The words quasi-hipster and post-hipster don’t belong in a newspaper.

    Walkable/metro accessible access to more than one brand of deodorant does not degrade a neighborhood or its inhabitants. DC was severely lacking good walkable shopping options and now it has them, in the shape of a few big box stores, because today that’s the only store size option there is. It doesn’t mean they should all be relegated to the far suburbs.

  • I think the following from a Georgetown paper sums up the author:

    “Monica Hesse is known for finding unique angles in stories. So, in late October when her editor asked her to write a story about people watching the presidential debates, she replied, “Can I do a story about people not watching the presidential debates instead?”

    “A story that was supposed to be about watching the presidential debates turned into a story about the insecurity and the weirdness of living in Washington when everyone seems smarter than you and you end up feigning recognition, pretending that you know politics which are obscure and you would have no reason of knowing,” says Hesse.”


  • Eric B

    I applaud the Post for trying to write articles that capture the social evolution of our neighborhoods. Hey, it’s better than reading about all the crimes that occur in PG county at the expense of the shootings that occur right by my house. The article I really want to read, though, with respect to Target, is the one about all the tax breaks and giveaways these guys got. Apparently, there’s no way to run a business in DC and pay taxes at the same time.

    I’d also like the story behind all the “local businesses” that were supposed to be a part of the building that have not materialized.

  • NovaGirl

    Let’s see, people becoming more mature need stuff. Target has that stuff to sell. They buy it there.

    I was telling my ex that I wished DC was this safe and clean when we were younger.

  • Despite the obvious warnings, I had to go and read the thing myself.

    And all I get out of it is: The Post has finally sunk to sub-Detroit-Free-Press levels of journalistic negligence. And no, the fact that it’s in the Style section should NOT reflect any less quality versus page A1. If it aint an op/ed, it’s ALL gotta be A1-worthy. I know, I’m a dreamer. eh.

    It’s too easy to bait a comment pool into a p*ssing-match over who’s-more-local-than-whom…What a bore. I used to be able to smell the CH Waffle Shop from my front door 20+ years ago (classic blessing and curse there), but that doesn’t make me any more legit than the trust-fund arachnid in a polo shirt that just bought a condo overlooking Pete’s Apizza. And there are thousands of residents that have been here much much longer than me… So effing what? My neighbors are 3rd generation in their house, and yet we still speak nice-nice to one another! Is this the apocalypse!?!?! Whoever lives here, lives here. The end.

    There was a time when the term “hipster” was almost exclusively a reference to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Google “hipster” today and you still get Williamsburg in the first few hits. Seems to me Williamsburg experienced MUCH more of a radical transformation in recent years. It’s my understanding that they’re in a post-hipster decline period now, and the arachnids have moved on… so maybe we should be looking up there for a glimpse into the future of CH?

    Anyway, the Post article is monstrous shite. Next…?

  • Anonymous

    I would like to read the tax breaks and giveaway story as well. How about a nice “This is what they got,” “This is the tax revenue DC is getting,” “This is why such a massive land transfer to private hands for pennies was a good move.” Well, I’ll take the first two anyway, seeing as the third is impossible.

    But seriously, “young” post writers don’t need to just write this kind of dribble. They can try and do some investigative reporting and discover stuff that actually makes the paper relevant and worthwhile. No blog writer is going to do the tax breaks and giveaway story because, frankly, its too much work. But if you work for the Post, that is your job.

  • victoriam

    I’ve owned a home in CH for 22 years and still have my old group-house dishes!

  • New2CH

    Right, investigative reporting would be nice — that would take a little more work than just asking random people on the street for their opinions, but unfortunately, the traditional media has foresaken actual reporting work in favor of, for example, reading viewer comments on the air.

    I second the call for some reporting on what is happening with the massive amount of vacant space in DCUSA. Public funding for the project was, in part, justified by the potential for neighborhood / local businesses to get accomodations. But there are, as of now, ZERO local businesses despite a ton of vacancy in this project. Where are the accomodations to make rent reasonable for a small, non-big-box retailer? Are any outreach efforts being made to draw in some local entrepeneurs? How come Donatelli is able to attract several local retailers (without, I assume, the benefit of gov’t breaks for local businesses) yet DCUSA can’t attract ANY? THIS is the kind of reporting I want to see, not this embarassing drivel …

    I’d also be curious to see some reporting on DCCH. They still have offices, and employees, apparently, but so far as I can tell, have done absolutely nothing for the last two plus years. Are they drawing gov’t salaries? If so, to do what, exactly? They are totally unresponsive to any sort of public inquiries, I know that much at least.

  • Lighten up, people. It’s an editorial in the Style section. It’s not like this was a front page or op-ed story. I chuckled as I read it. It’s clearly tongue-in-cheek and hits the nail on the head with a lot of bits (my favorite being that CVS has all of the deodorant locked up). Did she over simplify things? Sure. This isn’t the City Paper where you get 10 pages to drone on about nothing. She wrote a whimsical, satirical piece about the Target in CH for the Style section. Take it as it is and stop being so offended that she dared to write a piece about your neighborhood that is not exactly the way you picture it.

  • gk

    wow, people. it’s just an amusing, tongue-in-cheek article. and we’re not talking front page of the post print edition (well, i assume. i just read online). it’s in the style section, which often has light-hearted commentaries on modern life. geesh.

    and more over, who *hasn’t* gone into a target for deodorant and come out with way more than they intended to get? (shoes! clothes! a shower curtain! a lamp!) that’s what makes this article amusing. it’s about how it sucks us in. i agree w/ larchie’s comments above. this article is just an interesting piece on attitude and consumerism and how people and neighborhoods evolve. i enjoy ms. hesse’s articles and the offbeat angle that they bring. i don’t know her, but they’re part of what i *like* about the post!

  • Anonymous

    i mean, we all know who the Target was built for:


  • Anonymous

    Its like everything else that is just a land transfer that is sold by the promise of neighborhood / local businesses to get involved—“are you committed to helping bring neighborhood / local businesses to thid development?” “Of course. They just need to pay a year’s rent in advance, at above-market rents, with a longer-than-normal lease term that contains hefty early termination penalties, and it needs to be personally guaranteed so that we can take the business owners to bankruptcy court if need be, because, you know, we need to protect our interests. But to show our good faith, we’ll waive some of these prohibitibe conditions if a local business is as established and well funded, as, say, Ruby Tuesdays.”

  • ShermanAveGuy

    I liked the article too, but I want to re-emphasize that what makes an area suburban is the need to drive everywhere.

    Give me all the Targets, Starbucks, Paneras, and Whole Foods you want. Just put them all within a walkable distance!

  • Anonymous

    @Shermanavenueguy: Is Ballston suburban? Because I lived there for three years without a car, and didn’t find myself needing to drive anywhere. I didn’t consider it Reston, but it certainly isn’t the city either.

  • JB

    I think the article is totally a joke – mocking hipsters. I don’t really think anyone believes that CH is like Rt.1 in Alex.

  • Rukasu

    This was one of the funniest, yet most painfully true articles I’ve read in the Post all year.

    Us urban 20-somethings take ourselves way too seriously. We get offended by articles like this, yet go to Target and Ruby Tuesday’s and love it (yet hope none of our friends see us there) because fact of the matter is, most snarky white 20-somethings in DC were in fact born and raised in the northeast suburbs and ate this shit every weekend in high school when we went on a date and went with our parents to Target and Wal Mart when we wanted a good deal on paper towels.

  • Rukasu

    It’s really just a matter of seeking comfort

  • Shawn

    I think it’s a harmless article, but I agree with some of the omissions and errors. (Latino character omitted, equating suburban with big box stores rather than autocentric infrastructure). But these weren’t really central to the article, which was just a fluffy, breezy piece about “hipsters” growing up while Columbia Heights grows up along with them..

  • Anonymous

    What the article fails to mention is that the mark of the DC hipster isn’t the vintage tee or sleeve tats; it’s the overwhelming sense of self righteousness and lapses in to histrionics that accompany any jab, no matter how slight, at their way of life. See above comments for evidence.

    Christ People, it’s a little bit of light satire, and judging by the reactions, I’d say it definitley touched a nerve. The article got a few grins out of me, and considering its from Style, I think thats really all it was aiming for.

  • Sunny Florida Avenue

    I like poop and dick jokes (not just because I’m too old to and that makes it ironic) but because I really like poop and dick jokes. I feel for “hipsters” who aren’t allowed to do the same.

  • WDC

    New2CH, I want to read that article, too. But not by the twit that wrote this one. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the Post would put a real reporter on the job of investigating DCUSA and its unfulfilled promises to the community?

    And for those of you saying this is satire… I could buy that… if it were funny or thought-provoking. It’s not. Pull up some Jonathan Swift on your internets-machine. THAT’S satire.

  • Anonymous

    Who gives a sh– about this hipster crap. I’ve lived in CH for 27 years and its about the convenience baby! I don’t need to get in my car and drive to some godforsaken mall and that’s all that matters to me.

  • Anonymous

    Hipster, shmipster. Target is the best thing that has happened to CH.

  • August Feldner

    I’m also angry!

  • The Centzon Totochtin

    1. Is Wonderland CH’s only argument for hipster cred? If that is so, than weighed against DCUSA, Chipotle, Ruby Tuesday’s and Rita’s Water Ice, CH is getting pretty UNHIP these days. Ms. Hesse needs to boost CH’s street cred a bit to make a better argument- what else does CH have to boost it’s hipster cred?

    2. Is CVS really a “local” business? I don’t think it is any more local than Target. Target is better run, better kept, and has lower prices.

  • Sullivan

    Anonymous @ 10:39 has it exactly right. The article refers to a small segment of the CH population. The author may be right – perhaps the hipsters worry about how “authentic” they are and whether or not shopping at Target makes them less so. But why should we care? Why should any of this affect our satisfaction with our neighborhood? I bet most of us live in CH because it’s relatively inexpensive, Metro-accessible, convenient, and fun.

  • Rachel

    I wanted to say that there went 5 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, but Annie beat me to it. What a waste of time. Oohh, people will shop at Target if one’s around. Shocking.

  • rg

    As an insecure yuppie, i take offense to every post on this thread.

    As an educated white male aged 18-50 I look down on all other social groups and classes, and of course will continue to oppress everyone and everything. As for you hipsters, anything that removes focus from what is arguably the most derided population segmnet (rich white males) is a welcome change. Someone please fill me on what is a “hipster” and what is “diversity”? I can find no articles on either subject in the Economist. thank you

  • Christina

    There are some great story ideas in this thread, particularly the ones about tax breaks and local businesses not being in DC USA even though that’s what we were originally “sold.” I hope someone with the power to assign that story is reading…

  • Kristin

    I have to add that I worked with Ms. Hesse at – wait for it…AARP Magazine. She wrote celebrity birthday columns. I believe she is no longer an intern but an actual Post reporter now, or else the longest serving intern in DC, since she’s been there for several years. Anyway, I used to really enjoy her Post articles, which mostly featured DC-centric stuff you talked about over beers at the local dive/diner. But lately, her articles are empty of substance and full of twists of phrase and observations that feel ripped off. But hey, my guess is she’s trying to build a portfolio that will get her back to NYC and CH is just a stop along that journey. I wish she would get away from the “stuff white people” like reporting and at least explore some other cultural peculiarities in DC.

  • Dick

    One huge misconception this author attempts to propagate in this article is that people moved to Columbia Heights for the “edginess.” NOBODY ever moved there for any sort of bragging rights that their next door neighbor is a crackhead and their car has been broken into three times. They moved there because it was cheap, or because they hoped it would get better in a few years.

  • reuben

    Lighten up, indeed. In 10 years, a lot of these folks will have “grown up” (married, kids)and crossed the bridge (Maryland, Virginia) anyway.

  • MandarinZazz

    for those of you that are looking for definition of hipster: monica hesse is definition of hipster.

    you know what a pretty hipster thing to do is, have a bunch of gay and lesbians invade a bar that is ususally straight. it’s like those guys who have pillow fights in arlington, or go on bar crawl in alexandria wearing snuggies.


    Nice Pic.

  • Anonymous

    did the writer phone this in? silly and presumptive. its sad, beause there is a story or two for the taking revolving around the big changes and challanges columbia heights is experiencing. that would take time, reserch and a committent to good investigative reporting. please dont underestimate your readers or the folks of columbia heights.

  • Monica, what?

  • Marcus Aurelius

    “I can’t decide what is more annoying: hipsters, or those who go on and on about how annoying hipsters are and how much better they are than them?”

    I vote for hipsters who go on and on about those who go on and on about how annoying hipsters are and how much better they are than them.
    Geesh. People really need to learn to take a joke. It was not meant to be a discourse on the complexities of gentrification. It was in the Style section for goodness sakes.
    Look up the phrase “tongue-in-cheek.”
    Why the need to take something this inocuous so personal?

    And posting the author’s name and where her address can be found is pretty low (and dangerous) in my opinion.

  • Neener

    There were generations where the appearance of an article in the newspaper gave it a level of credence and “Truth” that elevated it to importance. Think of all the times you cut your picture out of the newspaper as a kid, you know?

    Well that time is over.

    And this article reflects the post-Journalism society.

  • rg

    Thanks Mandarrin, the pic much like the article, does nothing for me. double fail.

  • Anonymous

    if it were tongue in cheek it would be funny, it was to quote our thankfully honest president, stupid.

  • K St.

    rg @ 11:20 said exactly what I wanted to, it would just have been less funny if I had written it.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    By the way, Webster’s defines “hip” as “characterized by a keen informed awareness of or involvement in the newest developments or styles.”

    As someone who grew up in New York City, I can tell you that there is very littly “hipness” to be found ANYWHERE in D.C. And it sure as heck ain’t at Wonderland.

  • WDC

    BwaHaha!!! Marcus, with your post about growing up in NYC and being so much cooler than us DCers, specifically those who hang at Wonderland, you just outed yourSELF as one of the “hipsters who go on and on about those who go on and on about how annoying hipsters are and how much better they are than them”.

    *wiping a tear*

  • I think the article is funny on the surface, but also offensive, if you want to get into it. Where the humor comes from troubles me –

    making fun of the CVS deodorant section? You know, because the people that shop there instead of Target don’t prioritize hygiene… that’s funny? right?

    or the use of the word “edgy” to describe Columbia Heights… because you know, shootings are like seasonal clothing lines.

    The article says that Columbia Heights is a transitioning neighborhood. Not news. Of course it’s in the style section, because all it talks about is Columbia Heights transitioning from one type of materialism to another. And in doing so, it cheekily disregards any of the real problems Columbia Heights has… But just because it’s in the style section doesn’t mean it has the right to be vapid shit.

  • New2CH

    I consider myself to be one who complains about the complaints from non-hipsters complaining about hipsters’ complaints about blog posts critical of hipsters’ complaints regarding complaining about hipsters.

  • Gold

    Guess what? It is August and it is summertime where the reading and light and easy. That goes for the Post and the style section.

    Instead of directing the discussion on whether CH is a hipster place or not, we should focus on golf courses, amusement parks, and beachside resorts.

  • Naomi

    I thought it was funny but possibly that’s because I’m not a hipster, nor am I anti-hipster, nor do I think I can identify a hipster or define hipster and don’t live in CH. I just found myself saying, yes I too want my bed sheets to match my pillow case or my towels to match! I don’t know if this is because I am just growing up or that target really does make things more accessible and has helped push me this way. Actually I think its all that HGTV that I have been watching lately..

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Actually WDC, I am neither a hipster nor a hipster hater. I don’t think you have to be either to know that there are very few people in DC who can be characterized as having an “informed awareness of or involvement in the newest developments or styles.”
    There are lots of words commonly used to describe the Beltway crowd but stylish isn’t one of them. That’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It’s just the truth.

  • anonymous

    Why do so many people (on PoP, not including the author of the article) seem to think that everyone who lives in CH does so for the same reason? Whether it is Target or cheap housing, or anything else, the reasons for living here are as diverse as the community.

    I think it is really sad, too, that there are so many people living in this community that cannot recognize humor writing nor enjoy it. Lighten up people.

  • rg

    Naomi, i think you nailed it. Target is the new Ikea.
    Unfortunately, defining a nieghborhood by its retail is like picking a stripper based on her outfit.

  • Skeletor

    If you care what WP thinks of your neighborhood, you’re wasting your care. The post is just trying to sell papers any way they can. But since they don’t care to do investigation or research, opinion and BS are all that’s left. It’s sad to watch the paper that broke Watergate sink to what it is today. The old Washington Post would have called bullshit on Iraq WMD. This one does identity warfare with Target. zzz

  • Ohio Player

    columbia heights is where all obama (eyes wide shut) nation moved when they located DC on a map post Jan. 2008. Its such a perfect fit for what is cheights. creepy, trendy, dangerous – all at the same time.

  • dani

    i lived in CH for four years…. the last year (is it coincidence?) I saw the neighborhood rapidly spiral down the toliet. Maybe its because I’m not 22 anymore, fresh out of college, and no longer to thrilled to live in a basement with roaches and rats, but i feel that putting in the target def polarized the neighborhood. Its a hotbed of tension right now, there is such a disparity between economic, educational, cultural, you name it, that I had to get the heck out.

    Guess its not quite the Target’s fault. More of a systemic thing that is present in every D.C. lower income neighborhood. Damn, it was good to be able to buy everything you need all in one place. And not have to wait and wait and wait for an extremely annoyed salesperson to unlock the case just so I could get the brand of soap I like.

    Even better? I moved to foggy bottom. it is soooo nice to be able to walk home without being harassed. And I know that lovely target and all the nice new places to eat and drink are only a short drive away…. god bless the $1 parking!

  • IHeartShaw

    Bummer. All my dreams of being a hipster have been dashed.

  • David

    I find this article amusing, but let me just say that I do not shop at DC USA often at all, but I am glad to not have to trek into the burbs for office supplies or the occasional kitchen item. I don’t really care about what people think about box stores, but comparing this to Rockville Pike or Nova is just stupid. The walkability/transit-access, etc make this an apples and oranges comparison to the Staples/Target/Best Buy locations in the burbs.

    That being said, there is an edge of truth to the idiocy of hipsters discussed in the Post article (either before OR after Target). Particularly, talking to some of the young people in the neighborhood, I get the sense that some of them were looking for an urban adventure by moving to this neighborhood. You can tell, because every once and again they write here or on the neighborhood listserv defending the drug dealers and kids committing crimes in the neighborhood, as if that is cool and provides street cred. Then they go and complain about how terrible all these chain stores are (without looking at the complete absence of useful retail anywhere nearby before DC USA) or they complain about the displacement of residents (which THEY are causing!).

    But when you juxtapose this article with the plea from the hardware store in Mt. Pleasant to keep shopping there, you expose the real problem — poaching customers away from smaller stores. I don’t mind if the check-cashing places and liquor stores are fewer in number, but I would feel a little bad if places like Limeno/Torgoroz/Hitching Post, etc ever went under b/c of the competition. I’m not sure if that’s happening yet, but I would presume so?

    That being said, I FULLY welcome the redevelopment of the Ga/NH Ave intersection. Bring it on!

  • Many of these comments seem to prove my point: Nobody expects reasonable journalism in the Post if it’s in the Style section, and are ready to accept full-blown satire pieces and knee-slappin’ comedy writing where some of us expect News Stories About Style/Culture/Etc.

    What’s more, the holy distinction between editorial columns and “the rest” of a newspaper is clearly lost on a sh*tload of people. Sounds like readers simply don’t expect quality or truth in THAT section, so what the farking hell is the point of printing it?

    What’s next, the weather page going all-parody, all-the-time? Obits picking random names out of the phonebook just to freak people out a little?

    IDEA: If tongue-in-cheek reportage is OK now, how about running a little icon above each headline from now on: X icon represents actual news with reasonable sources and the level of reporting one would expect from a capital city’s daily newspaper, and icon Y represents some insane comedy bullsh*t meant to fill space because some advertiser insisted on being in the section.

    I hate to admit it, but all this proves that journalism is dead, but bloggers had nothing to do with it. This was suicide. I can’t blame the writer: Hesse is clearly a refugee from the short bus to Amateur Hour. The article isn’t worth all this noise: But the editorial staff is clearly on a ten-year bong binge.

  • Anonymous

    For all the things that Columbia Heights HAS, can someone please recommend a dry cleaner and a nail salon? I lived off Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, and there was no shortage over there.

    In addition, I wish that CH would look into local businesses, especially in terms of “trickle-down” spending, for lack of a better term.

    See: http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14140238

  • New2CH

    Are you serious? There are a ton of dry cleaners in CH. I like Georgetown Valet, personally.

  • Ludwick

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

    We’ve known the Target was coming for almost five years, and even before that we expected, with restrained optimism, that something of that sort would be coming on the heels of the metro station’s opening in 1999. Everything that has been happening is what has been hoped for and expected – and it is WHY people have been moving here.

    (I bought a place in CH in 2006, after renting in Mt Pleasant for years before that)

    Some young transients (who, by definition, will be gone in a couple years) aside, In the real world people don’t choose where to live out of a desire for street cred or “an urban adventure.”

    People chose to move to CH over the past 5 – 10 years because it was an affordable, interesting, diverse, convenient, walkable neighborhood with convenience to most of the city, some places to eat and shop, and a bunch of available housing AND, most importantly, an anticipated bright economic future (driven by the new metro station) of expanded retail options, greater safety and convenience, and (yeah, I said it) higher property values.

    We’re not the frogs, we are the heat.

  • HouseInTheRear

    Well great. Now I’m gonna feel all ackward with my tats and my vintage dress shopping for deoderant in Target.

  • New2CH

    If I want humor / snark, I’ll read The Onion. At least they do it well (much of the time, anyway). It would be nice if the traditional papers did actual reporting, as there is no shortage of snark and fluff elsewhere on the net. Unfortunately, WaPo et. al. have abdicated this function of late in favor of bloggers like TPM.

    POP, if you do intend to make this blog fulltime, maybe then you will be able to follow up on some of the story ideas mentioned here and on other threads. At this point, I think you’d do a better job than WaPo in any event …

  • HouseInTheRear

    @Anonymous 3:55 – The best pedicure in the city has to be at that place at 17th and U, which of course is nowhere near Columbia Heights… but walking is good for drying one’s toenails I’m sure.

  • bobadbloggity

    the more comments there are about articles like this, the more articles there will be like this.

  • Anonymous

    I am glad there is a Target in the city so one doesn’t have to go to the suburbs when you need it, but I have to say that I have never understood the appeal of the big box store and chain restaurants in making a neighborhood desirable to live in. Columbia Heights leaves me cold for that reason. Logan/U St have much more appealing and interesting options that really do make me want to live within walking distance of them.

  • The Centzon Totochtin
  • Anonymous

    More hard-hitting investigative journalism from Pravda. Imagine getting your political news from a paper like that.

  • Anonymous

    To everyone who wishes the Post would do more investigative reporting–when was the last Post investigative report anyone remembers that generated this many comments on PoP? In an incomplete and rushed Google search, I found one posting on a 2008 Post story on condo developers using a loophole to force out residents. It got 9 responses, the second of which was to point out how sad it was that it took 16 hours for the 2nd comment to be posted.


  • Bob Ross was the first hipster.
    i don’t know if he shopped at Target.
    but he would have if he lived near one.
    he would have if he lived in Columbia Heights ( had he lived)
    he would have made toast with a Michael Graves designed toaster. whole grain toast.

    I dont think he would have liked Petes New Haven or Ruby Tuesdays, but you know he would hit Wonderland, but not when dudes dress in dresses. Bob didn’t roll like that, but he was happy.

    I’d say he would probably eat at commonwealth. he liked bacon.

    I dont think he had tattoos, he painted his art on canvas not skin.
    mutherfucka trimmed his beard though.

    and wore those pants tight.

    i love when hipsters get all defensive.

    dont forget bob.

  • rubytuesdayhater

    What’s most disturbing about this article to me is the number of people (more on other local blogs than on this one) who have said that they eat at Ruby Tuesdays without a sense of irony. Irony or not…be ashamed, be deeply ashamed.

    There may be plenty of reasons to shop at Target, but I can’t think of any reason to eat at Ruby Tuesdays. Support your local businesses for fuck’s sake.

  • RD

    don’t dismiss the deodorant thing. I don’t like to shop at stores that treat me as a criminal. If i can avoid a store that keeps their merchandise under lock and key, i will. I don’t participate in the “let me see what’s in your bag” check as you’re leaving the store. i do, however, order from rib pit through the bullet proof glass. they could put armed guards in front and i would still go there. om nom

  • Skeletor

    @rubytuesdayhater – I think you eat at Ruby Tuesdays ’cause you want to eat at Denny’s, but you don’t want to *be* at Denny’s. Maybe that’s unfair to Denny’s… Damn, now I’m hungry. I wonder if 5 Guys is open?

  • Christina

    A blog post on DCist about this article has gotten 90+ comments, too. Wow. I didn’t think it was that good or bad to garner this kind of reaction.

  • victoriam

    I live on a homeward street and see, every weekend,
    ironing boards walking home from Target. Three or four, sometimes six, all alike with their sweet white unbattered legs and their blue pattered cloth, perhaps a fleur de lis. A hundred ironing boards have turned left or right and climbed stairs and shuffled between bedrooms, wincing at crossed out their legs ready to be press. We all must have been really wrinkled .

  • Anonymous

    Wanna know how to define a hipster? Check this out. They are defined but what they AREN’T. ha!

  • Redhead

    I’m a total yupster and I loved the article. So did many of my friends.

    POP community, methinks thou doth protest too much.

  • rubytuesdayhater

    I don’t eat at Denny’s either. But I did once wait tables there in high school, 3rd shift no less. Perhaps I’m scarred.

    For reals though, if people want cool local businesses to open up, local businesses can’t be losing sales to these ridiculous chain restaurants…

  • anonymous

    Wow, there are many many dumb comments here.

    Where to start.

    Target has the stuff I need to buy IN STOCK. If you don’t need to buy what Target sells and you can buy what you need at another store then by all means DO IT.

    For instance, if one of the kids is sick and I want to buy a small toy there used to be junk shops on Mt Pleasant St that sold toys and for $10 you could get some cheap Chinese piece of junk and sometimes I was just that desperate.

    But Target has REAL branded toys, many times on clearance, at $4. Better quality toys at half the cost.

    You tell me if I should shop at the junk shops or not.

    Yes, I’d rather shop at an independent toy store like Childs Play or Sullivans, but neither of them are open in our section of the city. What we had was overpriced junk. What Target sells is bargain name brand toys.

    Then it comes to clothes. I lost 25 lbs and one saturday realized that my old jeans didn’t fit and I just needed a pair of jeans to do volunteer work in. Target had Lee jeans for $17.99. Possibly I could have bought Dickies some place or wrecked nice clothes, but Target is there. Could I have bought jeans from El West? I don’t think so.

    The only people I know who go to Ruby Tuesday are African-Americans on my block whose grandchildren take them there on the weekends. I cannot fathom why people are that upset by Ruby Tuesdays as a chain when there’s a Pollo Ranchero right there- that food is really foul, but Ruby Tuesdays has a salad bar.

    Name me another restaurant in columbia heights with a salad bar.

    That makes them, as much as you may want to deny it, a niche restaurant


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