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Big Fight in Chinatown Sat. Night?

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2010 at 10:35 am 131 Comments


Ed. Note: Happier Chinatown news about Sunday’s fantastic parade (pictured above) coming at 11am.

“Dear PoP,

I was around chinatown on Sat night and saw a large (30-40 people) group of teenagers on both sides of 9th st yelling and screaming at each other. A few minutes later after I parked my car and was walking back down on 9th I saw one group of the teens walking to another teen and starting beating him up. The teen was able to escape, though. There were police all over the place. Do you know what happened?”

This is the first I’m hearing, any readers happen to see what happened?

  • Donnie

    Chinatown used to be cool but it’s become a big getto mess on the weekends lately. Packs of uncivilized kids have taken over, and the unfortunately-necessary police presence makes it feel like a war zone.

    • dmf

      get off my lawn?

      • Anonymous

        You’re god damned right get off my lawn, if you’re some sort of uncivilized little piece of crap who can’t play by the rules.

    • 1) I think it’s pretty ghetto to mispell ghetto.

      2) Why are you crying about police presence? Personally, I feel safer when I see a large police presence. Doesn’t bother me in the least. If there were no police, you’d be complaining about that. And the police seem to be doing a decent job. Total violent crime within 1500 feet of the Gallery Place theater is down 16% from last year. By comparison, it’s up 26% within 1500 feet of the AMC in Georgetown.

      • Anonymous

        It’s also pretty ghetto to misspell “misspell”.

      • Anonymous

        Percentages lie. What was the “base level”? Let me guess – 100 crimes in Gallery Place, 4 in Georgetown. Nice try. Try again.

        • Actually, more like 601 crimes within 1500 ft of the Gallery Place theater and 567 crimes within 1500 ft of the intersection of Wisconsin and M (more accurate location for a comparison) in Georgetown. So no, Georgetown does not have 4% of the crime of Gallery Place – nice try though (or is it tho’?). But, to be fair, only 47 violent crimes in the above G-Town area vs. 87 in the above Gallery Place area.
          But the numbers get much better when you compare Gallery Place to Adams Morgan. 132 violent crimes (ouch!) within 1500 feet of Tryst in Adams Morgan, 87 violent crimes within 1500 feet of the Gallery Place cinema.
          Looks like the MPD needs to do a much better job of going after those feral drunk college kids and suburbanites that swarm to Adams Morgan on the weekends.

          • neener

            Marcus, do you or don’t you remember when the bloods came into Adams Morgan for two weeks? That was hell and they were not college kids. They were, btw, confirmed bloods, but why they were in DC is unknown to me. This is not a rumor, this is fact.

          • Anonymous

            SLAM! I think this puts the nail in the coffin of many of these pleas from the privileged and entitled gallery place residents. Your slice of the city is just like the rest of the city, just more whiny! Hey, M.A., I think the crime stats are available on a website, right? What is the link?

  • Anonymous

    Could have just as easily been inside the movie theater there. Weekends in chinatown are best left to the MD folks and roving packs of feral teens

  • i saw the police arresting a few kids on the chinatown metro platform that evening (knee on the back, face down on the ground etc.)… seemed like par for the course though.

  • Joe

    I have never liked Chinatown, but over the past 6 months, I have grown to hate it. Kids with nothing to do just yelling and loitering. I don’t care if there is nothing for these kids to do, they just don’t need to hang out on 7th between H & G every Friday night. I feel bad for business in the area.

  • Stacey

    Chinatown is so ghetto on weekends. Kids there make it scary to walk around. I agree that they are no threat to pedestrians just walking by, but it is still scary, you never know when one of them may come out running with a knife or a gun and accidentaly hit you.

    I am happy to see a lot of police there, but they should do more by not letting those people just loiter around on the street back and forth, specially if they are yelling loudly at people across the street. Its a tourist area and just brings the whole image of the city down.

    • In Pain

      When was the image of the city up? We’ve had issues with unruly teens, including extreme violence and professional thuggery for years now! It must be tough to be a good kid in this city with so many around behaving poorly.

    • Dustin

      I’ve been in places with wild, unattended kids who were white, or Asian etc.
      The key is no alternatives, parents wwho are unengaged or overwhelmed. Plus teenagers are going to be crazy under any circumstances. Put this urban crucible on top of that and you get this mess.
      Of course, as bad as it is, are they causing riots and mayhem? No. I’m not excusing it, but they seem to delight in scaring we white people as a sport but not hurting anyone. So who’s playing who?

      • neener

        why do you think people aren’t getting hurt?

  • Anonymous

    Yep, like everyone else has said…that type of thing has been the “new normal” in Chinatown for about a year now.

  • That’s why I trek all the way from Columbia Heights to the movie theater in Georgetown, even thought it requires transfering and a long walk.

    Something about actually being able to hear the movie that makes it worth while…

  • Another Option?

    I saw the same thing, about 30 kids on 9th around F running. Couldn’t quite tell who was getting beat up but the kids in the back of the pack started running faster just to see the fight. Never did see a cop on 9th though. Thank god Columbia Heights doesn’t have a movie theater…it would unbearable. I can’t believe people pay so much to live in that Chinatown ghetto.

  • Stop

    Yea, this is just typical Chinatown. It should not be elevated to anything more than that, nor frighten people from coming here. I’m assuming the person asking the question is from MD or VA (b/c they were parking their car; if you’re in DC and going to Chinatown, you should really be using public transport), so maybe a response like this is in order: “This is a city. There are lots of people here. Sometimes a few bad apples cause a scene and/or fight. Sorry, but this is a city. There are numerous town centers in the suburbs that offer the sanitized “city” experience you are looking for.”

    • Anonymous

      I hate the “this is a city” argument. It’s so thin. There should be no excuse for kids acting disrespectful and violent in a major commercial center. No one (not their parents, not the police) want to take responsiblity for telling them “no. This is not OK.”

    • Agreed — this is city life, there are bad apples everywhere in the city…

      also, the people who say that it has gotten worst in the last 6 months or year — totally wrong. I’ve been regularly going to chinatown for 4 years now, and it has always been like this. its really not that bad… just busy… lots of kids. Dont let them scare you off.

      • im agreeing with “Stop” btw

    • Mmmm, not so much Stop. My work has me in downtown Chicago and NYC quite frequently and I rarely ever see roving packs of severely misbehaved kids. At worst there are bus loads of school kids on field trips but they don’t get in massive brawls and shove the elderly. Quite sadly this is a unique phenomenon to DC not suffered in large pedestrial centers of other large cities.

      • Bryan

        Yeah dude, that’s because you hang out in Times Square. Go to Bed-Stuy or the even Stuy Town. Believe me, the packs of roving kids are in NYC in all 5 boroughs. They’re just not as prevalent in the touristy areas because they have stuff to do in places that aren’t touristy, AND they have more than like 3 places to go within walking distance of their homes. Chinatown is a walkable place to a lot of section 8 buildings AND happens to be a tourist spot. Poor planning perhaps, but them’s the breaks.

      • Stop

        I’m assuming by “NYC” you mean Manhatten, and you also mean during the day and near business centers. Because, head on over to the skate park beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the basketball courts on the lower east side, or head up a bit into Harlem, or across the river into Brooklyn, and you’ll see this same sort of thing—kids pushing other kids around. Not sure where kids hang out in Chicago, but I’m guessing its not the business district. ALSO, you don’t see this sort of behavior on weekdays (even during the summer) in Chinatown. It’s a Weekend issue—if you even want to call it an issue. And it most certainly is not unique to DC.

        ALSO: Where do you get “shove the elderly” from? If you are using hyperbole, you mights as well add “knock over baby carriages” and “block ambulances” and “waive guns” because you will want to cover all of the bases on shocking behavior that could theoretically happen.

        • mori

          I moved here 2 yrs ago after living in Chicago for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything close to resembling the dangerous mess this city is. In the last two years, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in sketchiness in Chinatown (used to be tourists and VA/MD’ers, now feral teens) 18th st./Adams morgan (fratty college scene to more tense, feels like a fight is about to break out scene), and U street seems to be heading in the 18th st direction. This article from why i hate dc seems to sum it up… http://whyihatedc.blogspot.com/2010/02/reader-report-of-brutal-beating-in.html

        • neener

          Stop, I’ve been up to western Brooklyn a lot and I haven’t seen it. Park Slope, Williamsburg, Ft Greene, DUMBO, I haven’t seen it. I’ve seen some big groups of goofy teens on Flatbush Ave looking at shoes, but this is worse.

          Are you saying that I haven’t been to the Bronx? Yes, but are you saying that DC is on-par with The Bronx, because that’s our rightful concern.

          • Stop

            Used to live in Ft. Greene / Clinton Hill and, yes, there were times when groups of kids would congregate and sometimes a fight would break out. Same thing would happen down at the Fulton Street Mall, which would be a more analagous comparison to Chinatown. Other than humvee-like baby strollers clogging up the sidewalks, I’ve never seen it in Park Slope. And other than hipster goofbags, same thing with Williamsburg.

            I think the difference is expectation–people go to Chinatown, and they want Pentagon Row or Reston Town Center. Chinatown isn’t my favorite part of the city for a related reason–it looks like Pentagon Row or Disney World with all the “old” and well-lit-up facades hiding chain stores, just robbing the area of charm which it otherwise would have in spades with the portrait gallery and old patent office building.

            I do agree the kids are ill behaved, but this shock–SHOCK–at this fact is what is so interesting. It’s like the people complaining *deserve* better. It’s this air of entitlement which I just don’t get.

    • Please refrain from telling me how I should or should not be getting around, thank you. Personal choice, and whatnot.

      • Oh, and I’m not the OP. I’m just a little sick of people on this blog (and others) saying that b/c I choose to live somewhere I then somehow forfeit my right to choose for myself how I get from one place to another.

        • In Defense of Less Cars

          I’m new to this convo, and I don’t want to infringe on your personal choice to use a car to get around, nor do I want to say that people who use metro/buses are somehow better than those who don’t, but I do believe that if people were less dependent on cars in this city, that the city would be a lot more urban. That is, more shops, grocery stores, corner stores, etc., would pop up around town because more people would be requiring local services. In other words, I think less cars equals more demand for services nearby. But, this is DC, it is what it is, and I don’t think it is going to change anytime soon. Also don’t mean to imply that any person that uses a car doesn’t use local services (or that those without cars are never known to rent a zipcar and use non-local services), but I DO believe that if we reach critical mass on this and other similar issues, then DC would be more urban and offer a wider variety (and closer!) services. I also don’t mean to imply that people in DC want a more urban environment—many don’t and protest anything that would bring people into their neighborhood. But I don’t share that point of view, and wish that people would give up their cars so that more businesses would pop up that cater to day to day things. I just think that would improve the city. Use your car as much as you like, though, Nichole, my concern is on a macro level.

          • neener

            I don’t believe that DC is ever going to change and furthermore as a parent I know that private transportation where I have been sometimes with TWO strollers and multiple diaper bags and related is simply a fact of life.

            I took metro lots of places before I had kids and I maybe have used it 10 times in the last 7 years with kids because it’s just not productive. Besides the fact that I’m buying 4 metro tickets instead of 1 these days…

            I think our environmental solutions will be electric cars, not public transportation.

    • neener

      oh come on, so you’re dating a really pretty lady and she cheats on you and do you really say “I’m dating someone pretty so I have no problem with her dating other guys. there are numerous suburban women who offer the sanitized “pretty girl” experience you’re looking for?

      That is a seriously racist argument you just made and you need to look inside yourself to determine why you think black communities shouldn’t be as safe as white communities. The heart of what you wrote, written slightly differently, sounds like my crazy uncle who says, It’s a black community, of course there’s drugs and violence, do you expect better of them?”

      Come on… that’s just wrong.

      • Stop

        Don’t put words in my mouth. That’s not my argument, and you know it. That’s a shameful, shameful tactic that I will not tolerate, and it harms your argument and credibility when THAT response is what you resort to. Shame on you. Adopt a new nickname if you wish to continue this, because I refuse to respond to another thing you say. Shame on you.

    • HABC

      Why do people who live in VA and MD get repeatedly blamed for being the complainers? DC residents don’t like this either.

  • Sunny Florida Avenue

    The death of the Union Station movie theater created this situation. It used to break up the crowds of excited youth. Now, they all go to Chinatown. I miss having the option of urban movie experience (US) or regular movie experience (CT). It was great to see a scary movie at Union Station because the commentary was so fun. That said, I hate not being able to watch anything at Chinatown without commentary. I don’t want to trek to Georgetown for a decent movie experience.

    • The AFI in Silver Spring is clean and free of teens. It’s less than 2 blocks from the red line. (AND you can drink beer.)

  • Scary!

    A “feral teen” banged on my window when I was dining! I almost knocked my brick-oven pizza on the floor in terror!

    (fake name, true story)

  • Anonymous

    Ugh. Packs of feral kids all over this city terrorizing everyone. They have no respect for anyone – young, old, black, white, man, woman, disabled. They think they’re tough but are really have the emotional capacity of babies. As much as I love the summertime, I’m not looking forward to the roaming wild kids.

    • Joe

      Agreed, sometimes I just want to smack one and do some parenting…first time for everything.

    • Megan

      Four words: LORD OF THE FLIES

  • Columbia Heights is quickly becoming an attraction for the “packs of feral kids” as well despite large police presence.

  • dcdirewolf

    Referring to a bunch of teenagers being teenagers as “feral” (basically animals) and “ghetto” and to Chinatown on weekends as a “war zone” (clearly that commenter has never been in a real war zone). I’m feeling a racist vibe here.

    I go to Chinatown often, and at least one or two weekends a month for food, movies or sporting events. Yes, I notice groups of teenagers hanging out. I’ve never witnessed anything like a “war zone”. I’ve never witnessed anything out of the ordinary for teenagers. Basically they are loud and oblivious to anyone else around them. Like most teenagers are when they get together to hang out.

    I guess there was a fight. Won’t be the first or last time there is a fight. A fight here or there does not render teens hanging out on the weekends in public space “feral”, “ghetto” or any other loaded word uptight folks feel like spitting out.

    • Anonymous

      2 a : not domesticated or cultivated : wild b : having escaped from domestication and become wild

      2a seems apt.

      Also it’s not like these kids are all standing around just reading books and discussing art. Let’s be real. They do more than annoy. They harass passers by, they assault each other, and there are often fights – perhaps you’ve just been lucky with your visits. If these kids were placid, there wouldn’t need to be such a heavy police presence. As far as race, I *hope* the adjectives you note are just being used to describe behavior, because they do apply in that sense. But if the kids were all white and acting the same way, I’m pretty sure these gripes would all be the same. In that sense, it doesn’t really matter what race they are.

      • dcdirewolf

        Think about the fact that people are using a term that means “having escaped from domestication” to apply to human beings, black human beings.

        • Anonymous

          No one said they are black. And even if they are, you are making the leap from the adjectives to the race issue. The people who were using those adjectives didn’t link them to race, just behavior. And those words did appropriately describe that behavior. I don’t know what other people’s intentions or opinions are – maybe they did mean it racially – but I don’t think it’s fair to make the jump on one’s own, when it wasn’t even mentioned in the original use. In short 1) not everything’s about race 2) the kids are acting like jerks, no matter what color they are.

          • Anonymous

            Wait, these teens are black?

          • Los Politico

            You know they were black. Don’t be an asshat

        • neener

          Are you saying that it’s ok for them to act like that and make black communities unliveable or isn’t it better that black children and seniors not be exposed to this kind of violence? I have real friends who are black seniors who have had me over to their houses and you know what? They hate those kids with a passion that even I can’t muster and they hate the parents of those kids worse than Limbaugh.

          • dcdirewolf

            I don’t think that these kids are making anything unlivable. They’re just being teenagers. I think people complain about it because they are uptight and because these particular teenagers are black.

      • Anonymous

        Black, white, or purple polka dots, it’s unacceptable to be groped, shoved, or slapped while walking down the street in Chinatown. Maybe the language people are using here is a bit harsh, but come on, the kind of treatment these kids dole out on a regular basis is frustrating at best and cruel at worst. This has nothing to do with racism, or uppity white people getting their panties in a was about teenagers hanging out while black – this has to do with the frustration of not being able to visit Chinatown without fearing actual physical intimidation or force. It’s happened to me many times, and it will probably happen again.

        Just my $0.02.

        • Dustin

          I’ve been in places with wild, unattended kids who were white, or Asian etc.
          The key is no alternatives, parents wwho are unengaged or overwhelmed. Plus teenagers are going to be crazy under any circumstances. Put this urban crucible on top of that and you get this mess.
          Of course, as bad as it is, are they causing riots and mayhem? No. I’m not excusing it, but they seem to delight in scaring we white people as a sport but not hurting anyone. So who’s playing who?

        • dcdirewolf

          and you are making a mountain out of a molehill. the post was about a fight amongst the teenagers, not groping, slapping, or shoving of tourists. The complaints are about the mere existence of loud groups of black teenagers, nothing more. Like I said, I spend a LOT of time in Chinatown and there is not a problem of violence, there is a PERCEPTION of a violence problem from some folks that stems from seeing crowds of loud, black teens.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for playing the race card. Now move on.

  • RD

    In Chinatown this is called “Saturday night.” (or Friday night)

  • Nick

    Why don’t folks just say, “Black” and admit that’s what scares them? Ghetto, feral… Why hide behind those terms? Just admit that you are scared of black kids. And then think about the rationality of that.

    • Joe

      I agree, I think that if a white person yells at them, it will create a great deal of negative attention in an already tense situation (race removed).

    • neener

      You are living in a total dream world of your own making. Is it nice on your planet? Grow up, some of us aren’t 12.

  • Yeah, I don’t know about that. If I saw 20,30, or 40 white kids in big street brawl or being seriously unruly I would be pretty uneasy about the situation.

    • dcdirewolf

      Go to a movie theater hangout for teens in the suburbs on any given Saturday night and you can find just that . . . minus blog posts about how feral or ghetto they are.

      • ive been going to suburban movie theaters practically my whole life, and ive never seen 20, 30 or 40… heck, even 5 kids involved in a street brawl.

        so what are you talking about?

        • dcdirewolf

          Well, I’ve lived in suburbs before, and on Saturday nights, the movie theaters are filled with groups of twenty, thirty, forty teenagers yelling, shouting, pushing and shoving eachother, making out, etc. Generally being teens. Sometimes they fight. I used to be one of those teenagers.

          • its funny how everyone sees the world through a different lens…

        • lou

          I’ve had that unfortunate experience. I’ve also been to Union Station with packs of white kids from tour buses making nuisances of themselves, pushing and shoving each other and accidentally involving innocent bystanders. And as someone who lived in Fort Lauderdale during the spring break heyday, lemme tell you about ‘feral.’

          My favorite experience with wild packs of white teens was in rural Nebraska. We were traveling through from Iowa to Colorado and found ourselves caught in a traffic jam of kids driving in circles around the local McDonalds and Burger King. That’s all there was to do in that tiny town. They were tossing milkshakes and buckets of soda at each other’s cars (and unfortunately my family).

          I’ve seen a lot of loud, obnoxious teens in Chinatown, but I’ve never been shoved or harassed.

      • neener

        Where? I call BS on this.

        I had two friends who were wild and got into an argument in Montgomery Mall where we held them back, one was arrested by MoCo police and both were banned from the mall for a year and no fists landed.

        I spent a LOT of time in PG County at malls like Beltway Plaza and PG Plaza I never saw this.

        I’ve seen Korean gangs in Springfied, VA and they were definitely looking tough, but never saw anything like this.

        • agreed… dcdirewolf is just making stuff up now.

          • dcdirewolf

            whatever. growing up my suburban mall was filled with rowdy teens on saturday nights and there were sometimes fights. i’ve witnessed rowdy teens multiple times in Bethesda at the movies on Saturday nights. never seen a fight there, but i’m certain it’s happened before.

          • Anonymous

            Tony, that’s the way dcdirewolf rolls, I’m afraid. Go through the archives of the Columbia Heights message board for numerous examples.

        • Neener – There have been shootings around PG Plaza. I used to frequent PG Plaza (The gym used to be in the mall) Friday / Saturday evening it got teen heavy. True I have never witnessed a fight in PG Plaza but I have never seen a fight at gallery place.

        • When I was in college in the early 90s there were more than a few violent crimes in PG Plaza. I seem to remember at least a shooting or two, and a stabbing. At one point my roommate was working in there and it wasn’t a good scene.

          • djdc

            Within the last year my partner witnessed a “girl fight” at PG Plaza during the weekend day. Milkshakes were thrown, hair was yanked out, onlookers were either amused or terrified.

  • LMAO..at Nick’s comment, it is so true though…And to people saying the same thing is a city problem, go to a mall in the suburbs, I see the same stuff at Arundel Mills, and at the regular Movie theater in Silver Spring (Non AFI). I will concede that Chinatown is over crowded with kids, but its no different than pentagon city imo.

  • John

    I rarely voluntarily go out in Chinatown, mainly do to the hordes of disoriented tourists and packs of teens, but I don’t think it’s the war zone that many of these commentators are making it out to be.

    The references to movie theater experiences here are pretty hilarious. No one wants to say “black people talk during movies” so everyone talks in this sort of coded language.

    There’s always E Street Cinema, not too far away.

    • Bryan

      Amen to E Street. Art house theaters are a good place to escape mobs of teenagers, “feral” or not, in any city. Plus, E street cinemas is just kinda awesome!

      • if you want to see a movie about, like, an autistic transvestite traveling across australia and learning to love again.

  • Ward One Resident

    Good lord, this really is a “get off my lawn moment.”

    Like I’m sure many of the posters here, I grew up in the suburbs and where did we all hang out? At the mall, the movies and the McDonald’s parking lot and I’m sure that plenty of the non-teenagers there were none to pleased with how my friends and I all acted (loud talking and yes the occasional fight for who knows what reason). For D.C. kids, Chinatown is their local mall.

  • CK

    Can we stop with the “feral kids” thing? It’s really offensive. Groups of teenagers will congregate, get in trouble, and be loud & unruly.

    Chinatown is basically a big mall. Where did you hang out when you were 14?

    • Anonymous

      Their uncivilized behavior really is pretty close to feral, though. And yes, they are almost all black. There, I said it. Does that make everyone happy?

      • John

        I don’t think these kids are all that different/more uncivilized from the packs of (usually white) kids that you would see at your local mall; there’s just much more of them in Chinatown, which makes sense since it’s so easily accessible from every single metro lines.

  • TJ

    The kids there are obnoxiously loud, unruly and misbehaved. And if someone finds their “just standing there” or walking up and down the block, not shady, they need a reality check and stop thinking that saying anything against that makes them a racist.

    • dcdirewolf

      The “reality” is that groups of black teens aren’t scary to me. Or shady. Or feral. Or war-like. Obnoxious I’ll give you, loud and unruly too. Even misbehaved. Big deal. That’s reality, teenagers are like that.

      Some people around here really want a sterile environment in the city. There are suburbs that offer that. Half the fun of city living is the chaos. It can really be enjoyed and not feared.

      • TJ

        Thank god I was nothing like what you mentioned as a teenager, because if I was, I would have had to face some major disciplinary actions by my folks. Maybe it was respect, probably it was just fear, but I am glad it was there and I didnt turn out like those kids we are talking about, and neither are my kids going to be like that.

        If you think thats normal, then may God Bless America!

      • thanks for nuthin

        Yeah, me and everyone else walking down 16th street last Fall were having a blast as random rocks rained down on the street from the park. I was so thankful for the chaos they were providing! Rocks don’t hurt that bad. Dipshit.

        • Anonymous

          This week, it was iceballs aimed at elderly and women bikers on 14th Street near Columbia Heights Metro…and the kids were probably 8 – 12. While everyone else just passed by to avoid conflict, I said something to the effect of “Stop, that’s not funny”, and got circled by them, told “Do you know who’s block you’re on?”, threatened, cursed at, and then pelted with an ice ball as I walked away. They have NO respect for ANYONE. Their targets had nothing to do with race either. They pelted an elderly black man on a bike. It was disgusting. I had to speak up, I couldn’t just let it go. Yes, they were black and I am white. Does that make me racist?

          • dcdirewolf

            you’re grouping in delinquents committing actual violent acts with teens in gallery place doing none of that. is every black teenager in the city the same to you so you can group them all together, good and bad and in between?

      • Ryu

        dcdirewolf – why did you decide to stop using voiceofreason?

        • Anonymous

          And dcdirewolf, the original topic of this post was teens “committing actual violent acts.” So the grouping is apt.

          You need to get your head out of the sand: Juveniles in this city are coddled more than just about anyone. The criminal laws regarding juveniles in this city are laughably lenient, and the kids who commit crimes know this.

          I guarantee that if any of the kids involved in the fight were caught, they were released that night without any future punishment.

          • dcdirewolf

            Released without future punishment, as they should be. A teen fight on a saturday night should not result in jail time.

  • dreas

    You know, I fully agree with you. I was on my way out to meet up with some friends on Friday night around 8PM and there were a bunch of teenagers around 14th & Park. They were yelling across the street, pushing each other, and generally being pretty obnoxious and oblivious. I actually overhead a couple of different conversations where one person was saying how awful the kids were and the other basically said yeah, they’re teenagers and why would you really expect them to act any other way? Which I found kind of amusing, as I was having that same debate in my head and wondering how many times adults thought the same about me and my friends when we were 16 or 17.

    I also forced myself to question whether my reaction was tinged by the race of the kids and as much as I hated to admit it, I think it was. So I’m going to try to work on that because it’s not right.

    • dreas

      Oops, that was meant as a reply to [email protected]:49

    • neener

      If you told black kids to shape up and act correctly would they listen, do better in school and go to college. If you didn’t tell them to shape up would they fail school, not go to a good college and end up being your employee.

      by allowing the kids to destroy their lives because they’re black, aren’t you perpetuating Jim Crow?

      Because the grandmothers on my block talk like that and yell at these kids so that they’ll go to college and break the cycle of poverty. The kids that get arrested early and get on the straight and narrow early are the kids who make it out of the system. The kids who get arrested as adults for something serious? They get 20 year sentences and their children won’t have money to go to college.

      So ask yourself what you really want- do you want a crime ridden black community that you can exploit or do you want these kids treated the same way you were with the same expectations?

      • dreas

        Neener, I guess I just don’t see that the two alternatives you present have to be mutually exclusive. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about kids – of any race – committing actual crimes. I’m talking about kids being a bit loud and rowdy but not causing harm to anyone. My friends and I were obnoxious at times, I’m sure of it. We skated where there were signs prohibiting skateboarding. There was probably some yelling and play fighting. And we were white as could be and living in the suburbs being 16.

        But you are right that there were expectations for us at the end of the day. We could do all that stuff, but most of us were still expected to do decently in school, graduate, and go on to college.

        I just don’t see how someone having expectations of you means that you can’t ever be out in public acting up a little bit without actually hurting anyone.

        Lastly, accusing me of perpetuating Jim Crow? WTF is your problem?

  • ACc in DC

    Could DC enforce a cerfew or “large group” ban? I am sure it would be difficult to enforce, but I feel like in other cities I have heard of cerfews or bans on groups of more than 10 kids after a certain time if you are under the age of 18. Is this an option?

    • John

      Why is this even necessary? I’ve spent countless hours in Chinatown and never felt particularly unsafe among all these kids, especially with the massive police presence. Does anyone have any hard data? I suspect not.

      Even if DC was able to do something like this, it would just shift the “problem” to PG county.

      • neener

        yay, I want the problem out of my neighborhood, thanks!

    • I read on a post on this blog some months ago that DC has no anti-loitering laws. Apparently some folks tried to get the police to take care of some drug dealing near the 14th street fire station. The police explained that DC has no anti-loitering laws. A later poster explained that the ACLU challenged and won an anti-loitering law in the 70s.

  • Angela


    so, kids will be kids. I don’t mind them about. Even if they are throwing snowballs at me, etc. If we can recall what we did with our free time as teenagers we could find some solutions.

    I pretty much loitered around, went to restaraunts, malls, bowling alleys, movies, etc. There’s not a lot for teenagers to do in this town. the movies and shops thus Chinatown or CH.

    They need entertainment for them in various locations (which will break up the groups). a bowling alley, pool hall, movie theaters. This point is also aligned with a previous post about the district needing more things for people to do besides drink.

    • neener

      Angela are you freaking INSANE???!!!

      When I was a kid in Montgomery County we all went to DC because DC is the center for things to do! and this was like 1984 before Chinatown had anything to do!

      DC HAS MANY MANY THINGS FOR TEENS TO DO! I was on the subway in 2008 where I heard a group of teens making fun od the teens hanging out at Union Station while they went to the Smithsonian’s free jazz nights and exhibits for free. I told them about Millennium Stage which they didn’t know about.

      I cannot fathom anyone saying that DC doesn’t have things for teens, that’s just… have you ever been to another city before?

  • Krssy

    Granted it’s not in the city, but my 17 year old sister (who has her drivers license and could easily drive to the mall) hangs out at home with groups of friends having game and movie nights, with soda, popcorn, chips and pizza. The house is probably a bit bigger, but she’ll have 20 teenagers over while my parents sit in the kitchen reading the paper. What happened to parental/adult supervision? Yes, teenagers can be loud and unruly, but at some point, enough is enough. Packs of 40 teens yelling at each other across the street, chasing each other down and beating each other up is when our society should demand that enough is enough! When does it stop, “Oh, well, they just robbed that store… kids being kids.” “Oh, they just mugged me at gunpoint… kids being kids.” It has nothing to do with race, it has to do with parents taking responsiblity for their children and teaching them what is acceptable. Having fun and being loud and obnoxious is one thing, roaming the streets on weekends getting into fights is a completely different thing.

    • neener

      thank you!

      I know several teenagers on my block who do the same basic thing now- they buy videogames for the PS3 and play them on Friday nights or they watch netflix.

      Finally someone who knows how normal teens act.

  • Los Politico

    You’re just getting called on dumb decisions. Deal

  • Anonymous

    This city needs an anti-feral children law. These little douchegobblers should stay the f*ck home and read a book.

  • VeggieTart

    I don’t go to Chinatown much–usually for a movie or my few-times-a-season splurge of Caps tickets–but I haven’t noticed bands of hooligans there.

    But the talking during movies is one reason I prefer to watch them at home, On Demand, where I can pause the movie to discuss plot points and not have to deal with obnoxious jerks.

  • OP

    I am the original poster of the question.

    I think some people are trying hard to downplay this as “normal teenage behavior”. It was a really scary scene to see a bunch of teenagers chase one person and beat him up like that. They didn’t even know him. They just asked him: “Who you with?” How is this different from animal behavior?
    When I met my friends later, they tolled me that these kids knocked down one my friend’s girlfriend.

    I didn’t realized that this is a common occurrence in Chinatown since I don’t hang out in CT often. I guess it’ll be a while until I go there again.

    • Anonymous

      These dumb kids can beat the crap out of each other all they want, as long as they leave the innocent bystanders alone. If one of them were to lay a hand on my girlfriend, I swear, I’d beat them senseless with the nearest blunt object.

      • GlennBeck

        Right on Anonymous. If we could just get rid of all of these blacks in this city, it would be much more liveable. Hopefully you can carry a gun down there whether they want your girlfriend (likely they dont) or not.

  • Born_here

    BRYAN, I read your comment 22 February 2010 1:05 PM.

    How do you know that the teenagers causing the problems in Chinatown are living in section 8 housing?

    Did you follow them from their homes or just make an assumption based off what you think you know about people living in section 8 housing?

    • neener

      the section 8 housing comment may have been unfair, but I know exactly how people living in section 8 housing act because I’ve met many of them. It’s not what I think I know, it’s what is true that’s the problem. In fact, I think people who talk about the public housing residents as positive members of the community need to go back to Iowa because that is shockingly naive- they are magnets for bad behavior because it’s that same bad behavior that disallows them to get out of poverty in the first place.

      I worked with a woman whose husband took everything and moved out and she was flat broke and she had to move her entire family into her friend’s basement and drive her kids miles to their old school to keep from going into public housing. those going into Section 8 and public housing don’t have the positive behavior down to make even staying in a friend’s basement work. think about it. Would you let your kids stay in section 8 housing? No, of course not- what kind of place would you have to be in to decide that you didn’t care anymore?

      • Born_here

        Are you serious? Where have you met “so many” section 8 tenants? I really dont believe you when you say you’ve met “so many” tenants that you know how “ALL” section 8 tenants behave.

        I’ve lived in section 8 housing in Columbia Heights. The tenants may have some characteristics that you may not be comfortable with so that’s why you judge them all the same instead of as individuals.

        And to answer your question. Yes,I would accept the vouher if it meant my kids had their own home. Do you think stuffing your family in a basement is any better?

  • victoria

    Oh, now you’re playing the \autistic transvestite\ card!

  • anti-GlennBeck

    Nah, GlennBeck, you’re wrong, if we could only get you and your “contributions” off this post.

  • Anon808

    Like others have said, this whole \living in the city, so deal with it\ argument is so thin. There is no excuse for this behavior.
    What happens when one of these kids pushes your visiting grandmother to the floor in attempt to get to their latest ass beating victim? What are you supposed say \Sorry Granny, that’s just city life so suck it up wimp\…
    I’m sure all these apologist will start singing a different tune once something happens to them.


    • im just saying… what you describe is the EXTREME and is VERY rare. Most of the time, it is just big roving packs of kids who are immature and dont worry about their impact on others. If you cant handle that, then thats your problem. maybe you are just afraid… I dont know. no one is saying violence is acceptable, but I am saying that it is rare. Chinatown at 8pm on Saturday night is not dangerous, its just annoying.

      • Jim

        “im just saying… what you describe is the EXTREME and is VERY rare. ”

        It’s not rare enough.

  • Adams Morgan BID

    Chinatown, this is Adams Morgan. We’re willing to offer you a straight up trade, our drunken B&T morons for your rowdy teenagers. Everybody wins here, we get the same behavior on our streets only 2 hours earlier and with less drunk driving, you get way more bar revenue, never mind what they’ll spend on parking since there’s no residential neighborhood for them to clog up instead of paying $10 to park on their way to drink $12 jolly rancher flavored martinis. Also we’re way farther from the Metro, so this plan will help with teen obesity.

    Think it over, I think we can make a deal here. I know you have your own supply of white hats and breast implants over there, but think how much happier they’ll be when there’s new blood in the mix!

  • Garth

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

  • thank you, garth

  • Anonymous

    All of the kids I see behaving badly on the metro, in Columbia Heights and in China town are black. The behave like feral animals, with no sense of boundries. If there were white kids I would say the same thing. If they were latio kids, I would say the same thing. If they were asian kids I would say the same things. I never see kids from other ethnic groups behaving like that. I have seen some pretty tough looking groups hanging out, but never behaving as badley as that.

    Enought with the kids will be kids. There is acting like a juvinile and acting like a freaking rude ass animal. That’s how these kids behave.

    Does that make me a racist? I hope not. Those are simply observations. The thing that worries me is that these kids think this is normal and they are having babies and are teaching them it is normal. There is no place for these people to go. No hope. They are uneducated, ill mannered, without any social skills. They will be relegated to welfare and other governent services for the rest of thier lives.

    • dcdirewolf

      Well, you’ve grouped kids into three races, you’ve reduced badly behaving teens into black badly behaving teens, so I see it as racist. I’m sure you disagree.

      • Anonymous

        does calling someone a racist help the situation?

        • dcdirewolf

          The person directly asked if it made him or her a racist, I assumed he or she wanted an answer.

  • Well, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m 35, and I don’t like roving bands of teenagers anywhere. This is why I refuse to go to Tysons or to movie theaters on weekends or any other place where teens tend to congregate. Was I once one of them? Sure. The really awesome thing about being a grown up though is that I’m not a teenager anymore and I can choose to opt out of being around them now if they bother me (which they do). Does this make me old and uptight? I guess, but I’m too old to care that it does. I’m not trying to be hip or cool or whatever, I’m trying to live a happy, hassle free life and sometimes that means avoiding places and circumstances that make me annoyed.

    So yeah, get off my lawn. Damn skippy.

    All of that said, I went to the movies in Chinatown that first Friday afternoon that folks were back to work after the blizzards, and it was fine. Of course, the kids were in school.

    I could be way off base, but this all seems more generational than racist. I’m cool with being an old fart, just don’t conflate it with racism.

  • Shawn

    I love PoP race threads.


  • So there was no ‘BIG FIGHT’
    “I saw one group of the teens walking to another teen and starting beating him up”

    One thing I think is overlooked. Why does two teens fighting automatically equal ‘teens assaulting each other?’ Could it be a “Good Teen” (wearing hip-hop garb and therefore he looks dangerous) who came with a few bucks from mom and dad to see a movie is defending him/herself from Bad Teen(bully also urbanly attired). The bulk of the teens are there to be seen by girls / guys their age (peacocking?). There is at times bad element there too. In NYC as a teen on the subway I could tell who was hopping on the train to beat people up steal their stuff etc. Most passengers watched helpless teens being assaulted and did not raise an eyebrow. I hated the bullies but figured I had to live with it because the adults would not do anything about.

    I do not like loud teens.
    I know all teens are not criminals, most are not
    I would bet most of the time at Gallery Place teens are preying on other teens and those actual crimes go unreported.

  • not black or white

    wow, I wish more black people could blog and respond to these posts. I wonder what they would say…

    • I can’t tell if you are being funny or if you really think know the race of the posters?

      • dude… we’re all white

  • Amsterdam

    There is a pronounced difference between how these kids act and how I acted back in the day.

    I would be a loud jackass sometimes, but only to my friends or other people in my group. It never got the point where we would yell at innocent bystanders or include them in our affairs. I am sure we annoyed the hell out of them, and that aspect of it I understand and can grudgingly accept, but the fact these kids often confront those not in their “group” is disturbing and takes it to a whole other level.

    It’s funny how we are supposed to accept these kids for who they are, yet I am constantly castigated by them for being a white guy with my wife, a black woman. I hear so much crap it isn’t funny. White people might stare sometimes, but most of them are old and at least they keep their darn mouths shut (at least in this neck of the woods). People need to be held accountable for their crap. There is a lot of racism of low expectations going on on this thread

  • Polo

    Most black teens are no convicted of crimes.

    But most teens convicted of crimes are black.

  • Golden Silence

    I admit I’ve called these kids all sorts of names because I’m not a fan of teens, but “feral”? That is really taking it too far. These kids may be bad as hell, but they’re still human.


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