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Friday Question of the Day – “Do Our Neighborhoods Offer Enough Things To Do?”

by Prince Of Petworth February 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm 91 Comments


“Dear PoP,

I work on public health policy and am seeing a trend across the nation that is especially obvious in DC. It is getting harder to find things to DO. The new development is always focused on condos, bars, and restaurants. Love to live in a home, and am a huge fan of drinking and eating . . . but people need something to do. There is this notion that going to the gym and getting on a machine or lifting heavy items with an ipod on is the only activity that people need. It is not a winning strategy for building a happy healthy society.

Look around– where are the bowling alleys, arcades with skeeball and air hockey and foosball, driving ranges, live music venues with dancing . . . etc.? Where are the racquetball courts? Nobody works 9-5 anymore . . . and when people get home at 7, there are no lights in the parks (or they are just scary). There are gyms with basketball/volleyball courts in every school in DC, but they are chained up at night. Once-a-year street fairs are nice, but having places where people can consistently go to find a band and a dancing mass is better. (Love Madam’s Organ and Wonderland for that but such places are oddly few and far between)

We need to make sure there are fun things to do in every community– things that lure people out away from their TVs and computers, that bring them together to meet each other, and use their bodies in some way besides eating and drinking. People seem to be yearning for it. Look at the popularity of H St. Country Club and Comet Ping Pong– goofy fun. Look how much people are willing to pay to bowl at that crappy place in Chinatown. How can there not be a reasonable bowling alley in a city this size? I know we can find a spot for one in the GaP. The good DC tennis courts (like Howard/Banneker) are packed all day until the dusk . . . why not put in some lights, and maybe with a pay-meter to defray the costs?”

What do you guys think – are there enough “things” to do in our neighborhoods (especially at night)?

  • Volunteer. There are TONS of fun volunteer opportunities that allow you to exercise your body (Casey Trees), your mind (tutor), or your skills as a mentor (Big Bro/Sis). A win/win for all involved!

    • ugh. volunteering is so boring though!

  • T

    I think there are very few things to do in our neighborhood.
    Just like the poster said, besides eating or drinking what else is there to do around here?


    Volunteering is an excellent idea Volunteer. I too spend to much time on my 2 computers and watching my 20 inch flat screen television. LOL

    I don’t drink beer or alcohol and I don’t like eating out, because too many people are not clean handling food.



    Volunteering is an excellent idea Volunteer. I too spend to much time on my 2 computers and watching my 40 inch Samsung flat screen television. LOL

    • The Creeper

      Ha ha what’s your address and when are you not home?

  • Bored Inside

    Outdoor and indoor hockey rinks. Better baseball parks. Batting cages (plenty of space in the Clark Elementary field for at least a practice pitching mound if not a full scale batting cage. Should have flooded an area there this winter to play hockey. Need some outdoor lights too). Open source media labs. Shared cooking studios. Shooting range, if only paintballs. Climbing walls. Video, Photography, and Modeling Contests. Community Dog Baths. Community Steam Baths. Stained Glass and Woodworking Studios. Ah well, sigh, just read PoP and be happy…….

    • Petworthian

      Clark Elementary will soon be reoccupied by 3 and 4-year-old preschoolers, an extension of E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. Yay but boo, all their school open houses are at night or on weekends, what don’t they want us to see?

  • Eric

    Bloomingdale offers little. There is like nothing here.

  • Molly

    whatever, uptalker.

  • westminster

    lately i can’t tell for sure if the machines control anyone

  • Molly

    they only control you.

  • Sg

    Is this person serious? This is such a walkable, runnable (?), city with tons of things to do. There are also an unbelievable amount of gyms, yoga studios, etc… tons of parks and park space. I feel like this is just whining for whining’s sake, or just a bad bout of cabin fever. I’m thinking it’s mostly the latter.

    Some people just don’t know or truly see what’s right under their noses. Or they want it spoonfed. Also, the city doesn’t make the space or infrastructure to make this a playhouse for every man woman and child’s whims. Maybe if the tax base grows infinitely, but these things take time, lots of money, etc.

    • celedon

      Where do you live?

  • DCster

    I love playing tennis under the lights at the Adams Morgan courts. Though many courts are in need of night-time lighting. I believe the skating rink at the Smithsonian is still up and running too. And there’s always parkour for the more adventurous out there (though I’ve only seen skateboarders).

  • graham

    Wow, I’m also surprised that you can’t find enough to do. For starters, there’s so much live music around that I have to try to limit myself to seeing two shows a week. Velvet Lounge, DC9, 9:30 club, Black Cat, Bossa, BloomBars, Asylum, Fridge, Red and the Black, Rock and Roll Hotel … and there are more. (And I don’t even like jazz. There seems to be tons of that around, too.)

    Like movies? They’re all over the place, and tons of them are free, too. DCist gives you a nice sampling every week.

    Also, I’m glad someone mentioned volunteering. It’s really just straight up fun, in addition to being a valuable way to spend your time.

  • Leo

    It does seem to me that developers and city officials are focused primarily on getting people to shop, shop, shop and then eat and then shop some more. Having lived in both Germany and Japan there is a difference in urban life. There are game centers, snooker/pool halls, proper riverside promenades with snack stands and lots of seating, riverside “beachclubs” open all night with music and dancing. City parks are open quite late with lit fountains and play areas for kids and families the parks also usually have a formal garden area to enjoy and in the case of Germany frequently a beer garden.

  • I think part of the problem is, once again, neighborhood NIMBY opposition to the types of entertainment venues suggested here. Weren’t an ice rink and movie theaters initially proposed as part of the Columbia Heights redevelopment plan? Can you imagine how the old-time Cleveland Park residents would react if someone tried to open a bowling alley or open-air beer garden? While there are a ton of free, fun things to do downtown and lots of parks in DC, it would be nice to have a few more interactive entertainment options in the residential neighborhoods. In Columbia Heights, of course the Tivoli Theater and a couple of others showed movies every night, and there was The Arcade where DCUSA is now. the upper floors of the Arcade had bowling, a dance floor, and other entertainment options, so it would be nice to have something like that today.

    • Tatiana

      It would be great to have it at that same space too. However, it could get pricey. Maybe something a bit up north? I think it’s a fantastic idea.

  • NAB

    Most people in the US live in much, much less interesting neighborhoods, and usually it’s only their teenage kids complaining about how boring it is.

  • Chuck

    How can anyone be bored living in DC? Go to the midwest and try to find half of what we have (I grew up out there). World-class museums, restaurants, theaters, live music, dancing, shopping, insane amounts of green space – if you’re bored in DC, you’re not trying. Summer brings the movies on the Nat’l Mall and music in Tenleytown. Spring brings the Cherry Blossom Festival. Any given weekend between April and October is likely to see Penn Ave. blocked off for some sort of festival. Good god, how I’d love to have a weekend to do nothing!

    • Anonymous

      comparing dc to the mid west is weak. what if you’re from new york, or london, or paris, or LA, or Seattle, or Chicago, or Hong Kong, or any other large culturally rich city in this big world. then the offerings could seem slim. DC is small to many people.

      still, for me, i can’t imagine being bored anywhere i live.

  • H

    what about all the (free) museums? (open during the day) art galleries? (open in the evenings?) also, there are lots of places in this city where you can take language courses, ceramics, cooking, etc. there are tons of things to do in this city! spring please come soon

  • I can understand what the original poster is saying. I love to bowl but there is no way I’m going to Gallery Place to do it. It’s way too expensive for what is essentially a blue-collar sport. Now I just stick to my Wii and bowl there; it’s much cheaper. I think in-home entertainment has replaced a lot of the community entertainment that at one time existed.

  • Alex

    Please someone correct me if this is the wrong impression, but I get the feeling that the reasons we don’t have things like bowling alleys and these game halls are 1) lack of space and 2) existing space being prohibitively expensive inexpensive ventures.

    • I’m with you, Alex. To be competitive, each bowling lane would need to bring in the same revenue as a couple dozen dining tables or a 50′ bar. Hence Lucky Strike’s prices. I think bowling allies are most feasible in the kinds of places you already find them: Falls Church, Bethesda, and Hyattsville. There are great, cheap lanes at Ft. Myer, too.

      Skeeball, air hockey, foosball are in the bars, as the OP observed. Don’t forgot Rocket Bar, though it smells like old kegs. Dave & Busters is another option if you want to be the only “urban” person in the joint. Video arcades need an a secondary motivator, such as alcohol, to draw people in because everyone who’s into gaming has their own right at home.

      Driving ranges and golf courses are surprisingly available given the amount of space they consume. Hains Point and Rock Creek are both on well-served bus lines. Several hotels in town boast indoor driving ranges. While on sports, don’t forget the several hundred sports teams that play in the shadows of the monuments and elsewhere around town. There’s softball, flag football, soccer, kickball, ultimate frisbee, and basketball to name a few. There are indoor sports complexes, as well.

      I’m quite surprised that it took 15 posts before someone mentioned the museums. People from the rest of the country and world marvel at the wealth of museums in DC. And many are FREE! We are truly spoiled when it comes to cultural and educational resources. Myself included. I don’t take advantage of the museums nearly as much as I should.

      Music was well covered by graham. There is also plenty of theater, art and film festivals, street festivals, dance lessons, adult education, cooking classes, walking tours, building tours (e.g. Library of Congress), book clubs, interest groups, scavenger hunts… Need me to keep going?

      I agree with the bored teenager analogy. It also sounds like the OP substituted “do” for “play.” Lots of games does not a great city make, but still there are opportunities to play everywhere around us.

      Perhaps the problem is that the OP implies that a city of this size should be able to offer a perfect cross section of activities in the neighborhood immediately surrounding his or her house. That is simply not practical. When a large city offers a wealth of resources, its residents sometimes have to GO somewhere to take advantage of them. It’s hard, I know. Fortunately, the city thought of that and put an expansive public transportation system in place, including the 2nd largest subway system in the country and a phone/internet-based system that tells you when the next bus will come by to take you where you want to go. Maybe the next mayor can work on a transportation system that brings all the activities to you.

      • Anonymous

        What bus are you taking to Haines Point?

        • DCster

          The 52 bus gets you pretty close to Haines Point (12th and Maryland Ave, SW) – you still have to walk across 14th Street bridge, but it’s not impossible. I don’t think there’s a bus that stops in Haines Point unfortunately, but I could be wrong.

  • ShermanAveGuy

    First of all, plenty of people still work 9-5, especially with all of the government employees in this town.

    Second, regarding things to do, there is so much to do in this town. Besides the obvious free museums downtown, you can go for walks, go for hikes, go to the parks for frisbee, soccer, picnics, etc.(sun goes down early in winter, but the days are getting longer already, and soon we’ll be back to 8 pm sunsets), or take the metro to any number of recreational businesses in the area.

    Lastly, if you think people would pay to do any of the activities you mentioned, then open the business yourself. If there’s a market for it, it will prosper.

    • Anonymous

      I am a government worker who generally works from about 7:30 am to well past 7 pm most days, takes calls from west coast clients well into the night, and often works weekends and holidays. Many of my peers work similar hours. This myth of the 9-5 government worker is just that– a myth, at least in the DC area. The only people working 8-5 (not 9-5)in my office are the administrative staff (secretaries and support staff).

  • Chris in Eckington

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned theater here. DC is second only to New York when it comes to its theater scene.

    As for bowling, there’s a bowling alley at the top of the student center at GW (used to be called the Marvin Center, not sure anymore) that used to be pretty much open to anyone. Unfortunately, they no longer serve beer. Also, Bolling AFB in SE has a bowling alley. You just have to find someone with DoD ID card to get you on base (and it’s dirt cheap.)

    • Brooklander

      Actually, Minneapolis has more theater seats per capita than any other city besides New York.

      • Maybe DC is #2 to NYC when you compare total theater seats, or number of productions per year, or stage actors per capita, or tickets sales per capita, or theater director salaries, or total stage area… Facts can be so tricky sometimes.

  • Tree Spoonduck

    Wow, this guy/gal does not know how the internet works.

    Step 1: (Enter interest/hobby in search bar)
    Step 2: (Type “in Washington, D.C.)
    Step 3: Search

  • M

    “Things” to do in our neighborhoods? Are you serious? We live in a small city with lack of space, with exisiting space being extremely expensive. Might I also remind you that most of our neighborhoods are residential, meaning there are people with children, and there are elderly. Not many of us would want an establishment like that in the ‘hood. And an arcade usually doesn’t bring in the big bucks, especially if you’ve ever looked into how much leases and rents are in this city.

    Has this person every read the City Paper, or explored different neighborhoods for “things” to do? We can’t have everything right down the street from our houses, and if we wanted that, then we should have thought twice about moving into a small city.

    If this person, or anyone else hasn’t realized yet, there are PLENTY of wonderful and fun things to do in this city if you’re willing to get off your ass and walk to the metro, or take the bus. You want to play tennis, try to find some courts that are empty, or get to the one you want earlier… do some research. Ever tried looking into Takoma Park’s Sligo Creek tennis courts? Want dancing? Ever tried Glen Echo? Live music? Kennedy Center, U Street, any of the Smithsonians, bars, etc. Arcades? H St! Air hockey? Are you serious? Go to any college dorm room in this city, and you’ll find a pool table or air hockey table. Google pool halls in dc! Bowling? Did you know that GW has a bowling alley? There is also a DuckPin alley up in College Park. And I cannot believe this person would ask that about a driving range. Just be creative in your research! You might have to metro/bus/zipcar, but the city has what you want… it just might not be 3 blocks from your house.

    And I am so glad that someone also mentioned volunteering.

    I impression I get from this person (cabin fever), and from some of these commenters (and from looking at where our culture is headed) is that we have become lazy pieces of shit who don’t want to stray too far from our houses.

  • Ryu

    OP has to be joking right? DC has more fun stuff to do than any other city in the US save NY, LA, SF, New Orleans, Vegas, and Chicago (and even then an argument can be made). Perhaps nostalgia is giving you a rose colored view of the past or at least blinding you to what’s going on right now.

  • I’ve got a good activity for all of you: Shoveling snow! Or are you all too cool and/or lazy for that?

  • Dirty

    Now you want the government to help you find things to do? You are the exact reason our public policy is so misguided. Public policy can’t adapt at the pace of the real world to follow trends, fads, innovation, etc…

    The reason many things don’t exist in the city is profitability based on land/rent value, taxes and the hurdles you need to jump through to start something. Where would you put a bowling alley so lots of people could get to it using mass transit? Near a metro station? Right where land is most expensive and where people want to live/work/eat/workout. Now go open a bowling alley in some inaccessible corner in NE… and watch yourself shut the doors because no one knows its there, its a pain in the ass to get to and people predominately bowl on Friday and Saturday nights. Sure, there is league play, but you don’t necessarily open a “BA” and have 5 or 10 leagues knocking on your door to sign up.

    Here’s an idea for your public policy conundrum… try and open a business you would give people “something to do”

  • toes

    There are many many things to do in this city…free lectures, free movies, free museums, free classes and that’s just the free stuff. And remember DC is pretty unique in all the free stuff that is offered because of all the National museums here and Fed. government programs. As pointed out by others, there is live music nights…maybe not what you want to hear at any given moment but they are there. Yes there is no longer a “cheap” bowling alley in DC, used to be one in Silver Spring, but that is the state of bowling…it at one time was a cheap sport but it has been eclipsed by TV, Wii and video games. However, if you have the gumption and maybe a car or Zip Car, try duck pin bowling…it is much hard and very unique to this area. You can build model rockets and shoot them off in local parks or at the NASA Ceneter in Beltsville. Or take art classes at the Corcoran, language classes at USGA, or Goethe Institute. There are sporting facilities like the new Takoma pool and of course pay for gyms but they are there. Arcades offering foosball, ping pong, skeeball, pinball, etc. have been made pretty much obsolete by home entertainment systems so kiss those days goodbye…unless of course you are at Ocean City for the weekend. The main thing in my thinking is that it seems that people have developed this “I want everything here, near me, on my block , in my neighborhood” mentality. This is a city…use all of it and yes, you do not need a car to get there.

  • OB Rider

    One of the best areas for paddling.

    • Amen. Some countries send their olympic kayak hopefuls to DC to train. A few great spots are inside the Beltway, too!

  • victoria

    I agree there are lots of things to do here – but I think the original poster was longing more for the “public square” idea – something cities in most of the rest of the world offer and we just don’t have. A place to gather spontaneously for all sorts of people, stroll, play – perhaps with cafes, or at least vendors, musicians, maybe an artist or two.

    The closest we come is Dupont Circle. Columbia Heights Plaza was an excellent opportunity to make such a place but was sadly squandered because of poor design.

    • Ragged Dog

      Sounds like the poster is lonely and needs a hug.

    • Anonymous

      And that giant expanse between the Capitol and the Washington Monument known as “the Mall”

  • Stephanie

    Since skeeball is mentioned (and pictured) I would like to give a shout out to my friend Rob who started a skeeball club http://unitedskeeball.com/.

    There you can find places to play skeeball in DC. One is even as close as 7th street. Good Golly!

  • JW

    Has anyone ever gone to the roller skating rink in Temple Hills? They claim to be right off the green line.

    They have an adult night Thursday nights and I have been curious as to what it was like.

    Anyone up for a POP roller skating party!!

  • Matt G

    Like my grandma always said, “If you’re bored, its because you’re boring.”

    • LJG

      Matt G…if there was a “like” button…I would click it for this comment! So true…

  • Columbia Heights Boy

    I agree with the comment above, why do people need to be spoonfed activities?! There are tennis courts, and amateur sports teams and pools in the summer. There is walking and bike riding (though I’m personally afraid to get on one in this city) all around. We have the freaking national Mall which can take up a full day to explore easily. There are TONS of clubs and bars you can go to dance at. If people aren’t active it’s because they are boring, lazy, or have health problems.

  • There are 3 golf courses, with 2 driving ranges within the city limits. There’s also an indoor golf simulator within the city limits.

    And, the assertion the OP makes about no live music and dancing is surely a joke, right?

    I’m certain, were I inclined, that I could use the google and find examples of everything he and the other poster who listed all the things DC is supposedly lacking, inside the Beltway, if not within the city limits.

    Is it that you want these activities to be free? Or that you want them in YOUR neighborhood? I really am kind of stumped as to what your expectations are.

  • Okay, I just flipped to my own blog, and apparently you can learn beekeeping in the city, too! http://www.thehillishome.com/2010/02/learn-beekeeping-at-sherwood-rec/

  • JTS

    Bicycles? The Capital Crescent Trail and the (soon to be completed) Metropolitan Branch Trail are two of the best urban bike/ped trails in the country. This is not to mention the immensely great Mount Vernon Trail and Oxon Hill Trail. Or the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Or the C&O canal.

    Or, if trails aren’t your thing, spend an afternoon meandering through the midcity neighborhoods between dupont and Ledroit park. Wonderful urban neighborhoods that look great from the seat of a bike.

    Don’t want to fork over the cash for a bike? 40 dollars a year gets you access to SmartbikeDC, which remains the only true bikeshare program in america, and as of this summer will feature 100 stations and 1000 bikes spread out throughout the city. Hop on one in Petworth and head down to georgetown, where you can have a picnic on the river. Or take one to Eastern Market and peruse the works of local artists and farmers. Go check out the rollergirls do their thing. Maybe spend a sunday afternoon with a good book on Meridian hill, then dance to the beats of the drum circle well into the evening before heading to adams morgan for a taco.

    This is a truly great city that suffers abhorrent winters. This is a post that isn’t bemoaning DC; it’s bemoaning this unprecedented winter. We’ll all be there soon! PoP party to celebrate?

  • oh man… in Tokyo they have these amazing bowling alleys… they are like 6-7 floors including several floors of just bowling lanes. Believe me… the retail space in Tokyo is much more expensive than here… so I don’t buy the “its too expensive” argument. Americans just don’t like bowling.

    also… there are definitely two, and i think maybe three great driving ranges in DC. Haines Point especially. they have covered heated driving ranges…

    • Dirty

      Maybe Americans don’t like bowling as much as the Japanese… but expensive is a matter of relativity. If it costs you $25k a month to operate a bowling alley, and that yields $20k in revenue… that’s too expensive. Obviously, in Tokyo there is greater demand for said bowling, so while rental rates may be “more expensive”, there is enough demand to justify the cost. Therefore bowling alleys are not prevalent in DC proper because “its too expensive” to remain profitable…

      • which was my point. bowling alleys are dying out across the U.S. because of general lack of interest. its not a problem with DC.

  • toes

    “I agree there are lots of things to do here – but I think the original poster was longing more for the “public square” idea – something cities in most of the rest of the world offer and we just don’t have.”

    —uh, well, there is the Nat. Gal. Sculpture Garden,
    Dupont Cir., like you mentioned, The National Mall, Dunbarton Oakes, The Nat. Cathedral (personally that garden there is probably my favorite spot in all of DC…especially in the early summer, late spring it is INCREDIBLE!), Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park, Eastern Market…uh, well, also that big big thing in the middle of the city Rock Creek Park…uh, Nat. Zoo…National Arboretum…

    Dig this – why in the world are folks so down on DC! Why do folks constantly make outlandish comparisons to other cities, foreign and domestic…DC is DC. You don’t like it, leave. You like it? stay. Get tired of it? Leave, maybe come back. I have lived overseas and in other cities. I like DC quite a bit. Some things blow, some things rock, some things are just so so. But darn it, stop comparing it to others like it’s not a real city…it is, one of the longest established in the US.And whether you like it or not, it is the Capital of the USA…no other city ANYWHERE can make that claim.

    • victoria

      Those are all wonderful lovely parks and gardens – but not plazas (though Sunday afternoons in Meridian Hill come close. Why are you so negative to the idea of loving a place and still trying to make it better? “Love it or leave it” has become all too common and tiresome here.

  • K St.

    There is a ton to do in this town. Play kickball or softball on the mall, go dancing or listen to live music on U Street or in Adams Morgan, all of the various evening activities surrounding the Smithsonian and other museums downtown the list goes on and on and on.

    Are these things located in residential neighborhoods like Petworth or Capitol Hill, no they are not, but that is because they are RESIDENTIAL neighborhoods. If you’re willing to travel more than 5 blocks from your front door there is an amazing array of things to do in our great city, I only wish I had time to do more of them…

  • Winter

    It’s frustrating that everyone disagreeing with this post isn’t answering the real question here – what do you do after work when it’s dark, the weather sucks, and you don’t want to sit on your ass? I sit at work all day and sometimes the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit through a movie, lecture, etc. Really, can anyone provide suggestions for interactive weeknight activities in the winter?

    • Yes, because we all have the same interests, preferences and ideas of what constitutes fun. If you need other people to help you figure that out, you’ve got bigger problems then what to do at night in the winter.

    • not bored

      dancing classes, martial arts, join the YM(W)CA, Museums, Art Openings, book club, singles gatherings, use your imagination. Do you really need someone to tell you what to do in the winter?

    • ShermanAveGuy

      If it’s raining or snowing outside, buy a board-game. Have a game night.

      Go to the (shopping) mall and shop. We all need to buy things from time to time. Do it when it’s miserable outside. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to window shop and it’ll be good for your to move your legs and walk around.

      Go to the gym. You don’t have to sit on a machine. You can do rock climbing, yoga, dance classes, etc.

      There is SO much to do.

    • covered heated driving range at Haines Point… i keep going back to that because it was specifically stated that there weren’t any.

      • Agreed. And indoor golf simulator on Capitol Hill! http://www.capitolhillgolf.com/index.html

        • Nichole… is this place legit? It’s in some dude’s row house? do you know anything about it?

          • I don’t know much about it; I’ve read articles about this guy though, and it seems okay. I’ve never been though and I don’t know anyone who’s made time to go though, but I’m super curious. I think it’s worth looking into though – I’ll keep you posted on what I find out!

  • da doo run run

    “I work on public health policy and am seeing a trend across the nation that is especially obvious in DC. It is getting harder to find things to DO.”
    –Sounds like the famous national Nothing to Do study, sponsored by the Bored Teenagers of America.

    “There is this notion that going to the gym and getting on a machine or lifting heavy items with an ipod on is the only activity that people need.”
    –Yeah, people go to the gym because they like going to the gym. Just like they join a kickball league because they like kickball. You might want to get out of the apartment once in a while.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t read any of the comments above, so I’m sure this has been said, but this guy is a f***ing idiot. Join an indoor volleyball or basketball league (there are several of each). Go to an effin musuem. Use one of the many new bike lanes to bike. You, sir, are a wilfully ignorant f***ing idiot.

  • yogi

    The problem is nobody goes to the fun places anymore. they’re too crowded.

  • Ragged Dog

    So, the Co HilL Results has squash courts and I’m sure there are others around town.

    However…there’s a point to be made about unused school space…the DCPS could rent out their gym space for a mint to adult leagues if they so chose. They could more than cover the costs of administering them after hours and have enough money to keep them pristine and funnel the excess back into the school facilities.

    • OB Rider

      I play indoor soccer at Cardoza. I am really hoping the money they get from the league goes to repainting their purple walls.

      • Anonymous

        I’m with you on underutilized gym space at schools. Private schools in the area, which need the money far less, routinely rent out their gyms for about $100/hr. A school could buy a lot of basketball uniforms, band instruments, computers, or textbooks, figuring a decent high school gym probably could be rented out a minimum of 12 hrs. a week at that rate, or more if it were opened on weekends.

  • i don’t get it.

    i don’t see the problem with wishing for more things to do in one’s neighborhood or why people are attackign the OP.
    i live in bloomingdale and there aint much here. it would be nice for things to be within blocks.

    and space? tons and tons of empty space.
    is that really a horrible thing to desire?

    • But then why did you choose to live in a neighborhood that, to your mind, doesn’t have much to do? Why didn’t you choose to live closer to things you like to do, if that was important to you?

      • i don’t get it

        i can play with your question, though frankly it’s irrelevant. do you accept everything as it is? do you wish for a stagnant city? i don’t and i can always envision better. i love bloomingdale, but i do wish for more. and if it didn’t change at all, i’d still be happy.

        but anyway, i live here because i wanted a house so i could have a studio and it’s the closest place to where i worked and play that i could afford.

        • Anonymous

          Of course, if there was more to do, then the next person that came along would no longer be able to afford it. This isn’t even chicken & egg, the reason you were able to afford everything you wanted was precisely because there “aint much here.”

    • ok

      Nothing wrong with wishing for more but the OP said it was getting harder to find things to do and that is certainly not the case in DC. They may not all be available in your neighborhood but the OP wrote,
      “Look around– where are the bowling alleys, arcades with skeeball and air hockey and foosball, driving ranges, live music venues with dancing…etc.? Where are the racquetball courts?”
      These are certainly possible but probably not going to open in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

  • i don’t get it.

    well damn, am i the only one that thinks OP has made good points and suggestions? ya’ll wanna focus on the negative and bash the dude, but i like what he said.

    open up dc public school gyms for the public usage at night?
    lights in the parks?
    pay per use lights at tennis courts?

    a racquetball court?

    awesome suggestions!

    anyway OP, other may think you’re an ass, but i liked your thoughts. anything that keeps dc moving and striving is good in my book.

  • anonymous

    Right on top of Bloomingdale is the huge DC reservoir and that giant wasteland next to it. There is talk of devlopment, so maybe something COULD happen right “in the middle of a residential neighborhood.” Perhaps we could urge the City not just to put up condos and retail, but preserve some space and put up some lights for people to play, or use permitting and licensure to encourage activity-oriented businesses to come in.

    Ditto for the Walter Reeve space, and other areas of development around the city.

    Cap Crescent loop is fabulous on a bike, but one leg is likely to get shut down for metro. Need to let DC and MD know that it is something we value.

    We have paid for the gyms and playgrounds at our city schools. It would be great to be able to use them, especially if it could generate added revenues for the schools.

    There are restaurants folding and condos sitting on the market, while the places where there are fun things to do are packed. Seems we could plan for a little less of the former and more of the latter in the future.

  • paully


    Interesting book from 2000 about this idea of the decline of community.

  • Anonymous

    The number of bowling alleys in a city is inversely related to the health of the regions economy.

    Translation: bowling alleys are signals that poor people live nearby.

    what 700k condo owner wants that?

  • PW neighbor

    I agree with above, there are many opportuniteis to volunteer. By making it a part of your weekly schedule to can help the organization out immensly. If you like animals and want to be outside then try the Washington Humane Socitey. You can play with the dogs inside or take them for walks. Instead of complaining just find something to do!

  • East Bethesda

    The OP is probably just rationalizing his unwillingness to get out of the house and get some exercise. Dude is probably as big as a house. He should get to the gym.

  • celedon

    wow. just wow.

  • Jay’O

    God the way everyone jumps on anyone with the balls to critize DC a little. I’ve lived here for nearly ten years and I like it a lot, but it’s not perfect. In big cities, there are more varied opportunities for rec. What I think is happening is that many people that defend DC do it out of a protective instinct as they begin to feel it’s home. But eventually it really becomes home and then you’re secure enough to critize the negative parts and not feel like you’re betrying the place. For many of the 20-30 somthings on the blog this might be hard to understand as they’ve probably not been here long enough to get to this point yet.

    • I’ve lived here for nearly 18 yrs now, and there are many, many, many things to criticize about DC. Not having things to do is not one of them.

      I think the larger issue here (and what most of the commenters are responding to) is that if someone is complaining about there not being enough to do, it’s got very little to do with anything other than the person doing the complaining.

      Maybe s/he moved to a neighborhood incompatible with his/her wants/needs. Maybe s/he’s in a rut and this is little more than classic navel gazing. Maybe this person has only just finished undergrad and is going through withdrawl from having their entire world pre-fabbed for them on campus. Who knows? But to claim that there isn’t enough to do here is insane, when all of the examples the OP cites as lacking can easily be found inside the Beltway (if not inside the District and/or easily metro accessible) with a little googling.

  • PT Varnum

    There’s plenty to do on Georgia Ave. Just look at the crime reports!

  • Anonymous

    there is a lot to read here… so this may or may not have been said, but worth repeating – there a lots of great trivia nights. yes at bars, but if you are looking for a non-drinking activity – order a burger.

  • Anonymous

    I vaguely remembered that a bowling alley was one of the things that was rumored to go into DC USA back in the day and so I googled it. See: http://www.dcch.org/html/hcdd_commercial.html

  • NO! We need more! My neighborhood, Cleveland Park, has Atomic Billiards, and it’s great. Always fun to grab a couple beers and play some shuffle board and pool. Bring more to DC!


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