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Fences Go Back Up at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park

by Prince Of Petworth April 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm 23 Comments

“Dear PoP,

Looks like park and rec recently put fencing back up around the fields in Malcolm X Park. I imagine this is to let the grass grow back, as “team sports” have torn it up pretty good.

My question is, why don’t they put large plant pots, floor beds, etc at varying areas of the field to prevent team sport activities from happening in the first place? There are signs along the park that say no team sports and park police will enforce the rule if they are around, but otherwise we will just end up at this point again after the fencing is removed. I think there should be a couple areas that allow space for soccer and football, but, in other areas, place items that will prevent them from starting and keep the grass growing.”

In happier news it looks like the new bathrooms look close to opening. As someone who walks a lot, public restrooms can be a lifesaver. Of course I hope that park police will have regular patrols to make sure it stays clean.

  • Anonymous

    Was anyone else at Meridian Hill Park today (Sunday) when there was that confrontation with the drum circle? Anyone know what was happening? It seemed as if someone was trying to get the drummers to stop because they didn’t have a permit. The park police were there, but the drummers kept going so I thought it looked like they were on their side.

  • James

    I don’t know what’s so bad about a bunch of homeless people playing drums together on a nice afternoon. I’d rather see them doing that than peeing all over the place.

    • Ragged Dog

      1) I’m ecstatic that our only choices for the homeless are “peeing in public” and “drum circles”.

      2) I think that the park service can just suck it up and and keep re sodding every year. I don’t agree with their position of banning team sports from public parks. “team sports” might imply an organized activity when really it’s a group of friends out kicking a soccer ball around or throwing a football around. In a densely populated area like this, a park needs to be available everyone not just the subset of the population that doesn’t enjoy group activities.

      • James

        1)Here are a few more choices, then: a)Pooping in public b)Passed out drunk c)Panhandling d)Trying to break into Ragged Dog’s Subaru to get the change sitting in the center console

        2)I’m sure they’d love to re-sod every year, but sadly, that’s not in the budget, and the sod should remain undisturbed for a period of time in order to properly take root. This means no ultimate Frisbee or homeless drum circles on it.

        • John

          I know you are just trying to Flame but most in the drum circle are not homeless. I don’t know many homeless people who own drums. But I’ll say I’m sorry homeless people offend you so much. I’m sure they had every opertunity in life that you did but were just deadset on making bad choices and ending up homeless.

          • James

            You must be thinking of some other drum circle. The Malcolm X Park Drum Circle Association is comprised primarily of homeless men. It sounds like you’re the one who has issues with the homeless, not me, padre.

        • John

          Have you ever been to the drum circle? or are you really just full on Troll Douche? And to the yuppies who have moved in and are now complaining about the circle. Consider that its been going on longer than you’ve been alive most likely. http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/music-events/drum-circle,1128195.html

          • James

            You should come out to the drum circle this Sunday afternoon. I say this, because it’s clear from your ignorance about the event and its history, you’ve never been there yourself. But I welcome you to join us. Because on Sunday, instead of sitting around namecalling on the Internet, I’ll be out in the park playing my drum.

        • John

          Translation: “yes I am a straight troll douche.”

          • James

            We know you are. Now go away, please.

        • John

          Translation: “That’s KING troll douch to you ‘Padre'”

  • too loud

    Those drums are really loud. The sound booms off the buildings on 16th street. I know the group has been gathering for years but it really is inappropriate to play that loudly so close to many, many residences.

    • Kevin

      Fixed your post:

      Those drums are really loud. The sound booms off the buildings on 16th street. I know the group has been gathering for years but now I live here and I’d like them to stop.

  • Not DPR

    For the original poster, DPR doesn’t control Meridian Hill Park, it’s the National Park Service…DPR deserves a lot of blame for a lot of things, but not this.

  • Original Poster

    Actually, it really didn’t seem like the city (NPS, police, whatever) was trying to shut them down – it seemed like some guy in a blue polo was and the city/NPS people were actually trying to get him to back off. The guy in the polo was saying something about whether or not they had a permit and eventually the NPS people gave him a piece of paper to read. It didn’t look like a permit and from what I could gather from the conversations, the drummers DO NOT have a permit. I gathered that what was shown to him was a list of rules or something for the park that would demonstrate that a permit was NOT needed for something like the drum circle. Anyway, it did shut him up.

    Also, the drum circle and the grass are really two different things. The drummers were not on the grass. This was my first time going so I am not sure if they normally are, but they were definitely in the paved area.

  • Prince Of Petworth
  • FWIW, I love the drummers – they’re part of what makes this city unique. They are only playing during the day and early evening, so I don’t think there’s really much legitimacy to complaints about sounds – you live in a vibrant, lively city. If you want perfect quiet, move to the suburbs; some of us actually moved here BECAUSE of great activities like that.

    They’re also not homeless people. Anyone saying that has never spent much time there. I suppose a few could be, but the vast majority are people who gather there every week just for the joy of the music.

    Here are some great photos I took of the circle last summer:


  • Talked to NPS

    I spoke with NPS when they were putting up the fences and reseeding the grass. They said the fences would be up for 3 months.

    I think they did this a year or two ago and it seemed like they were up the whole summer. Hope that’s not the case this year.

  • superdude

    The drummers are awesome. I used to live on the Park, and yes, they are loud for a few hours, but it’s during the day, so who cares? Now I live on Columbia Rd and get to hear Latin covers of crap American songs all day and I’d DEFINITELY trade for drum circles.

  • zt

    I’m with RaggedDog.The NPS ought to just accept that the community wants to have a place to play some “team sports”.
    There are lots of places to picnic in the park, amongst the trees, on the terraces, on the grass by the fountains, near the benches, by the stage, on the promenade, or near the monuments. About 20-30% of the space is fit for group sports. Given that there is so little space for that in Ward 1 this seems like an excellent use. The sports-players help keep the park safe by their very presence and desrve to use it just as much as anyone else.

    The NPS has been in denial about the community interest in sports playing for year. They could do several things that would be more productive than this denial:
    *use a turf mix designed to hold up for sports (adding some Kentucky Blue Grass into the seeding mix would be a good start)
    *switching some of the space to nextturf would be a long-term capital solution
    *providing a limited use for sports which was well enforced would be a good alternative

    This is mostly an issue because NPS controls the park. The park should be co-managed by Parks and People. They’d work with the community and make much better use of it.

  • TrueDat

    I haven’t been around long (just over a year) but I frequent this park since I live nearby. It’s a lovely, lovely place and what it badly needs is a benefactor with a trust fund who wants it to be just a touch nicer. I wrote to the folks who manage the park and asked about the fences, the groundskeeper in charge of it gave the response I expected: it’s his duty to keep the grass in decent shape for all to enjoy, etc. I wrote back and asked the same question– why not plant some flowers or other plants if you’d like to prevent larger-scale team sports? No answer.

    Any rich folks out there want to throw down some cash, get the park to plant some flowers or bushes to discourage larger groups from over-using the main field? In exchange, you’ll get a gate or a statute or something named after you.

    • The Rickster

      You’d think that wouldn’t be hard to find. This city is crawling with trust fund babies.

  • Maryanne Burgos

    What time does the drum circle meet in June?


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