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New Series – You Know You’re Old School DC When

by Prince Of Petworth February 7, 2017 at 10:05 pm 97 Comments

old school

You got all numbers baby!!

If you have old school examples – email [email protected] thanks.

  • QRS

    When you don’t call Adams Morgan “AdMo”.

    • AMDCer


    • textdoc


      • Newtonian

        Or Columbia Heights “CoHi.”

  • Tom

    You hail a Virginia-licensed taxi in D.C. with two fingers in a V shape to show you’re going to Virginia.

  • pcat

    When you remember U St BEFORE the riots.

  • Cleetus

    You still know where the taxi zone borders are and instinctively still ask drivers to let you off a block before crossing one.

    • hahaha totally forgot about that – great one!!

    • Hill Denizen

      That’s not super old school. I’ve been here for nine years and had quite some time under the zone system. Drop me off on 2nd Street please!

    • Colhi

      Ha, I always cross Florida Ave!

  • MadMax

    You remember when people spent more time indoors than outside at H Street Fest.

    • Rd


    • hma

      Going out to H st required coordination with a cab driver to come back to pick you up.

  • Elconejo

    you remember half street when it was for lap dances and rolling on E instead of ball games.

    • hma


  • Anonymous

    You double-park your car next to an empty parking space.

    • dcborn

      Virginia and Maryland drivers still do this daily.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, because that’s how they learned to do it when they lived in DC.

    • KY Ave

      Old school? That is still a signature trait of DC. When the Mint was polling for what should be on the DC “state” quarter, I thought it should be a chicken bone, a used condom, and a car double-parked in front of an empty space.

  • ah

    BTW, it looks like the city is reissuing these plates as new – I’ve seen a bunch of 6-number plates but in the Tw/oR phrase, numbers that aren’t raised, and generally don’t look old, rusted, and faded.

    but maybe some lucky folks are getting old-school numbers that have otherwise gone out of use?

    • I think they are just reissues for folks that already had them. New ones are still in the letter series – we’re almost up to G!

      • Tom

        Almost! I saved a nice older Civic from the scrap yard a few months ago, tagged Oct. 3 and got an FH XXXX plate.

        • No I mean if you already have the plate and buy a new car I think you transfer your old plate to it.

        • anon

          I got an FK last month.

          • kapitolhill

            It’s still FK (was in there yesterday morning)

      • Anonymous

        They recently asked residents with the older plates (six numbers) to trade them in for new ones with the same number. The letter from the DMV stated that many of the older plates were worn out and weren’t as easily read. The DMV in SW was open for several days when it was closed for all other business so residents can come in and efficiently swap out the plates (a very well run operation). As you might expect, most of the people swapping out plates were older, and they had DMV employees there to put the plates on the car for those who drove down. I took the Metro and had the dealership where I bought the car swap it out.
        I happened to like the older style, which had raised numbers, but if one didn’t swap them out, there was the possibility of being ticketed if the numbers weren’t legible. Yes, the plates can be transferred to a new car.

        • textdoc

          I remember circa 2001 or 2002 trying to figure out why some of the D.C. license plates looked fake to me… and eventually realized it was because the letters/numbers on the newer plates weren’t raised, unlike on other states’ plates.

  • Blithe

    – When you remember some of the neighborhood telephone prefixes: i.e. Petworth included: RA3-xxxx and RA6-xxxx for RAndolph. My grandmother, on Girard St, originally had a phone number that started with ADams.

  • Anonamom

    When you find yourself defending Marion Barry as a great mayor (before the crack stuff).

    • navyard

      Bitch set me up!

  • AnonV2

    There is a guy in our neighborhood with a really low “AA” plate (AA 00##). That thing is faded and beat to all hell, but no way is he getting rid of it! By my count it’s on the 4th car in the past 8 or 9 years.

  • DSB

    When you still only refer to DCA as “National” because that’s it freaking name.

    • bloomingdale


    • Always and forever.

    • Blithe


    • textdoc


    • MM


    • JohnnyReb

      Good lord… Move on! I personally still call it Hoover Field

      • anon

        “Move on”… says the person whose username is an allusion to a war that ended 150 years ago?

    • Mickey’s BFF

      Yes! I have noticed that in the last year, the other President, Washington, has been deleted. It now seems to be Reagan Airport. How did this happen?

    • Vered

      Or Washington National (its proper name).

  • Michael Pierce

    Some people really like hanging on to those old plates. I’ve seen quite a few that are faded to the point of illegibility, or that have obviously been through a collision.

    • ah

      Illegibility may be the number 1 best attribute in a license plate!

      There’s one set – maybe AF-XXXX – that seems to have a particular fading problem.

  • DCG

    You refuse to call it anything other than National.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Finally traded the plates I got in the ’80’s 323 423 for new plates EC #### in 2012. Decided I wanted the Taxation without Representation motto for moving to U street.
    Our home phone number was Emerson 3 – 2553.
    Where I live now was the home of prostitutes and topless bars. When Whole Foods opened on P street at 14th, everyone thought they were crazy.
    I was in Geometry class in ’68 when the riots broke out. They sent us home.
    Did you know that Glen Echo park in the ’60’s was whites only?

    • Blithe

      Re: Glen Echo — Yeah. I grew up hearing about Glen Echo back in the day, followed by the comment ” but we didn’t go there.” I also remember shopping at Garfinkel’s being a big deal for multiple reasons, including: ” we couldn’t always shop here, so be on your BEST behavior. :-/
      – Do you — or anyone — remember Ida’s Department Store? I think it was on Georgia Ave., somewhere near Kennedy St. Or Posin’s?
      – I think I’m gonna enjoy Old School even more than Animal Fix! Thanks PoP!

      • H B

        Seconding POSIN’S (especially the raisin scones). SO GOOD. I miss it.

      • saf

        Yes, then it became Morton’s.

  • navyard

    You’re still afraid to go south of the SE Freeway

  • njb510

    You regularly saw movies at The Outer Circle.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      Or old Bergman movies at the Inner Circle.

    • planner

      Or classic movies at the Biograph

      • EPinDC


  • Metro used to pay you to ride it–if you put $10 on your card, you’d get an extra $0.50 free, and a $20 would net you a cool free $1.

    • AnonV2

      It was more than that! At least in the early 00’s (the last time I used Metro to commute) the bonus was $2 if you loaded $20. I recall this because doing that on a Monday would be exactly the fare I needed for the next two weeks. Round trip for my commute was $2.20 x 10 work days.

  • When you sometimes have to qualify a concert experience was at the “old” 9:30 Club or the “old” Black Cat.

    When you miss metro tokens.

    • MPinDC

      Agree! Original 9:30 club rocked.
      Along the same lines, going to the Bayou in Georgetown
      And the Wax Museum at 4th and D SW

      • anonymouse_dianne

        I saw John Prine, Mimi Farina, the list goes on – at the Cellar Door.

  • John

    When you don’t refer to this area as the DMV.

    • AMDCer

      Thank you!!

    • Anon

      It always ticks me off when people bring this up. Lots of black folks native to the area have been calling it the DMV for 20 years or so (some sources date it back to 1995). It seems like it made the jump to white mainstream in the past few years which is when people started to think of it as annoying, but I grew up here and can remember it being called the DMV when I was a kid. In my 30s now.

      • anon

        If you’re only in your 30s, you might not be old enough for this thread. ;)
        (Point taken, though.)

      • Vered

        I go back so far I think DMV means Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

  • Trison

    The arc of your formative years includes seeing Barry being busted on the news to having him speak at your high school graduation years later.

  • Jake


    • JohnnyReb

      Mumbo, not mambo

  • textdoc

    You remember having to get off the Green Line at Fort Totten and transfer to the Red Line no matter where you were going, because the Georgia Ave.-Petworth and Columbia Heights stations hadn’t opened yet.

    • Anonymous

      You remember when Fort Totten was only a red line station.

      • AMDCer

        When you remember when Ballston was the end of the Orange Line.

    • Anonymous

      You remember when the western end of the Red Line was at Farragut North.

  • Ward One Resident

    You remember when there was only ONE DMV and the line would wrap around and around and around the hallway. Ooof. Every time someone complains about the DMV now, I just have to chuckle.

    • ah

      You remember going to the DMV at all!

    • Michael Pierce

      Was that the old location at Judiciary Square? I remember having to go there when I first moved to DC. It was a grim experience.

  • Mike

    When license plates said “A Capital City”

  • Colhi

    You remember the basket of dogs at Mr. Egans.

    • saf

      We partied at Egan’s the night before our wedding.

  • stcohi

    The movie theater at Union Station??

    • hahaha nice! I saw Titanic there.

    • AMDCer

      Or before Union Station was restored.

    • Anonymous

      The movie theater at L’Enfant Plaza where the NTSB is today.

  • danielle

    Friendly Beasties, The Animal Hut and the just PETS store on 7th across from the current Verizon Center.

  • Chris Labas

    If you remember the jet at the Kennedy Playground at 7th and P and having to wait in line to sit in it for like 1 minute while the rest of the kids were all, “HURRY UP, KID! YOU”VE BEEN IN THERE FOREVER!”

  • textdoc

    When Blagden Alley was a place that felt sketchy in broad daylight and had random mattresses in back yards.

  • Michael Pierce

    When Adams Morgan and Georgetown were considered the hot nightlife destinations, because they were the only ones!

    • textdoc

      Don’t forget Dupont Circle!

  • textdoc

    When the 9:30 Club on V Street was the most gentrified building in its immediate area.

  • I Dont Get It

    When Dupont Circle was the epicenter of the GAY LIFESTYLE®

  • laszlob

    So many good old DC things like:

    Mr Eagan’s
    National and BWI
    Circle Theater
    The Bayou & Cellar Door (and somehow the real HFS goes here too)
    Club LT
    Did anyone else call this town “Washington” instead of DC, I know I did.
    I had the old 6 digit license plate, and I wanted the new “taxation w/out Representation” tag, which was the special “AZ xxxx” tag. You had to turn in your old tags and pay I think $15 to get the new tag.

  • Traveler

    When I moved to DC in the early 2000s, I was told to never go east of 16th St. or north of U St. My friend was shocked when I rented at 15th between T and U. Another friend told me to never go anywhere that wasn’t on the red line!

  • John B.

    When you still miss Woodie’s, and would even settle for having Hecht’s back again.

    • AE

      YES! I think somewhere I still have a Hecht’s credit card

      • Anonymous

        I still have my Washington Shopping Plate (the first credit card I ever got, and I got it since I had trouble using my NJ checks in DC). Mine was good at Woodies, Hecht’s and Garfinkels, and on the back there were several other stores listed that had gone out of business by the time I got the card. You did have to apply to each store separately, but it was one card for all the stores where you had an account.

  • John B.

    And give that CVS in Georgetown the side eye every time you walk past it, because you remember when it was the Biograph.

  • wow – a whole bunch of memories this brought up…
    taking a day off work to get my first car registered at the DMV on C st (and it really took all day).
    underaged drinking at gallaghers (now nanny o briens)…..
    too many nights at dc space, the old 930 club, the fifth column, insect club….
    buying candy at peoples drug store…..
    being dragged to garfinkels and woodward and lothrop by my grandmother

  • planner

    You still call it Peoples Drug

  • madmonk28

    Remember when the legal drinking age for beer and wine was 18?

  • Leslie

    You still try to dial local MD or VA phone numbers without adding the 301 or 703.


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