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Old 07-30-2012, 07:11 PM
 
361 posts, read 671,077 times
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The fact of gentrification" and "transitioning neighborhoods" has obviously been discussed ad nauseum and has been occurring for a while, but was just wondering if any long timers, longer timers and natives still are seeing or hearing things that just seemed unimaginable back in the day, whatever day that was. Sure there's the obvious---the massive development in places like Logan Circle or Columbia Heights-- but I mean more of the everyday scenes, specific transitions or interactions, like seeing white women jogging in Shaw at 11 p.m., a specific crackhouse that's now on the market for 1mm. For example, two recent shockers for me:

1. Jokingly dropping the name "Rayful Edmonds" and nobody knowing the reference.
2. Checking out a crowded new spot on 14th Street and being the ONLY person of color in the place (save a waiter or two).
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
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I grew up in this area and I only know about Rayful Edmonds because of this website haha.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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I can remember in the 1970s -early 80s when EVERY business on both of sides of 14th street NW between H and I was either a nude bar, massage parlor, or gay bathhouse. Right in the middle of the block was a post office, and offices of the National Archives.

I worked at TechWorld - Chinatown in the early 1990s, before Verizon Center opened, and the neighborhood was rather quiet and somewhat rundown. Going a few blocks more east on N.Y. Ave. was a car dealer, and a large, very ugly old abandoned warehouse, where today there are several blocks of tall, new condo buildings.

I've heard that early in the 20th century, the Annapolis City Dock, which is now swarming with upscale tourists, was nothing but a huge pile of discarded oyster shells, later it had a gasoline station. Quaint, narrow Pinkney Street by the Dock had all black residents.

I can remember before the yellow line metro changed everything, when Washington Street in Alexandria was the dividing line between gentrified Old Town to the east, and the all-black area to the west.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:51 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Everything that's happening in DC is an incredible transformation compared to 20 years ago. This is an extreme city makeover going on right before our eyes.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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-Most important thing I can remember is a time when working/middle class families could actually afford a home in the district.

-Regarding Rayful Edmonds, what shocks me is his old stomping grounds is now a sought-after location!

-The african man selling hot pepper soup outside the old Kiliminjaro club in adams morgan.

-Same as someone said above. Sex shops around 14th, also by Vermont Ave.

- I SHOCK myself back into coherence every day when I think about the rowhouse ON Logan Circle that my dad could have bought for 80K I wanna say around 1986. Ouch.

-When you would see zero white people on the green line in either direction, and maybe a handful on the redline towards glenmont.

-When DC actually had go-go clubs before it was pushed to the burbs.

-A cab driver I grew up with said taxi drivers would avoid U street because they would get robbed. It's now the number one weekend destination for cabs.

-Shocked to see tiny crap rowhouses in NW go for half a million. I don't understand why some newcomers are willing to pay so much, is the location really that desirable?

-When people from Baltimore would say DC is dangerous! When DC had way more murders than Bmore.

-When I was in Chicago in the 90s and i met a prospective howard student who said "I would go there but I heard it's really ghetto". This coming from a lady from the southside of Chicago!

Last edited by BenningPark202; 07-31-2012 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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Yes - in the 1970s and 1980s, the 14th & U Street area used to be just swarming with derelicts and liquor stores and drug sales. It had violent crime daily - one of the most concentrated crime spots in the city.

The D.C. govt's bold step about 25 years ago of building their new Reeves Center city office building at 14th & U, and the opening of 2 or 3 theater stages on 14th Street about that time, along with the new Metro route, were all catalysts for improvement.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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I have been in the DC area since the early 1990s. Which counts as "semi-native" in these parts. In a span of 20 years, I have noticed some differences (positive and negative).

Positive:
-More safer neighborhoods east of 16th Street.
-More places to shop and to dine.
-More racial and ethnic diversity (beyond just black and white people). We have seen more Latino, Asian, Caribbean and African ethnic groups live and open businesses in The District. That's a good thing.
-Whole neighborhood blocks have renovated housing, gone is the graffiti, and the pawn shops and corner liquor stores are fading into the sunset.

Negative:
-The rent is too damn high.

-The rent is too damn high X 2.

-The transplants. My encounters with transplants have been far less pleasant than the local natives. For whatever reason, people who grew up in the DC region (black and white) are just more friendlier and easy-going than transplants from other parts of the nation. I think some transplants represent a certain privileged socio-economic class and there is a sense of arrogance and entitlement with these people. Transplants who migrate from rural areas or certain sections of the country like the upper Midwest tend to be more polite and conversational. Transplants from the Northeast part of the country (New England, NY, NJ) are not so friendly. California transplants do not have score well on the pleasant human being meter either.

-The growing income inequality over the last 20 years. The income gap between the wealthier residents of Wards 1, 2, 3 and those living in poorer wards like 6 and 8 is embarrassing for a national capital. The middle-class guy who relies on a federal government salary or who owns a small business cannot afford to live in most city neighborhoods. Washington, DC is beginning to mirror third-world urban centers where the wealthy elites and poor slum dwellers live in completely different worlds--yet they are less than a mile apart. This is an epic failure of rational economic policy at the national and local level. Embarrassing.

-Growing racial tensions. Sorry but I see it in many places. Predominately white transplants who either treat black residents as invisible characters or go out of their way to insult them. It's simply a lack of respect. More black residents are getting fed up with the "gentrification" wave. There's a reason why Vince Gray won the mayoral election in 2010 (all of the nasty corruption discovered later aside). Priced out of their homes. Priced out of their businesses. What's left of the "Chocolate City" culture is getting erased block after block as businesses, art and music centers, restaurants conform to the upper-class, white hegemonic culture.

I also believe that certain forces are plotting to destroy of what's left of the black middle class in the DC region. Slash and burn DC government jobs. Slash and burn WMATA jobs. Slash and burn tenured public school teacher jobs. It's no surprise that the bulk of the workforce in government, public transit and public schools are African-American. You cannot have empowered minorities making good salaries with union contracts according to the Powers That Be. People like Adrien Fenty and Michelle Rhee are not accidents.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldbliss View Post
Slash and burn DC government jobs. Slash and burn WMATA jobs. Slash and burn tenured public school teacher jobs. It's no surprise that the bulk of the workforce in government, public transit and public schools are African-American. You cannot have empowered minorities making good salaries with union contracts according to the Powers That Be. People like Adrien Fenty and Michelle Rhee are not accidents.
My argument here is that it isn't necessarily a conspiracy, but perhaps now that there's more than just one ethnic group represented in DC, people are a little fed up with the services you've mentioned above? You could have just made a list of those and called it "the most corrupt and poorest performing aspects of the city" and listed:

1)DC Local Government
2)WMATA
3)Public Schools

Why would anyone be crazy to try and clean house and get rid of the corruption and nepotism that has created such three obvious failures, regardless of the race of those they employ. If these industries want to remain 90%+ black in a city where less than 50% of the residents are black, perhaps they should start performing their duties without constant deaths and crime (WMATA), corruption and prison terms (local politics, marion barry, are you efffing kidding me? this guy is STILL being elected despite averaging one ethics violation a year, a federal imprisonment and being caught on camera smoking crack with a hooker), and the poorest performance in a tri-state area (schools).
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:55 AM
 
361 posts, read 671,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldbliss View Post

-Growing racial tensions. Sorry but I see it in many places. Predominately white transplants who either treat black residents as invisible characters or go out of their way to insult them. It's simply a lack of respect. More black residents are getting fed up with the "gentrification" wave. There's a reason why Vince Gray won the mayoral election in 2010 (all of the nasty corruption discovered later aside). Priced out of their homes. Priced out of their businesses. What's left of the "Chocolate City" culture is getting erased block after block as businesses, art and music centers, restaurants conform to the upper-class, white hegemonic culture.
Indeed. I can't put my finger on it but it feels different than just a mundane "I think I am better than you" mentality. It feels resentful, like the very presence of black people and poverty and dealing with typical "city" issues is spoiling some kind of fairy tale, upper class, urbane existence they are trying to carve out for themselves.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:14 PM
 
1,783 posts, read 3,084,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RozCat View Post
Indeed. I can't put my finger on it but it feels different than just a mundane "I think I am better than you" mentality. It feels resentful, like the very presence of black people and poverty and dealing with typical "city" issues is spoiling some kind of fairy tale, upper class, urbane existence they are trying to carve out for themselves.
I don't feel like this is it at all. I am from a city with more issues than DC (and one that would do anything for a healthy dose of DC-esque gentrification), especially of the racial variety. It is much different in DC because it feels like if you live here and you're white, you should be paying "reperations" or some sort of penalty for daring to live here. And anytime you see a post on any of the local blogs complaining about some innocent person getting beat within an inch of their life, you see comments like "Oh well, you stupid white people this is what you get!"

So yes the resentment goes both ways, but I do think one side of this issue is more moral than the other. I won't say which side, but here's a hint: It's the side that thinks beating random people is wrong, doesn't steal from people, throws trash in the trashcan instead of the street, doesn't yell homophobic/racial slurs at people, gives up their seat to old/disabled people on the bus, and generally carries themselves with a healthy dose of self-respect and respect for others. Yes, natives and gentrifiers alike belong to this group, but anyone who thinks both are equally represented is delusional and clearly does not live here.
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