East of 16th St, East of 11th, an observation

There are certain populations, manners, patterns… things I notice when I pass 16th Street, the great dividing line. I sometimes see the, I don’t know what to call it, feeling or sense that I pick up on when I pass 16th shifting over to 14th St. Well, one Sunday ride from church, I noticed a gesture that I thought would be more 16th-17th St, maybe 14th, but to see it east of 11th, was something. Two gentlemen were walking arm in arm, obviously a couple, and apparently at ease with their surroundings. It’s not the only, I still don’t have a word for it, thing that I sense/feel (gad I’m hating my vocab right now) that has shifted over from Dupont past the magic 16th St barrier.

13 thoughts on “East of 16th St, East of 11th, an observation”

  1. If I’m understanding clearly, it’s about noticing different people when you go to different neighborhoods. Like there would be a different group of people living in Shaw than Dupont.

    That’s the way it is. I’m grateful that there’s no homogeneity.

  2. I choose to see the similarity in safe communites. I don’t view it as different looking people but degrees of safety.

  3. Not just one type of people, it’s more than that. It’s a mix of people, different certain kinds of people, in certain numbers, with a certain body language, behaving in a certain way, enteracting with their environment <- all that then some. And it isn't just living, it's people on the street, people who are seen. People not seen may add to the 'feel' of the place by virtue of their actions or what a visitor may perceive their action to be.

  4. Hm. I really like your blog, but I’m really not sure what you mean by this post. The tone sounds kind of like you saw an open gay couple east of 11th, and it made you vaguely uncomfortable. I kind of hope that’s not true, but I’m interested to hear more of what you mean.

  5. Maybe this is a lesson to me to stay away from really hard to explain concepts. Some people place too much emphasis, I think, on buildings creating a neighborhood. They do, however I strongly believe people, doing what people do, make the neighborhood. A building is more of a blight when people sit on the front stoop drinkin’ or use it as a bathroom, than if it were if no one interacted with it. The couple used in the example was the most visual Dupont Circle sort of behavior, east of Dupont, seen, east of Dupont. White people walking around wearing certain clothes in groups of 3 or more with a body language that would take several paragraphs to describe…. yeah.
    It was easier back in the early 2000s or whenever, when just putting it in terms of race or economics to explain a neighborhood shift was enough. What I saw with the couple was ‘perceived’ (as far as I know, as the mind reading abilities are not working) comfort level. And maybe comfort or feel is a bit too abstract for me to adequately explain.

  6. Clarence may be right about the neighborhood being a loser. We are a run-down historic slum that the city and the Council could care less about. But one thing I really miss about the added gentrification over here now is the almost total loss of front stoopers. I used to be able to walk down Eighth to the Giant and talk to at least three clusters of neighbors out on the stoop. I really miss Dee, her mom Annabelle and her son Scott — (don’t say I miss that yappy dog though). I miss the venerable Mr. Johnson, who taught me to stop say hello to everyone, learn everybody’s name. I’m glad my neighbors still hang out on their porch. It provides some security in a scary, run-down, otherwise abandoned corner. We have become a much more unfriendly place where there is less and less eye contact, just like west of Sixteenth.

  7. I think I understand a little more. It wasn’t so much about the the couple being gay, but the fact that they were “comfortable” being open in a place they wouldn’t have been several years ago? I’m still not sure if you’re saying this is positive or not. I also think I understand what you mean about white people’s body language (and what Mr Ray said about no one hanging out on the stoop or making eye contact). One of the reasons I moved to Shaw was because I don’t like the silent, socially-distant character of a lot of neighborhoods west of 16th. I like the familiarity of “front stoopers”, etc. Like on P between Marion and 6th, there are like three families (one Chinese) that are outside a lot – probably “too noisy” for a lot of the recent arrivals. But I’m white, so I think a lot of people react to me a certain way, and with more white people moving in, it’s all shifting. I feel a lot of times like the diversity in Shaw right now is wonderful, but it’s a temporary snapshot, rather than a permanent fixture. And now I’ve gotten into an issue I can’t adequately verbalize, but that I think people should discuss more.

  8. funny, about the front stoopers. one thing i did not like about shaw (moved a few months ago) was the front stoopers. to me nothing says ghetto like a bunch of people sitting on their steps in a hundred degree weather. (I also didnt see anything homophobic in mari’s post. i thought is was a good observation)

  9. Oh, she seen two gays walking arm in arm? Well, she needs to know that homosexuals have been a part of the cocoon of Ledroit Park/Shaw for generations. The gay club where Marvin Gaye was discovered was located at 11th and Kenyon NW and first opened in 1953. Homosexuals in Shaw may be new to her but not to the native Washingtonians. Mari, homosexuality is not a hard to explain concept, it is quite natural.

  10. Oh for the love of Pete people! I’m tired of trying to explain myself and the concept I’m trying to express with crappy results. Screw it, the headache ain’t worth it. I don’t give a flying rat’s rear anymore.

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