Shaw, um where’s that?

There is nothing to knock down your pride about your hood when you talk to other people and they give you this blank stare, as if you mentioned some rare medical disease, when you say “I’m from Shaw.”
Then I go to explain where Shaw is and there is a slight effort to try to map it out in their heads. This is more depressing when the people you are talking to are other Washingtonians.
Suburbanites I can totally understand. Really, I do the same thing. My excuse is most of suburbia lacks a metro, thus I don’t go there. So anything along Quaker Lane in VA, I got no clue. Seminary Road. I’ve heard of it. I think there is a seminary on it. Duke Street? Yes, I know Duke Street, well at least the parts near the King Street metro, and Nora Bombay’s condo. Rockville Pike? Just the parts near Grovsner and White Flint. My familiarity with MD has more to do with having the stable of friends & family with cars living out there.
Maybe we gotta do more PR work to help suburbanites and Washingtonians who know nothing past 16th Street, NW. Maybe throw in phrases like, “There is a great play over in Shaw at the Studio Theater.” Or, “I’m going to Shaw to catch M.I.A. at the 9:30 Club.”

8 thoughts on “Shaw, um where’s that?”

  1. I have had invited (‘ahem’) “guests” be unwilling to cross 14th Street to “visit me” for fear of entering the feared Shaw/LeDroit War Zone. Said people admitted to feeling unsecure even when going east past 16th street. Shaw/Howard is a big swirling scary mystery to many folks in NW.

  2. Chickens.

    Maybe one should try introducing little bits of areas east of 14th, like what they do with people with phobias. “Okay, we’re going to the Starbucks at 13th and U in at 12 noon, on a Saturday…”

  3. Oddly, I’ve been to Shaw to watch M.I.A. at the 9:30 club.

    My neighborhood is technically “Shirley Duke”. But this is really a name only used by serious old timer’s.

    It’s either “The big building next to Cameron Station”

    Or “Across the Street from Foxchase”

    or “About a mile from 395 and the Landmark Mall”.

    I’m thinking that the building will be declared “Cameron Station East”once an enterprising realtor gets to rename it. Or “Cameron Station Towers”.

  4. “Shirley Duke” sounds like a minor character from the Dukes of Hazzard. In my book you live in the building that lords over Cameron Station.

    To get more specific of where I live I just start rattling off the streets of death or great injury like Rhode Island Ave, New York Ave, New Jersey Ave, North Cap, and Florida hoping that they must of travelled numerous times down one of those roads. Shaw is a big neighborhood near the hub bub downtown, can’t miss it.

  5. When people give me blank stares or have no idea where Shaw or LeDroit Park are located, I use this as an opportunity to tell them how great it is to live in a “transitional” neighborhood. Sarcasm aside, there are some awesome things about here: neighborhood history, historic significance, a sense of community, proximity to downtown, walkable to 14th and U Sts. Why not use other people’s ignorance as an opportunity to be an ambassador?

  6. It’s so nice to hear someone else say DC residents should consider being ambassadors of their neighborhood.

    Although I live in Brookland, I feel the pain of Mari and other Shaw residents. I’ve said to DC folk from other parts of the city that I live in BrookLAND and they ask how long am I visiting from New York. Even when I wear my Brookland t-shirt, I’ve had DC people ask me if the shirt were from New York!

    Yes DC, there are neighborhoods east of 16th Street.

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