Yes, I did see the Post articles on the Convention Center, 9th Street, the Chinese New Year Celebration down in Gallery Place and the proposed merger of Sirius and XM, which may impact Eckington.
I’d been thinking about Gallery Place/ Chinatown since I’ve been running a number of errands ’round there lately, and the article just more or less confirmed a bit of my thinking. It seems that a fair number of Asian American attendees at the street celebration were from the ‘burbs. Face it, on any other regular day when running around Gallery Place many of the faces are Black, White and Latino. I thought of the Jewish quarter of Prague that the city hawks as a tourist area, which though having a Jewish graveyard, and monuments, but few Jews*. The buildings and signs say something in Chinese, but the spirit of the street says “Gallery Place”. When the MCI/Verizon Center was still off-gassing its new paint and floors there were a larger number of Chinese restaurants, that were later replaced by the Legal Seafoods and like chains. The impact wasn’t sudden, and the Gallery Place area is still changing. A place opens, then it closes and is replaced (hopefully quickly) by some other operation. And maybe it is still a little too soon to expect great things of the Convention Center.
Or maybe not. We’ve got our own set of problems and conditions north of the Square. For one, MVQ and the 7th and 9th St corridors are and were far more residential than Gallery Place. Yes, you compare condo to condo but there are also a lot of fee simple, low density housing, garden apartments and lots of non-luxury units. I mentioned that I lost the faith in projects yet to come, those things are on 9th St. Some of them are in the process of ‘becoming’, some are waiting for their developer/owners to get their act together, and while they aren’t yet what they are to be, you got ugly on the streets at present. Unlike Gallery Place we don’t have that huge office drone population crowding up the counters at Shaw eateries. I guess we were supposed to get a huge convention going populace, who aren’t staying in any Shaw hotels because, oh right. And last time I went to a convention I had lunch inside the building or ate at places I saw between the hotel and the center. Which would mean, if your hotel is at Gallery Place, you’re probably eating in Gallery Place.
Don’t even get me started on Shiloh. Senior housing. Not plain old affordable housing, because face it many of y’all moved to the burbs to get away from the affordable housing crowd.
*Yes, the population is growing but it is miniscule compared to its early 20th Century, pre-Holocaust numbers.
One thought on “A couple of thoughts”
Last time I went to a convention, I walked across to the Warehouse Cafe to kill some time. They told me they’re only open during very particular hours — evenings, etc. Basically, I couldn’t find any coffee shops close to the convention center, but there is always “down time” between convention events and it would be a relief to know a great place was right across the street. Or for Fenty’s inaugural party, for example, we basically went from metro to convention center to metro with no little stop afterwards… it would be welcome to the DC-based convention-goers, at least!
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