One aspect of “better” and ‘changing for the better’

I’ve only been here in the Shaw neighborhood for 10 years, so here are a few observations that I think the changes in the neighborhood has brought that is an improvement due to the demographic changes sometimes known as gentrification.

For one, the drug dealers are not a regular presence at the corner I turn at to come home from work. Almost every friggin day, there they would be, leaning on a fence, littering up the treebox, hanging around. You know how depressing and anxiety producing that is to have to walk by that every single day? The only good thing about it was if you left them alone, they’d leave you alone. And the block up from me was ugly, unfriendly and just had a bad feeling about it. I wouldn’t even walk down that block in the daytime. It also had dealers. Older residents had been fighting the good fight but had figured to pick their battles, what was needed was new blood that wasn’t burned out.

Second, gunfire is no longer a nightly sound. Okay, maybe where you are, but in my section it is no longer every single night. A couple of years ago a guy was shot in the butt in a drive by that then continued to shoot my street (thankfully shooting the asphalt) as they speeded off. Fewer (though none would be nice) incidences and gun shots is an improvement for the better.

A reduction in crime and gun shots may relate to the area being more politically active. One of the reasons why I dislike Vincent Orange so much is that I remember him not really caring that much for our area. When he was running for Mayor the last time, in 2006, he didn’t seem grass roots at all, and didn’t seem all that particularly interested in us over here in the TC. Now, if we were Brookland, different story. With the 2006 election we flexed some muscle, then candidate Fenty came to a fundraiser at a Richardson Pl home, the candidates for Ward 5 were falling all over themselves to be a part of BACA garden walks, clean ups, what-have you. Other positive in 2006 2C ANC Leroy Thorpe was ousted, sorta. With politicians discovering we existed and voted and not ignoring us we got more attention with city services. Cars get ticketed now. No longer do I have to deal with more-than-likely stolen/ obviously abandoned cars sitting on my street for weeks on end.

Yes, and some improvements to my quality of life came from some neighbors leaving, and here the ‘better’ gets dicey. The neighbors who will not be missed are the crackheads. Which crackheads you may ask as we had several. Not Velveeta (yes, that was her name), but the ones who left their friend for dead bleeding on the sidewalk outside their house. I suspect down in the southern tip of the TC (unit blocks from Bates to N) do not miss the clusters of subsidized housing that housed loud, drugged out if not drunk poor excuses for parents and their feral children. Not to say everything is rosy now, there still is the odd halfway house and the people who cluster around S.O.M.E. Yet the poor, including crackheads and people who can’t keep it together need housing too.

One thought on “One aspect of “better” and ‘changing for the better’”

  1. Yeah, my neighborhood, Columbia Heights, has gotten a LOT better since I moved here 6 years ago. I like all the new trendy restaurants (better, but more expensive than the bullet proof chinese food place which had a monopoly on fine dining when I first moved to the area) and the fact that I don’t have to tell my friends to take a cab from the metro to my place at night because it wasn’t very safe at night back then.

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