Best Neighborhood Achievement
Crispus Attucks Park
Having a backyard is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a privilege enjoyed by all of D.C.’s rowhouse-dwellers; many back doors open out onto alleys. Which is why the long fight to make the plot of land between U, V, North Capitol and 1st Street NW into an Edenic 1.36-acre park is such a triumph. Only 15 years ago, the area was occupied by a burned-out old building that police had fenced off and padlocked to keep drug dealers and prostitutes out. In 1998, the city foreclosed on the land—owned by the Crispus Attucks Development Corporation—galvanizing neighbors to get the foreclosure cancelled and make it into a tax-exempt park, in exchange for allowing community access in perpetuity. Since then, the development corporation has been working on improvements, putting in trees and landscaping. And now, walking through the right alleys will lead you into this almost-secret garden, which on a sunny summer day will be filled with locals chatting and lounging on the grass. It’s like having access to your own backyard, and everybody else’s, at the same time.