Neighborhood Watch: In Eckington, Do You Want Fries—and Bulletproof Glass—With That?
The Issue: Bloomingdale Eckington residents can now find pizza instead of hot wings at the intersection of North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue NE—but they still have to order through bulletproof glass. New York Pizza recently decided to retain the glass after taking over the building from Kentucky Fried Chicken. But some residents are tired of seeing the bulletproof barriers in their neighborhood, and are avoiding restaurants that have it—including the pizza joint. Others argue that the real problem is the crime that leads restaurants to put up the glass in the first place, and that refusing to give business to such places only hurts the community. So who wants free delivery?
Glass-Free Pizza, Please: Scott Roberts of the blog Bloomingdale Neighborhood told City Desk that he has heard of community members boycotting establishments because of the glass. One commenter on the blog wrote that "this is a business issue, not charity.… Any business that can't provide a reasonable level of security for their customers and staff isn't going to get my patronage. Hiding behind 2 inches of plate glass, and leaving me on the other side to cope with all the crap, isn't dealing with the problem.” The boycotters also have some new dining alternatives—a couple of glass-free daytime cafes have opened recently, and there is a restaurant with a liquor license application currently in the works just off of North Capitol.
Glass Isn't the Problem: According to Metropolitan Police Department crime statistics, there were 13 armed robberies and 20 unarmed robberies within 1,000 feet of New York Pizza in the last year. Roberts says that pedestrian traffic along North Capitol is comprised of “homeless people” and “some patrons of methadone clinics.” In short, many residents believe that the presence of bulletproof glass is a symptom of crime—not the disease. Another commenter on the Bloomingdale blog says, “When we choose not to frequent the eatery [for petty reasons like bulletproof glass] it'll close and go out of business and become an vacant eye sore again, attracting vagrants. This area will never get off the ground.”
Next Step: Wait to see if New York Pizza sinks or swims. David says, “Bullet proof glass or not, I'm not going to eat there because the Pizza is horrible. I reviewed it on Yelp.com for your convenience.”
Photo by Brian, Creative Commons Attribution License