City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: Not Walmart’s Fault Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News Roundup Columbia Heights: Not a Bean Field: A New Columbia Heights reader sent in notice of an utterly incorrect portrayal of the neighborhood by the TV show Bones: "FYI:  On Thursday's episode, lead FBI agent Booth says, 'A white man in Columbia Heights? He’d stand out like an onion in a bean field!' The characters then review CH ATM footage and zero in on the five white males. What?????!!!!   So silly that the writers of a show supposedly set in DC have never set foot in DC." New Columbia Heights writes, "True that, as anybody who has ever walked around here will tell you. Or just look at the Census data, where the white population has grown by up to 300% since 2000 in some parts of the neighborhood." Commenters agree that Bones is totally incorrect, and on more accounts than just demographics: "Bones and NCIS might be the worst offenders... on Bones, at least they sometimes reference real streets, but it's clear that none of them have ever been to DC before in their lives. (The episode where a key scene takes place on a subway car—which (a) references fake stops, and (b) is a New York subway car—is a particularly egregious offender.) On NCIS they're smart enough to avoid geographic markers for the most part (except the obvious military ones like the Navy Yard and Quantico), but they seem to think there are a lot of used car lots in DC that have slightly smog-obscured mountains in the background. (Hint to NCIS writers: None of them do.) I'm thinking of hiring myself out as a story consultant for DC-based shows, to tell them (a) when they're completely and totally wrong about something DC-related, or (b) which exterior locations in LA actually look like they could be in DC."

Blame WalMart: On the Petworth email list, one member asks, "There is a rumor circulating along Georgia Ave. that this year's Caribbean day  parade has been canceled because of construction issues. I hope this isn't the case, but would welcome some clarity. Does anyone know whether these rumors are true?" Another, who identifies as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, answers, "For all you Wal-Mart fans, thanks for the reminder. We just completed an economic impact study on the proposed W4 Wal-Mart and forgot to reinsert the Festival's information in our final report to ANC Comm. 4B. Our report has to include a WM effect on the longstanding festival activities which start at —– you guessed it, GA & MO!!! Now what????" But this one might not be Sam Walton's fault, despite the coincidental appearance. A third member adds, "I read a couple of weeks ago that the parade route was shortened because the financially- strapped city is charging the Carnival a little more for its services. The Carnival simply does not have enough funds to support the full route this year. Blame the economy. This one is not Wal-Mart's fault."

When the Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Disappear'd, UPDATE: The Cleveland Park email list's focus on the neighborhood "lilac thief" has died down in recent weeks. But there's a revived campaign to catch the offender: "Several recent Listserv postings alerted us about a neighborhood flower thief and provided a description of a possible suspect – a short, white male, about 60 years old with wavy salt and pepper hair. Someone, perhaps the same individual, made his/her annual visit to the Newark Street Community Garden in the past two days, stealing some 50 peony stems from several garden plots, stripping bushes clean of all stems with flowers and or buds. It is difficult to understand how this person goes unnoticed, walking thru the gardens located between the 2nd District Police Station and the Newark Street dog park, a children's playground, and across the street from the McLean Gardens condos, where people are out and about at all hours, especially early in the morning walking their dogs — which is when we suspect the thief appears. One McLean Gardens resident has seen a man fitting the given description leaving the community garden, arms loaded with flowers. The previous Listserv postings sited the same man in various neighborhood locations including the Glover Park trail behind McLean Gardens, walking with armloads of unwrapped flowers in the early morning hours, and even cutting hydrangeas from people's home gardens, then quickly walking away.  Let's protect our properties and catch this thief. If you see someone fitting this description who looks suspicious e.g. walking with an armload of unwrapped flowers, especially in the early morning hours in or near the Community Garden, please call 911 and take a picture of the suspect if you can." Armed with that extensive description, Cleveland Park lilac aficionados may now go forth in pursuit.

Takoma, ISO: "An artist friend who is doing a series of military portraits of the WW II generation is going to start working in public regularly at Arlington Cemetery. He told me he was going to buy a wooden easel that  would be easier to transport and use onsite than his usual metal easel," writes one member of the Takoma email list. Before he does I thought I'd ask first if anyone would like to pass along a wooden standard-sized easel that is not being used. I used to have one. They tend to get in the way or take up space in the closet."

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  • Ben

    Thing is, no one outside of DC really cares about the accuracy of fictionalized portrayals of the city. The only time it really becomes an issue is when confused tourists begin asking for directions to the Georgetown Metro station, cause goshdarnit they're just not finding it.

  • Josh

    It's even more absurd when you realize that Booth lives above sportsman's liquors. Yes, the one on Mt. pleasant.

  • Andrew

    This column is always good stuff.

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