Q&A With The Creators of “Petworthies”
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Petworth has a snarky new blog: Petworthies. We chatted with the writers Tom Anderson (a Washington City Paper contributor) and Adam Mazmanian about their vision, their imaginary mascot, the "dull boosterism" of some other local blogs, and what nearby neighborhoods Petworth should lay claim to.
Q: Why did you decide to start a neighborhood blog?
Tom: I'm living in a three-month exile in Cambridge, Mass., that ends Dec. 10. I miss my neighborhood. During a frustrated IM conversation with Adam in October, I suggested we create a blog about Petworth. I didn't think he would take me seriously. He started it and now I'm stuck.
Adam: I bet Tom that there was no way in a million years that Mike Shanahan would start John Beck as quarterback. I lost, and was forced into a life of hyperlocal blogging to pay my debt. I curse the day I met Tom Anderson.
Q: Do you both live in Petworth, and how long have you lived there?
Tom: I’ve been a Petworthy since May 2010. Before that, I lived on Capitol Hill for nearly six years. I enjoy Petworth, but think it has an inferiority complex. We have no neighborhood association, my ANC's website is in shambles and our farmer's market is only open for four hours on Fridays during the summer and fall. Petworth can do better.
Adam: My wife and I bought our home in Petworth in early summer 2008. I think Petworth was doing quite well without a smart-ass blog to redraw its borders and rile its merchants. Nevertheless...
Q: How would you describe the content of Petworthies?
Tom: We are just two guys with a Tumblr account. I like reading Petworth coverage in most D.C. media, but I think they rely too often on the standard crime and gentrification tropes. I feel like Petworthies can bring something to the marketplace. Or at least some old-timey, passive-aggressive humor to counter the dull boosterism of most hyperlocal outlets.
Adam: Not entirely by design, the content of Petworthies tends toward the puerile and undergraduate. We're planning on doing some more conventional journalism covering the 4th Ward council race, which promises to be very exciting. Also, I'm interested in the residential real estate market and business development in the Georgia Avenue corridor. Confidential to Tom: What's a trope?
Q: What are the borders of Petworth?
Tom: I will defer to Adam on the proper borders of Greater Petworth because he has a GPS and a sextant. Ideally, I want Petworth to be large enough in size and reputation that I don't have to explain to people from Maryland and Virginia where I live.
Adam: Petworth proper is defined by Georgia Avenue, Rock Creek Church Road, Rock Creek Church Cemetery and Kennedy Street. However, I think Petworth rightly has claim to the neighborhood around Warder St. stretching down at least as far as Princeton Place to the south, and to the area bounded by Spring Road, Kansas Avenue, Georgia Avenue and a little sliver of 13th Street on the west. This is what I refer to as "Greater Petworth".
Q: What's up with Col. Lucius Petworth?
Tom: Petworth needs a champion and Col. Lucius Petworth is that self-appointed champion. I'm a recovering comic-book nerd. So, to me, Col. Petworth is like the 1980's DC Comics character Firestorm, a combination of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Martin Stein and hapless high school student Ronnie Raymond. In this analogy, Adam is Stein and I'm Raymond, but I digress. Col. Petworth is the blunt editorial voice of Petworthies. Some have suggested our shtick is too precious, but the colonel is not done with D.C. yet.
Adam: This is by far the best answer of all the inane answers Tom has given to this question so far. I will say that I am a serial abuser of fictitious 19th-century personas, so I was drawn to the idea.
Q: How hard of a line do you draw between new and old neighborhoods? Can Truxton Circle exist without a circle? Is NoMa a real thing?
Tom: Petworth is expanding. I say the new southern border is Park Street. Park View can have the rest ... for now. Truxton Circle cannot exist without a circle and NoMa is a useful fiction.
Adam: Truxton Circle needs to be a circle again, because the 90 and 92 buses go way, way too fast. They need a traffic circle with about 3 or 4 lights to slow it down. Also, what's NoMa?
Q: Anything else you'd like readers to know?
Tom: Can someone please start a Petworth Community Association? I will sign that petition and then make fun of its efforts thereafter. Seriously, Brightwood is showing us up. And for the record, I support illegal fireworks displays and the expansion of the 62, 63 bus route, AKA the Petworth Limo Service.
Adam: I remember the day I learned that the 62 bus was being extended downtown as the 63 during morning and evening rush hours. That's when I knew Petworth was my home.