Chatter: You Bet Your Ask
What you said about what we said last week
For last week’s Answers Issue, we tackled 25 questions about how we live in and think about the District. And our readers? They had a few criticisms, compliments, and, most frequently, addenda.
One reader, perhaps thinking of some of D.C.’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods, asked for an example of a once-poor American neighborhood that has risen to become a middle-class area without quickly becoming unaffordable to the middle class. Experts we consulted suggested Portland, Ore., as well as certain close-in suburbs in the Sun and Rust belts. Payton Chung poked a hole in the premise: “The broader trouble is that ‘the middle class,’ beyond being amorphous, is shrinking nationwide (due to increasing income inequality) and therefore not likely to colonize new neighborhoods. The other problem is that such ‘success stories’ don’t attract a lot of media interest. That said, a lot’s been written about neighborhood stabilization efforts in southern Boston, and a few instances like Harlem and Kenwood/Oakwood show that gentrification can occur without changing the complexion of a historically African-American neighborhood. I suspect that several neighborhoods have transitioned from decay to relatively stable and middle-class through ethnic succession."
Ronald R. Hanna took exception to Jenny Rogers’ response to the question of whether D.C. is part of the South. (Briefly: no, not really.) “Having been born and raised in D.C. I grew up KNOWING that we lived in the SOUTH, i.e. BELOW THE MASON-DIXON LINE!,” he writes. “Many in the “REAL South” of D.C. (Anacostia, Garfield, Hillcrest) remain fishermen, crabbers, and are popular for our summer cookouts, even those in diverse areas such as Fort Dupont Park and, yes, Rock Creek Park.”
To a question on whether D.C. residents are getting less friendly to one another, oldmh responded: “I really noticed this difference when I moved from west of the park (white neighborhood) to east of the park (African-American neighborhood) about 10 years ago. As a white person, it took me by surprise but I happily adjusted. I had never lived in such a friendly urban neighborhood before and I really treasured the experience. With the advent of gentrification, the neighborhood has changed somewhat. The new younger white residents are nice folks and we say hello, too, but, while it’s still pleasant, the warmth of the older African-American long-time residents is noticeably missing.”
An item about the death of drummer Travis Jackson inspired his bandmate George “Geo” White, the guitarist and singer of The Points, to chime in, telling the story of their musical partnership, from their first jam session in King George, Va., to their final tour in 2009. “Travis was my brother,” White wrote. “If he wasn’t there, I would not have done any of this. It was so fun to play and make music with Travis. I will always miss walking to practice with my friend. I always used to ask myself then, what the fuck am I doing and now I know. I never did it for anyone but him. I will always miss my friend.”
Department of Corrections
The Answers Issue contained two errors. An answer to a question about D.C.’s bus lines gave a misleading example of the naming convention that some of them follow. Although the X2 starts with a letter like some other lines, its name originated with the Roman numeral for the 10 streetcar line whose route it follows. And due to a reporting error, an answer to a question about the area around Massachusetts and Louisiana avenues NW identified historic Swampoodle as being “centered in the heart of what’s now NoMa around 1st and M streets NE.” In fact, it was slightly south of that area.