Hoods & Services
Neighborhood Index > Land of the Loft
Land of the Loft


Population: 31,924
Percent Black: 56.3
Percent White: 22.3
Percent Hispanic: 14.2
Percent Foreign-Born: 20.3
Percent Children: 17.5
Poverty Rate: 26.8 percent
2005 Median Home Sale Price: $628,753
2007 Violent Crimes Per 1,000 Residents: 23.2
2007 Property Crimes Per 1,000 Residents: 92.3



His name is a mouthfulAl Hajj Mahdi Leroy Joseph Thorpe Jr.and he was more than a handful during his 18-year reign as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Shaw. Thorpe was known for banging his gavel and cutting off visitors during ANC meetings. He even, according to Washington City Paper archives, once led a campaign to transfer a police officer he disliked and attempted to stall a community project because he doesnt like the person in charge. Residents finally voted Thorpe out in 2006, but he quickly re-emerged. The new ANC chair appointed Thorpe parliamentarian and executive assistant to the chair.

More Touchstones

Logan Circle, Shaw, Mount Vernon Square, Chinatown/Penn Quarter
These neighborhoods don't spend a lot of time looking back on their own history, unless forced to by preservationists. They're mostly on a relentless march forward, which isn't all that bad, frankly.
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

Arbitrary Rankings

Kid-Friendliness: 4

Michelle Rhee scrapped her plan to close Shaw Junior High, perhaps out of fear that mixing kids from Shaw and Columbia Heights would only exacerbate their turf war. Kids can now continue to dodge gangs in their own hood.

Housing: 3

As its nickname suggests, this hood bears the markings of the real-estate boom, and the ongoing bust is just starting to chip away at the inflationary spiral. A nice 2-bedroom condo will set you back $800,000 in these parts. A few hundred square feet more in a single-family home will fall in the same ballpark.

Eats: 9

You wont go hungry in the Land of the Loft. Penn Quarter is a regionalif not nationaldining destination. U Street isntexcept for the hordes from all over who flock to Bens Chili Bowl. Chinatown has a monopoly on chain fare.

Consumer Goods: 11

Try U Street for overpriced designer heels, 14th Street for overpriced furniture, Chinatown for overpriced sporting goods and clothes. And dont complain about the pricesyoure paying for convenience, style, and a vibrant D.C. retail sector.

Nightlife and Culture: 11

Both yesterday and today, Shaw has been D.C.s go-to neighborhood for good music and the occasional blowjob in an abandoned building. Penn Quarters the place to get pickled and to see history pickled in place at one of the many museums.

Intangibles: 6

Historythe good, the bad, the uglydoesnt get much better than the Civil War, Black Broadway, the 68 riots, and the efforts to exploit Duke Ellingtons good name with seemingly every new restaurant and condo.

Land of the Loft in the City Paper Archives

Cleaning Up the Green Latrine
How the Mayor, His Wife, the Liquor Board, and ACT UP Became Entangled in the Future of a Trashy Bar

The Great Mall of China
Can Alfred Liu save Chinatown from the barbarians at the archway?

A Trailer Odyssey
No longer compatible with the "new" downtown, the Open Door Shelter for homeless women may once again be on the move.

Good Ol' Boys in the Hood
The youngsters from Kentucky made many mistakes in dealing with their local street hustler. One of them was buying him a birthday cake.

"No One's Going to Stop Me"
Can any old guy from Maryland make it into the Washington establishment? Ask Tony Cord.

The Way We Slammed: Fifteen Years of Punk, Art, and Commerce at the 9:30 Club
Decadent art scene, neighborhood hangout, hardcore-punk sweatbox, and alternative-rock crucible—the 9:30 Club has lived many lives in its 15 years.

Journeys With Gheorghe
The tallest player in NBA history teaches me how to be short.

Let's See If Y'all Can Win Without Me.
Every year, Cardozo Senior High School baseball coach Frazier OLeary must try to unseat league champion Wilson with no funding, a borrowed field, and a roster of neophytes. This season, he also needs to get his best player to buy into the team.

Logan Circle

Where Would Jesus Park?
City goes easy on car-driving Logan Circle congregations.

Uniformed Protection
Loss of Tactical Prostitution Unit Has Logan Circle Residents Feeling Surrounded


Shaw and Tell
Scenes from U Street: 2000 to 2007

Truce and Consequences
The anatomy of a fatal turf war in Shaw


  • funny that the picture is of the Floridian, on Florida between V and W, when it isn't even in this neighborhood according to the CP map

  • Terwilliker Jun. 27, 2008
    10:19 pm

    yawn, yet another condemnation of "reverse racism" from an easily impressed yuppie who thinks extra vowels and steel and glass are somehow unique. Future low-income housing of tomorrow. Meanwhile the city is busying itself with trying to get rid of those pesky low-income families with children... cap rates, another concept the liberal-arts employed literati seem unfamiliar with when they yap on about how their neighborhood was saved by the business community. Chinatown is a pathetic imitation of Times Square -- the new festival-marketplace Times Square. The city actually FORCED a developer to demolish the last galleries in Gallery Place -- he didn't want to, but the city wanted high-income "loft-style" housing on the opposite side of the block from his project, so...

  • Terwilliker, instead of bitchin about the hood, why don't you contribute to make it better or do you want the hood to go back to a hellhole. Also, no one wants to get rid of low-income families. Where is your proof?? If they are displaced it's because of supply and demand. It's been around since time began. I was raised out in Fairfax and I can't afford a home in my old neighborhood. So I guess I should bitch that "Fairfax" wants to get rid of middle income families??