cultural Disneyland

Crime Tears at Seams Of Vibrant Community
Residents Ponder Trade-Offs of Life in Mt. Pleasant

Gregg Edwards, an advisory neighborhood commissioner who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, said the newcomers “say they want to live in a mixed community; they like the idea of it, but it’s not what they want.

“They want something like a cultural Disneyland,” he said, “where the well-ordered natives come out in their brightly colored costumes and there’s management to enforce respect to their betters.”

A good article, the above quote reflects my sentiment about some of the people in the neighborhood, including some of the condo owners in my building. You can usually tell the renters/co-op member from the owners. Owners rarely speak to anyone but each other, even when on an elevator for 7 floors. Renters and co-op residents are happy to say Hello or ¿Como estas? (about all the spanish I know, or need to know to be friendly with most of my neighbors).

Jenifer and I went to the Dupont Circle farmer’s market the other weekend and after wandering around she said, “It’s true, there aren’t any gay people left in Dupont.” If you were to walk around the farmer’s market in Mount Pleasant, you might think there were no blacks, hispanics or latin-americans in my neighborhood either.

Then again, Mount Pleasant feels like home to me and probably always will. It was the first place I lived when moving to DC and I’m back again and it’s such a culturally rich area which is unfortunately giving way to becoming a bit of a white-washed affluent area, and I don’t think the two can easily mesh. I like living on a street without a Starbucks or any fast food restaurants, the local shops know my face and sometimes even my name. That’s pretty hard to find in most areas of the city as well as the area being racially/culturally blended.

Unfortunately, crime is everywhere, we do live in DC after all. This morning the webmaster at work who lives in the MD suburbs told us that over the weekend, his pizza delivery woman was mugged at gunpoint right outside his house after making her delivery. And just this past Saturday there were two more robberies, each less than a block from where I live, no one hurt, thankfully. I guess I just have no illusions that my neighborhood is going to turn into utopia just because the houses are selling for $800k and up. Sometimes I fear that’s what people want though, to buy up the properties in a part of the city and then steamroll out the local business and throw Pottery Barns and Starbucks on every corner. Mmmm, Disneyland indeed.

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