Every week I roam around DC either on business or for pleasure. It truly is a wonderful place to explore. There is so much to do here and you can do lots of things at no charge. The Smithsonian Museums always have educational exhibits with wonderful gardens, quiet places for you to sit and some nice restaurants. On those ventures out there is one thing that is constant, this place changes every month.
Now let me start by stating that I find it difficult and quite annoying finding a term to use, when I refer to this place. If I say to you I am from “Jersey” you know that means New Jersey which a state in the United States. When I write that I am from Newark, most know that is a city in the state of New Jersey. When talking to Jersey people here in DC some may ask what county is that? For the record Newark is located in Essex County.
But I have to refer to DC as The District! What is that? It’s not a city, state or county. There is no city our county council. The District of Columbia Council is referred to as just that the DC Council. There is a Mayor who leads the District, a chief of police, a chief of the fire department and school chancellor. It is part of the reason we want to become a state.
I came to the District to live in 2007 and it has become a totally different place in these short seven years. As the Capitol of our nation, this place is full of historical monuments and buildings. There are laws protecting them, thank goodness, and they are off limits. But all other places are fair game. The developers have taken advantage of every inch of land they can obtain.
When I say change, I mean this place has undergone a metamorphosis. It is sometimes scary how much . My co-workers and I were discussing how they go out and venture off their regular routes or try a new area to hang out and they can’t recognize the neighborhood. Some of the stories were comical.
One of them has a niece who started attending Catholic University in September and he gave her directions to the train station near his home. He told her to get on the METRO (train system) the Redline and take it to “New York Ave”. Now this co-worker is a cyclist, which is big here in DC. He rides to and from work and rarely takes the METRO.
So when he said this part of the story, “get off at New York Ave”. Most of us take the METRO system and we just laughed. He was like oh you guys know how this ended! The poor girl took the train almost to the end of the line, because there is no more New York METRO stop. Well, the station is still there but the name changed to NoMA/Galluadet over two years ago!
There are buildings where there were parking lots. Many of the developers have built apartment buildings at the METRO stops. They have created a small city right there in the parking lot, with apartment buildings, restaurants, government offices (the DMV), bike racks to lock your bikes up, cabbie stops and bust depots.
This summer there were multiple times I walked down a street to attend a meeting and my land mark was gone. I usually have a building that I know where to make a right or left turn. The buildings will be gone with a hole in the ground waiting for the next project.
The behind the scenes and political implications of these changes will be the topic of multiple posts this year. Because of course with all of this growth there are questions around Social Equity for the community. That’s the fun part for me. Is this change good for all the residents of the District? Who will benefit more? How do we ensure that all citizens of the District will benefit from this?
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