Saturday, January 31, 2009
Some people move to DC and feel compelled to live “in the city” for a while, and I take no issue with that, unless your desire simply to have a DC street address overpowers your ability to comprehend the fact that some parts of DC are actually way more sucky than others.
I elected to live in Clarendon, where I pay half the rent for twice the space in a crime-free neighborhood that’s three metro stops, a $13 cab ride, or a 30-minute walk from the city. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered living near Dupont, Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, or similar for a while just in order to file the experience. So if it is important that you experience life “in the city” and you make the decision to invest your time and resources doing so, then more power to you. I even understand why you might not want to come all the way across that big river separating the District and the state governed from the former capital of the Conferederacy: you paid the premium to live “in the city” so it makes sense to preference hanging out “in the city” and to encourage your friends to join you there whenever possible.
But if you live in Columbia Heights, you are not living “in the city” — you are living in an crime-ridden area exploiting the tax dollars of district taxpayers in a feeble attempt to one day resemble the worst parts of Ballston or Pentagon City. You also live on Green Line, which essentially negates all advantages of being “in the city” in the first place. Columbia Heights is a 7-minute metro ride to Gallery Place. Crystal City is an 11-minute metro ride to Gallery Place, and Clarendon is 12 minutes from Metro Center. And you probably live father from the metro than most people who live in Arlington, so it’s basically a wash at best. Want to go to Dupont, the Triangle, Adams Morgan, or Cap Hill? I guess you can cab it and maybe beat me there by 4 minutes.
And places like Shaw and Columbia Heights are at least the new up-and-coming areas for yuppies to twitter their city experience from their iPhones. Some people who need the feel of living “in the city” actually move to Tenleytown or Petworth or even 10th & Florida NE — are you people crazy? This includes people I work with whose office is in freaking Ballston! If you need to show people you have a DC address that badly just write DC on your return envelopes — as long as the zip code matches the Post Office will probably still be able to find you. Petworth? Really??
Yeah, I think I’ve just insulted pretty much 90% of the people I hang out with. Whatever. I live in Clarendon and I am in DC at least five times a week. It takes me less time to get where I usually need to be than it did when I lived in downtown Nashville and owned a car. And when I want to stay close to home, I’m a five-minute walk from everything I need and there’s plenty of nightlife and zero crime. If you want to live “in the city” then that’s your business, but please don’t sacrifice your brain to do so.