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Monday, July 25, 2011

Examiner.com: Can You Revive What's Lost?

Ah fact checking, that forgotten art. At least it seems to have been forgotten by the author of Can One Revive What is Gone? H Street Culture that appears on the website Examiner.com (not associated with The Examiner). I won't really dive into this one because it reads more like a Ward 5 listerv email that was written at 3am and fired off without a decent proofread. But a few points I can't resist:
-It's the Atlas Performing Arts Center, not Atlas Arts and Cultural Center.
-$8 beers do not dominate the bars and restaurants on H Street.
-It's the Rock and Roll Hotel, NOT the Hard Rock Cafe.
-It's HR-57, not HR52 (and if this "HR52" is "at the far end of 'H" Street," what hotels and museums is the author discussing? Because I thought she was including NW for a sec there).
-It was the Ohio Restaurant not the Ohio Bar and Grill.

41 comments:

monkeyrotica said...

It's also "Horace & Dickie's" not "Horace & Dickey."

Anonymous said...

what a rambling, incoherent mess...some people shouldnt be allowed to write

Anonymous said...

King assassination. Not Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

HR-57, not HR52.

Anonymous said...

^Oh, you already got that one. Is this article a joke? Has this person ever been to H Street?

Rayful Edmond said...

Quick, give me some Visine. My eyes are burning.

Anonymous said...

I preferred the culture of trash everywhere, vacant lots, crime, drugs, destroyed infrastructure, steel fronts after hours on all businesses, a constant sense of danger and so much more! Please bring back that beautiful culture.

Gonzo said...

OMG, what a hot tranny mess of an article. Be vigilent H street.

Anonymous said...

That's it. Halfway through the article marked the moment I became unabashedly pro-gentrification.

Anonymous said...

Evidently grammar is optional these days.

MJ said...

This reads more like a manifesto than a newspaper editorial, but that's probably the lack of punctuation and breaks. It probably could be a decent piece if it was fixed up but it's a hot mess as it is.

and I'm pretty sure you can beat a dead horse, it's just pointless.

Brian said...

Ms. Turner, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Mari said...

"...$8.00 beers that dominates the bars and restaurants whereas as they used to be a place that you could sit with your friends and enjoy the daily talk about community and what has happened or transpired during your day at work."
'there' not 'they'. I make grammer mistakes all the time, but then again I'm not backed by a paper that supposidly has an editor.
The museums must be the Post Office museum because that's the closest one I can think of.

Tom A. said...

The woman probably attended DC public schools, so I'll give her a break on the horrible grammar in her opinion piece.

I'm more intrigued what this website actually is. Is it a place for bloggers to post without having to actually crate their own blog? They boast over 2100 writers, and the want more!!

The site seems to be a bunch of opinion pieces, ads, and links to news stories from other sources.

What's the point? I suppose if they have 5,000 writers, each one of them would be able to brag that they were published, and then people will go read their stories, and advertisers will make money. I can't imagine this site being anything OTHER than a money making venture.

Tom A. said...

I just clicked on "club scene" on the website, and the newest article is from May 1st- nearly 3 months ago!

Tom A. said...

And the latest "public transportation" article is from 2010.

oboe said...

This article speaks to a larger point: as neighborhoods change, you can either embrace that change, or you can let it pass you by. I'm assuming the author is a black woman of a certain age. My mother is white, and lives in the suburbs, but she could've written this same article.

"Once upon a time in the suburbs, people used to talk to one another, and eat at each other's homes, and they had retail that catered to, you know, normal people like me.

"But that was before the Hispanics all moved in. Now no one talks to one another, or visits with one another, and all the restaurants and stores are weird and alien!"

My guess is the newly settled Hispanic population that live in the neighborhood I grew up in sees things quite differently.

It reminds me of the article that was posted here a few months ago that featured the middle-aged woman who lives in a big suburban house in PG County decrying the fact that her mother (who she abandoned to the old neighborhood) didn't have as many friends as she used to in the "old days".

"Damn those newcomers not joining the church my abandoned mama belongs to! She could use the company!"

Gonzo said...

The Examiner (website) is a joke. They advertise for "writers" all the time on Craigslist... so... there you have it.

my baby speaks clearer said...

What in the hell did she say??? It made no sense and was hard to follow. I can only assume that she did not really attend any journalism courses OR if she did, slept all through them.
DAAAAAA

Anonymous said...

H street was something back in the day before crack destroyed it. Chocolate city has had 20+ years to turn this area around. The new vision of H might not jive with Ms. Turner's but how long did she expect for H street to stay a museum to her youth?

johnny cougar said...

i once wrote an article that read like this one....and then I turned 6.

Anonymous said...

This same "author" has a post on her blog asking the question that's on everybody's mind: Who is Capital Bikeshare For?

http://brendabeyt.blogspot.com/2010/11/bikeshare-program-in-dc-who-knew-and.html

Its all part of The Plan.

Anonymous said...

These times, Ms. Turner, puffed when the H street black leadership decided to leave and visit the area only on Sundays.

Gonzo said...

Pehaps she feel much the same way about those elitist public trash cans as she does bicycles.

Anonymous said...

longest sentences ever what am i reading here good lord my head hurts help please

Anonymous said...

Riding bikes is racist?

fourth said...

TBD put together a helpful list of all H St related articles since 2006. (A useful exercise, since it isn't like they're generating much interesting content of their own these days).

http://www.tbd.com/articles/2011/07/h-street-gentrification-and-revitalization-is-an-old-story-64140.html

(Sorry, I don't know how to make a hotlink. Fail. And to add further insult, the word verification blogger has given me for this comment is: fuccu)

deq said...

one thing is evident, there are people who are very upset by the way h street and dc is changing and developing. you can make fun of them and point out their mistakes( lord knows it's like shooting fish in a barrel), but that won't change their feelings.

maybe you don't care, but i think it's a very big problem that is getting worse.

Anonymous said...

I can't change their feelings but maybe they would feel more comfortable across the bridge. A place where little kids can still be found riding their bikes in the liquor store parking lot after 10:00pm at nite.

Gonzo said...

Gentrification comes and goes with much pointless and cynical whining in between. I think Columbia Heights is beyond the discussion at this point. The debate on H St. is a flashback to the discussion Columbia Heights had from 2000-2009. The only serious backlash that I foresee is a second term for a corrupt and ineffective Mayor, but even that seems doubtful.

Yes, riding bikes is a terribly racist thing to do. The nerve of those people! And right out in public and everything! What is this, a free country?

sansum said...

The Examiner is a rag. The debate shouldn't be "change or no change" (no one wants the bad old days), but what kind of change. Obviously aspects of how parts of the city are changing are not welcomed by the people who have been living there. This is siginificant. If your solution to making the community better is "my way or the highway" (which is what oboe says), people are going to push back in all sorts of ways. Are you going to listen or not? Why do you think Fenty was booted out?

deq said...

i hear you samsun.

H Street Hippie said...

People are obviously frustrated with the community development taking place along H Street. Maybe people do feel left out, but it’s not for lack of effort among the newbies. On my block you can tell which families have lived there the longest because they're the ones who never come to the neighborhood barbeques (despite countless invitations) and instead sit and watch with suspicion and mumble indiscernible but obviously negative comments about the new neighbors every time they pass by. You can tell by the houses that are dilapidated and yards unkept, and the angst with which the dilapidated home's owners approach the newbies. How long are the new owners expected to engage the old timers in conversation (despite repeated failures) before it becomes apparent that no matter what they do, they'll never be welcome in their own neighborhood?!?

People are obviously frustrated with the community development taking place along H Street. Maybe people do feel left out, but it’s not for lack of effort among the newbies. On my block you can tell which families have lived there the longest because they're the ones who never come to the neighborhood barbeques (despite countless invitations) and instead sit and watch with suspicion and mumble indiscernible but obviously negative comments about the new neighbors every time they pass by. You can tell by the houses that are somewhat dilapidated with unkept yards, and the angst with which the dilapidated home's owners approach the newbies. How long are the new owners expected to engage the old timers in conversation (despite repeated failures) before it becomes apparent that no matter what they do, they'll never be welcome in their own neighborhood?!?

At a certain point, residents either engage in the neighborhood development and improve the neighborhood and wellbeing (there were community meetings about bikeshare, for example, which community members were invited to attend and whose input continues to be solicited for expansion of the program), or quit the racist (anti-new/different) undertones and accept that they just don’t want the change because it’s bringing diversity. Ranting may be cathartic for residents who refuse to engage and instead walk the city with distain for new residents, but if the residents of old are not interested in engaging in the evolving, diverse community, maybe they're the ones with the problem, not the newbies. (though I have to say – the Ivy League snobbery exhibited in some of the comments on this blog, such as ripping apart someone for their lack of education, poor grammar, and incoherent writing (maybe due to the failure of the old DC education policies), does nothing to resolve the us versus them divide).

Love your neighbors and embrace them, people (you chose to live in this 'hood)- they're probably not going anywhere anytime soon!

oboe said...

Obviously aspects of how parts of the city are changing are not welcomed by the people who have been living there. This is siginificant. If your solution to making the community better is "my way or the highway" (which is what oboe says), people are going to push back in all sorts of ways. Are you going to listen or not? Why do you think Fenty was booted out?

Hey, I agree that neighbors should listen to one another. It's the neighborly thing to do. But there's a well-documented demographic change, very similar to what's happening in the suburbs. As I said, my parents' neighborhood has bifurcated into Hispanic immigrants with families (and group houses of day laborers) on the one hand, and old, gringo's with empty nests on the other.

Obviously the growing Hispanic population should be respectful of their elderly neighbors, but those "old-timers" have no more nor less of a say in what goes on than the newcomers. And as the elderly age, they either move, or they die, so the demographic change is inexorable.

The same is true of H Street, and DC in general: the children of the "old-timers" like the woman who wrote this article are moving to the suburbs. They're doing this for the same reason middle-class people of all races have always moved to the suburbs: schools, house size, yards, etc...

But there's a growing trend in the US for a non-trivial number of middle-class folks (of all races) to want to live in urban environments. As old-timers move out, and newcomers move in, that's the new reality.

As far as "Why Fenty lost?" there are several factors: first, there's the recession of the national economy and its local effects, particularly in Wards 7 & 8.

Second, there's the school issue: Rhee pissed off a lot of people with (needed) reform, but Fenty also alienated many charter school supporters.

Third, there was the perception (fair or unfair) that a Gray Adminstration would be less corrupt than a Fenty Administration. (Look how that turned out.)

In any case, the next election will look strikingly different from the last one, both because Wards 7 & 8 are losing population faster than any ward, because Gray & various councilmembers now have their own corruption issues to deal with, and because, frankly, the employment situation for unskilled workers is unlikely to turn around significantly any time soon. So the anti-incumbent sentiment will still be at full boil come next election.

If you want a barometer of the changing politics EOTR, you need look no further than Barry's cagy self-reinvention as "champion of welfare reform".

Bottom line is, folks who think that the Fenty loss was evidence of a long-term reversal, or really anything but a blip amplified by the worst economy since the 1930s are deluding themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hippie says: "At a certain point" my way or the highway since people didn't come to your bikeshare meeting.

Oboe says: "Demographic changes" as if they are some mystical unstoppable force that humans have no control over (that just happen to benefit him). In other words, my (or History's) way or the highway.

Do you people not see this?

oboe said...

Oboe says: "Demographic changes" as if they are some mystical unstoppable force that humans have no control over (that just happen to benefit him). In other words, my (or History's) way or the highway.

First of all, in an open society, people get to move where they like. That means into the city; also out of the city. Why not take up the issue of "mystical unstoppable forces" with the Hispanic families living around Wheaton? Why should it be "their way or the highway"? Why won't they just do what my aging parents want them to do?

Why? Because we live in a democracy, and there are no "assigned seats" in life. With the rise of universal automobile ownership in the 50s and 60s, middle-class Americans fled the cities for the suburbs. In the late 60s, with the passage of the Fair Housing Act, hundreds of thousands of black folks who had been denied that opportunity followed them.

That's the demographic change I'm talking about. And no, I don't think something should be "done" about curtailing people's options.

What would we do, anyway? Repeal the Civil Rights Act?

Anyway, your "my way or the highway" rhetoric echoes one of the earlier "ubi sunt H Street" pieces inked linked to earlier. One of the old-timers was complaining about the fact that all these changes were coming to H Street, and that they didn't have any say at all. You do have a say. It's called your ANC, your Councilmember, and your mayor.

Living in a democracy doesn't mean "society caters to my personal whims at all times." And, yes, demographic change explains that.

A lot of folks who own failing businesses on H Street want to point fingers at the street reconstruction, or at City Hall, or the OTR. But the one's who are honest with themselves are trying to adapt to people's changing tastes.


Change is scary; but inevitable. We can't hit the "pause" button and make it 1979 forever. However much we might like to.

oboe said...

In other words, my (or History's) way or the highway.

Just to turn this around, because you seem to have pretty strong feelings about it: What's your alternative model? Specifically, what is it that old timers are prevented from doing now, that should be characterized as "my way or the highway?"

If anything, you should point the finger at the Courtland Milloy's of the world who whip up nostalgia for the good old days after having long ago moved to a McMansion in the suburbs, defunding the city government and abandoning the city to its fate.

oboe said...

If you want to know why the old neighborhood isn't exactly like it was in the Good Old Days, ask PG resident Courtland Milloy:

So is it relevant that Milloy does not live in D.C.?

"You hear that [criticism] a lot," says Milloy, who moved to D.C. in 1975 and moved outside of the District line about six years ago. "My part of Prince George's is often called Ward 9," he says. "It’s easier for me to get into Congress Heights from where I live than anybody on the other side of the river.


(http://tbd.ly/aXgAoG)

Again, what is it specifically that you're lamenting? Whatever it is, the core reason is at the link above.

oboe said...

One last relevant piece (via TNC):

There's been a spate of large-scale studies over the past decade that have turned up a consistent, and surprising, finding: gentrification doesn't, on average, produce a greater rate of turnover within the population of the gentrifying neighborhood.

The pioneering work in the area was done by Lance Freeman at Columbia. He published a national study of gentrification which found near constant rates of turnover. The difference, in gentrifying neighborhoods, was that people who moved out of one housing unit were less likely to wind up someplace else in the same neighborhood, and more likely to be replaced by someone significantly higher up the socioeconomic scale. His study of New York City went a little further, finding that vulnerable populations actually turned over at lower rates in gentrifying areas.

Other studies add nuance, but come to similar conclusions: Jacob Vigdor looked at Boston, for example. And if you pause to think about it, these findings make a great deal of sense. There's often a large quantity of abandoned housing stock and open space, easier to develop than occupied units that require displacement of existing residents. Among the curses of poverty is chronic instability - poor neighborhoods tend to have fairly high rates of turnover to begin with.

Residents are often deeply attached to their neighborhoods, as Ta-Nehisi notes; they may be willing to pay a higher price to stay put, even in the face of rising rents. (Which should be a reminder that displacement is not the only potentially negative effect of gentrification; there may be other costs inflicted on those poorly equipped to bear them.)

The most interesting study of the issue, though, comes from a team of researchers in Colorado, processing census data (1990-2000) at a fine-grained level. Their study found something surprising. The greatest share of the rise of income in gentrifying inner city neighborhoods came from black householders with high school degrees - 33% of the total. That's because they rise as a proportion of the neighborhood's population at the same time that they start to enjoy particularly large increases in income.

Black householders without a high school degree, by contrast, enjoy only modest gains in income, and decline as a proportion of the whole. Similarly, white households with college degrees, particularly those under 40 with no children, account for large gains in neighborhood income; white households without college degrees do not. I'll quote the next portion of their findings:

Synthetic cohort analysis of out-migration finds no evidence of displacement of non-white households, but does find evidence of disproportionate retention of black householders with a high school degree.

In plain English, they're arguing that gentrification isn't forcing people out; it's bringing in yuppies and hipsters, and hanging on to upwardly-mobile minority households that would otherwise have decamped for the suburbs.

And, in the process, it's altering the character of these neighborhoods. It's a useful reminder that 'black' is not a monolithic category - changes that benefit some segments of the community may well be resented by others.

Anonymous said...

This piece was so terrible, why even link to/write an entry on it? I don't think every time the words "H Street" appear in an article it makes it relevant to teh community. This was such a piece of trash, I'm offended at the fact I've seen it and spent any brain power on it.

inked said...

4:43,
I probably would have just ignored it, except that someone had already sent it out on certain local listservs. That tipped the balance the other way for me.