Friday, May 15, 2009

Logan Circle (DC) Love

I thought I would take a little time to show some love to my little corner of Washington, DC, Logan Circle.

I've been here for about three years now. I have a cousin who moved to the neighborhood (he lives on Logan Circle) back in 1997. And I fully admit that I am completely spoiled. Whole Foods is one block from my spot. The bars Halo (now Number Nine) and Stoney's, and the restaurants Logan Tavern and 1409 Playbill are places I tend to haunt (great folks work at these places too).

Having worked in historic preservation for the last six years, I have had many conversations and given a number of presentations on the issue of gentrification and its relationship to preservation and community revitalization. Most people would look at Logan Circle and immediately see it as a "gentrified" neighborhood. And, it is. I also liked the fact that my building is wildly multi-cultural and convenient. Yet, it remains a predominantly black and middle/upper middle class community, which would surprise many.

There are tensions, and certainly things that I would want to change in the neighborhood. For example, one of the more popular stores in the neighborhood (and a relatively recent addition), Universal Gear, suffered a brazen robbery during the day just recently (I think the store itself posted the surveillance vid on YouTube). We also had two of the local banks vandalized during the World Bank/IMF meetings last month. Sadly, that is a part of city living, a part that I would love to see eliminated.

I raised the issue of gentrification to show that the term really means change. It is not automatically negative. Neighborhoods can drive change, if they have the right support (which I hope I can provide to diverse neighborhoods around the country). Logan Circle will continue to work through its issues, but the neighborhood is strong, and residents have a great deal of pride here.

I hope that folks who come to visit DC will get beyond the monumental core and check out Logan Circle, as well as the other great neighborhoods around the city (U Street, NW Corridor, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, H Street, NE Corridor). It's well worth it.

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