D.C: Worth Getting Excited About?

When I lived in Colombia I wrote about Colombia. Now I live in Centreville but writing about Centreville is, quite honestly, not all that riveting. So I will write about D.C because it’s close enough. In my opinion, people just don’t get excited about D.C the way they do about, say New York, Chicago, Boston or San Francisco. How many songs can you think of about D.C? But why is this? I think there are many reasons, but in my personal, non-expert view, I think immigration patterns have a lot to do with this. New York, Chicago, Boston — these are all immigrant cities, places where character and neighborhoods developed thanks in large part to waves of immigration from all over the world. Can you imagine Boston without the Irish, new York without Little Italy or Chinatown,  Los Angeles without Mexicans? I think not. But D.C has, for most of its history, been a black and white city, a place where most inhabitants, whether long-time or transient, can trace their ancestry in America at least a century back. For a long time, Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbanites viewed D.C as a place you would definitely not raise a family, worth visiting only to see historic sites and occasionally dine in a nice restaurant in Georgetown or Dupont.  But I think things are changing. Over the last 20 to 30 years,  Salvadoran, Vietnamese and Ethiopian immigrants have started arriving in D.C and spicing things up a bit and somehow, D.C seems a little hipper and younger — and maybe ever so slightly less stuffy — than it has in the past. Some of you received an e-mail from me asking your opinion about D.C., but a D.C resident suggested I post the questions on my blog to try to make things a little more interactive. So here it goes. Feel free to contribute your thoughts in this journey to define D.C and figure out what kind of city this is. Feel free to add any more D.C insight you may have!
1.) Why do you think D.C doesn’t get as much press as other cities (outside of politics, that is).  It seems like most T.V shows, movies and books take place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston or random places, but unless it has something directly to do with the president, not much takes place in D.C. Not even reality T.V takes place here. You don’t see too many romantic comedies taking place in D.C.
2.) Do you think D.C has character? If so, how would you describe that character? What are some words you would use to describe the city?
3.) What are some of the biggest drawbacks of living in D.C? If you don’t live in D.C, why did you choose to live elsewhere?
4.) What are some of the best things about living in D.C? (or the D.C area?)

5.) How long do you plan to stay here?

Categories: D.C, The Urban Anthropologist Files

Tags: , ,

1 reply

  1. DC has a lot to offer. Some of my favorite aspects of living in the city include:
    –access to great public transportation
    –beautiful neighborhoods that have a strong community feel (like where I live by Eastern Market)
    –access to great cultural events (sometimes free) like book talks & signings , public speakers, and concerts
    –the presence of a lot of young people makes the city feel vibrant
    –beautiful paths along the Potomac that are heavily used by bikers and runners
    –the bike valet at Nationals Park
    –events at Sixth & I
    –great restaurants and bars

    Like any city, it also has its drawbacks:
    –it can often not feel like a ‘real’ or big city due to the height restrictions
    –persistent crime issues
    –no cheap 24 hour deli/convenient stores like in NYC
    –rent is is expensive
    –drink prices can be ridiculous

    Despite these drawbacks, I plan on staying here until I can no longer afford it and am forced to move out to the burbs. This will probably coincide with a decision to have a family since house prices are so high in a lot of the desirable neighborhoods.

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