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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Neighborhood

I've been living in Columbia Heights for a couple weeks now. A few observations on the neighborhood:
  • The neighborhood is definitely diverse -- the apartment building behind us appears to be exclusively Latino, along with most of the large buildings in the area; the single-family rowhomes like ours seem to be mixed black and white residents.

  • Mount Pleasant, a historically Latino neighborhood just across 16th Street from us, is a really nice amenity. There's a small independent hardware store, a bakery (with good doughnuts!), ethnic takeout food ("Burrito-Fast", anyone?), a bank, and several Latino groceries. There's also a small but good farmer's market on Saturdays, the best news there is that my favorite fruit vendor from Baltimore, Reid's Orchard, is also at this one. Their fruit is great, and their apple selection is huge. (If you've never had the opportunity to try a Pink Lady apple, I highly recommend it.)

  • When my friend Paul was in town last week, I took him to a bar in Columbia Heights that I had heard was cool. The Wonderland Ballroom turns out to be really cool indeed -- an awesome jukebox, grungy vibe, neighborhood crowd my age, patio out front, and, amazingly for DC, cheap food and beer (who can argue with "$2 footlong hotdogs with chili and/or cheese"?). Nice to have this in the neighborhood.

  • The local Giant (supermarket) is good, though about a 10-min walk. And though I'm somewhat ashamed to say it, I'm really looking forward to when Target (and Staples, and Marshall's, and Bed Bath & Beyond...) opens across the street in a few months. Big-box chain stores they may be, but those big boxes will be stacked and shorn of their surface parking lots, and it's mighty handy to be able to walk down the block and buy pretty much anything you might need.

  • As for neighbors we've met, the retired couple who live to one side of us seem to be very nice. The husband told us to avoid the guy who's often sitting on the front porch to the other side of us. The guy seems relatively harmless, but he's pretty much always drunk, and wears his flourescent mesh Comcast contractor safety vest no matter what he's doing (which may be a result of the drunkeness, or it may be meant to convey an air of authority, or both). In any case, turning down his offers of handyman help does seem like a wise idea.

  • The bike ride to work turns out to be about 20 minutes, a tad longer than I had hoped, but still pretty good. I have a bike lane most of the way, and there are more cyclists than in Baltimore, so it feels comfortable.

Anyway, I'm really liking the new place. And with the loaner dining room table that Laura and Stephen so kindly delivered today, the house is feeling pretty homey. Come visit...

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