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Old Posted Mar 27, 2017, 7:39 PM
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DC's Georgia Avenue: A local main street

Georgia Avenue is DC's longest street, and one of its main neighborhood retail corridors. It's on the edge of the gentrified part of town, so some parts of it are booming and look very wealthy, while others are not and do not.

Here are some pictures. They're mostly from 2014, but I've never posted them before so pretend they're new, and think back to that simpler pre-Trump time.

Let's start at Petworth Metro station. If you look at a map of DC, Petworth is near the geographic center. But it's near the northern end of the genuinely urban part of DC. South of Petworth, apartments and rowhouses grow denser and denser towards downtown. North of here, rowhouses gradually give way to bungalows and then, eventually, to suburbia.

Near the Metro station, DC-style midrises dominate. Many are recent infill.












Looking south towards downtown, the density along Georgia declines because the Metro veers west under a different street. A block off Georgia amid the rowhouses the density goes up, but along Georgia itself, the density clusters most by the Metro.




This is the land of rowhouse-scaled retail.








We reach the campus of Howard University, a prominent HBCU, and the character changes. Intimate sidewalk-hugging retail gives way to large setback institutional buildings on one side, and parks and parking lots on the other.






The old Washington Senators used to play here, at a stadium long gone.




Between Howard and U Street, the city has recently installed DC's first red-carpet bus lanes. The red gives car drivers no excuse, and drastically cuts down on illegal use.






We reach U Street and the activity picks up a lot.









South of U Street, Georgia Avenue becomes 7th Street. It's the same street, but a different name. This also marks the spot where the Metro rejoins Georgia/7th and runs under it on the way to downtown. This is Shaw Metro station.




The density increases again, as rowhouse-scale gives way to midrise-scale more permanently.








The old O Street Market, now a modern supermarket.




Continuing south, we reach the DC convention center. This stretch of road was burned during riots in 1968, following the assassination of MLK, and then completely rebuilt in the later 20th Century during urban renewal. It's not high quality urbanism.




But looking downtown you can see that the central city is getting close.




South of the urban renewal zone, the buildings get nicer. And eventually larger, as we enter into Chinatown.












DC's Chinatown is, well, unique. There's not much about the old Chinese neighborhood that's left. Instead, you get DC's version of Times Square: Extremely active, filled with national chains. It's a fun area with a lot of vitality, but aside from a handful of leftovers, it's Chinese in name only.


















The arena for the NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals is here. It was the anchor that made this neighborhood what it is, for both good and ill.




Across the street from the arena is the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian museum.




The Portrait Gallery's steps serve as a defacto park.




But if you venture inside, the Portrait Gallery's interior courtyard is one of DC's best indoor public spaces.


photo by bassel mudarris on flickr; all other photos in this thread are mine

South of the arena/museum block, you're go through a short stretch of downtown DC called Penn Quarter, before reaching the National Mall.






















We reach Pennsylvania Avenue, where local DC becomes federal DC. At the intersection, Indiana Plaza, with its double-peaked pink building and Civil War memorial.






Beyond that, Pennsylvania Avenue, the National Mall, and all the famous monuments you've seen 1,000 times before.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2017, 9:26 PM
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Nice pictures. I was wondering if you would include something about Griffith Stadium.

Besides the arch, which isn't terribly old, what else is authentically Chinese or Chinese-American?
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2017, 9:40 PM
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Interesting & informative thread.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Besides the arch, which isn't terribly old, what else is authentically Chinese or Chinese-American?
The arch was added in 1986. There are several Chinese restaurants and bakeries, a handful of tchotchke shops, and one large apartment building that's almost entirely Chinese residents. It's not nothing, but it's not much. It's also worth noting that among Chinatown's two main commercial streets, H Street is more local and more Chinese than 7th Street.

Anyway, here's a little of that.




image from google street view


image from google street view
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 1:12 AM
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Great tour and commentary. I spent several days in this area last Summer. I did love the vitality of the neighborhood and there's a ton of street life and vitality, and wonderful restaurants, but DC's Chinatown was really disappointing. I also thought the Verizon Center was an incredible eyesore. The architecture is pretty terrible and uninspiring. I was impressed with the nearby CityCentre development, which reminded me of Rodeo Drive or parts of Madison Avenue here in NYC. Oh, and the Portrait Gallery and Carnegie Library are gems!
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 1:26 AM
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 2:10 AM
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Really enjoyed this tour. Thank you.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 4:49 PM
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Interesting historical building at 604 H St. NW (now much altered) is the Mary Surratt boarding house, where the Lincoln conspirators met to plan their attempt to kidnap the President. Mrs. Surratt was later convicted and hanged as a conspirator.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 5:09 PM
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Lived in DC from 85 to 95. What a huge change in this area! What is most striking is all the new construction and all the white residents in the area. Shaw was just starting to gentrify by the time I left, and there was a bit of activity up around U Street. The corridor north of downtown was rather underpopulated back then, but it was a mostly black population. The changes downtown are profound. I remember 7th Street with porno shops and mostly gay clubs with nude dancers on top of the bar, The Chesapeake House being the most notorious. Chinatown had a lot of all night restaurants, but nobody lived down there.

Last edited by austlar1; Mar 28, 2017 at 5:30 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2017, 6:40 PM
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The Chinatown area looks like a very nice neighbourhood! Have only visited DC for half a day in 1998.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2017, 9:07 PM
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Great pictures! I was wondering if you would show something regarding the history of Griffith Stadium in the area.

In Chinatown, besides the arch, what are the last remnants of true Chinese or Chinese-American architecture that you alluded to?
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Old Posted Mar 29, 2017, 9:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx
In Chinatown, besides the arch, what are the last remnants of true Chinese or Chinese-American architecture that you alluded to?
Didn't I answer that with this reply? I'm not sure what else you'd like to know. I could add in some Street View pictures of more of the remaining Chinese shops & restaurants, I guess, but there really aren't that many. Maybe a dozen total.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
I was wondering if you would show something regarding the history of Griffith Stadium in the area.
It's where the Howard University hospital is now.

This image overlays the stadium's site on current(ish) aerial:

image via white knuckled wanderer

This shows the stadium when it still existed. Georgia Avenue is the street running along the top right corner of the image, with the two visible streetcars. The photo from my original set that included the historical marker of the stadium was taken from approximately the same spot as the streetcar on the right in this photo:

via ballparksofbaseball.com
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Old Posted Mar 29, 2017, 10:30 PM
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Looks very hip and fashionable.
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Old Posted Mar 29, 2017, 10:54 PM
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Great tour Dan. I do missing working in the Chinatown area. Always something interesting. Thanks.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2017, 2:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Didn't I answer that with this reply? I'm not sure what else you'd like to know. I could add in some Street View pictures of more of the remaining Chinese shops & restaurants, I guess, but there really aren't that many. Maybe a dozen total.

It's where the Howard University hospital is now.

This image overlays the stadium's site on current(ish) aerial:

image via white knuckled wanderer

This shows the stadium when it still existed. Georgia Avenue is the street running along the top right corner of the image, with the two visible streetcars. The photo from my original set that included the historical marker of the stadium was taken from approximately the same spot as the streetcar on the right in this photo:

via ballparksofbaseball.com
LOL! The thread showed up without that arrow indicating a reply. I was looking at work and figured I thought of my comment but closed the window when something came up. When I went to check and see if I posted something beforehand, I breezed right past that post thinking the pictures were part of the original post. Sorry!
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 6:17 PM
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Great pics, thanks for sharing! I love DC!
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 7:26 PM
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Awesome

The momentum of DC's growth has really been powerful, hasn't it? I hope it doesn't slow under the new president, which many local business owners have voiced concern over.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2017, 10:49 PM
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my old stomping grounds. great pics!

I would love to see a walk down columbia heights, adams morgan, u street and down 14th to see all the changes.
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2017, 9:47 PM
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My old stomping grounds. The transformation is amazing. This was a very grungy area when I lived here in the mid to late 80s. Not a place for folks without street smarts.
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Old Posted Apr 15, 2017, 6:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
The arch was added in 1986. There are several Chinese restaurants and bakeries, a handful of tchotchke shops, and one large apartment building that's almost entirely Chinese residents. It's not nothing, but it's not much. It's also worth noting that among Chinatown's two main commercial streets, H Street is more local and more Chinese than 7th Street.

Anyway, here's a little of that.




image from google street view


image from google street view

When I grew up in DC in the 70's and 80's and there use to be a place called "China Inn" restaraunt. Does anyone remember it? It was the best Chinese restaraunt at the time. I had many childhood memories with my father. We use to go there after watching movies in Georgetown then head over to Chinatown. Sadly, today's Chinatown in DC is a joke and it's a shame that China Inn and the couple of other places (including the one that use to make the best Ginger Crab) are all gone. But's that's life and things change
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