On this beautiful Saturday, Capitol Hill looks like a dream. Families frolicking at the park, the sun shining down to accentuate the rainbow of colors that paint the row houses… every dog you pass is wagging its’ tail. Who wouldn’t want to live in this magical paradise?! (A lot of people, actually, but more on that later.)
Our family set out this morning with no plan, as we do on most Saturdays. With nothing but a stroller and a couple of pullups for our 2-year-old, we went from ballet class to the coffee shop to Lincoln Park, and then Eastern Market for pupusas at our favorite dive, Tortilla Cafe.
Everyone seemed to have the same idea and the same goal: enjoy our neighborhood on these perfect days and forget (ignore?) the other side of the Hill whenever we can. That’s certainly what we were trying to do for my 5-year old’s classmate and friend who joined us today so that her parents could get themselves together after their house was ransacked and robbed while they were at work yesterday.
The victims live very close to our kid’s elementary school and just a block and a half from Lincoln Park… one of the most beautiful parks in our nation’s capitol; and they’re now– not for the first time– feeling unsafe. Anyone who moves to our neighborhood knows it’s not perfect. We’ve all traded in our big back yards (and warm fuzzies we used to get about not having to lock the door) for all that this neighborhood has to offer. For us that means (mostly) wonderful neighbors, a backdrop others only enjoy in movies, short walks to parks and museums and rave-worthy restaurants. There are also occasional gunshots, robberies, and problems with a school system that’s improving by leaps and bounds… but still near the bottom of the barrel.
“So when are you moving?”
“Ohhhh, you live in DC? How’s that?”
“Do you plan on staying there when the girls are in school? Even middle and high school?”
“DC, huh? That’s a nice place… to visit.”
These are things people say to me every day with more than just a hint of disapproval. The neighborhood is changing… gentrifying, which I only recently found out that some people aren’t fans of. To be clear, I am pro-gentrification. I have to be in order to maintain my sense of hope that the good parts of this Washington wonderland will one day take over and the bad.
So yes, I do plan to stay here and I hope this blog helps to explain why.