Friday Night Fun on Columbia Road

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Department of Parks and Recreation Trailer Bed
On Friday, July 24, 2009, I strolled over to the party on Columbia Road between 14th and 13th Streets that was put on by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).  My wife and puppy joined me and we stayed there for a short twenty minutes (I think all the activity was too much for the pup).  We hung out and listened to the music, talked with a few woman about our puppy, and played with a few children.  I went to the party after hearing about it from New Columbia Heights (whose blog was the only source of information on the event that I could find anywhere…nothing on DPR’s or MPD’s websites).  The BandHowever, New Columbia Heights received incorrect information from MPD’s Third District Listserve that there was a basketball tournament and light refreshments being provided.  Although I didn’t notice a basketball tournament taking place, there was a cool band playing some beats (I heard this was a band of police officers) and a nice collection of people enjoying their Friday night together.  It seemed that the event was mostly only attended by the directly adjacent neighbors.

Children Showing Off for the Camera
Prince of Petworth reader brought up the good point that the event was very poorly advertised: “There were no flyers posted, no notices taken door-to-door, no email from any of the various email lists, nothing from Jim Graham’s office (and you know he’s quick on the email draw when it comes to shootings!) no mention on any of the neighborhood blogs, nothing in the Post.”  But I disagree with that reader’s sentiment that it was unfortunate that the event didn’t have a more diverse crowd there in attendance.  I assume DPR and MPD intentionally put on the event for the residents of the surrounding blocks and that these folks knew about the event well in advance.  Some of the Metropolitan Police Department Representatives
That’s not to say that I think the event was planned as an exclusive gathering, but I would venture a guess that the event planners were pleased with the turnout and happy that their target audience was in attendance.  Is it not okay to have events planned and run by government agencies that lack diversity?  Isn’t it even occasionally important to provide these events for specific groups of people?  I’d have to say I think it is, but I’m open to listening to others.  What do you think?

A View of the Band and the Crowd

Another View of the Party

Another Band and Crowd shot

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2 responses to “Friday Night Fun on Columbia Road

  1. gorillaintheroom

    Hi I subscribed to your blog because you seem to be the only one in DC I ever found to blog about your neighborhood. Though I’m not saying I’ve seen every single blog out there 🙂

    Anyway, I saw this little shin dig on my way home from work last friday and didn’t even know what it was! There is a very clear difference of racial backgrounds in Columbia Heights though. One block you see a yuppy-looking restaurant, The Heights, (I’m not saying anything bad about this place, their crab cakes sandwiches are delicious) and high rise condos. Then it’s the next block with a small neighborhood, a corner store, carry out and a 7-11. So this makes me wonder maybe the party was intended for people who live in the latter? I’ve lived in this area before the condos and clean streets and there has definitely been more diversity here now more than ever. Though I believe that the party should have been more diverse, do you really think the same people who eat at The Heights would go to the block party? And also having to work for DPR in the past, I think they’re more attuned to that community anyway. And this is not to judge, because based on your photos, it seems like you live in the condo? I’m glad to see that you and your family were there to join to the fun. But, in my opinion, I think young professionals living in Columbia heights would much rather go to bus boys and poets or something.

    By the way, I love your blog and great posts! I love to see interesting characters on that corner 🙂

  2. I walked by this too. The party was pretty obviously intended for that block and the immediate surrounding environs, and I think that’s perfectly OK. The people living around there have been through some pretty rough times, and it was nice to see people around there having fun for a change. It’s really hard to imagine that there are actually people out there begrudging that (although not so hard to imagine that it came from the PoP readership).

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