Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
“When I was in law school, I decided that DC would be a great place to have a scooter and I tracked down my first project, a 1985 Vespa. Within four months, I had six Vespas. Within a few years, I had 22. I would restore them and sell them to help pay for law school. I really love things with two wheels, that’s why I opened Modern Classics. The most important thing about Modern Classics is that we’re four people who are really passionate about scooters and motorcycles. We are the only full-service shop in Washington, DC, so you can buy or fix bikes with us. Might as well keep the business in the city.
“One of the things that I have noticed about being involved with scooters in DC is that a lot of the Vespa riders here seem to be more educated about scooters than in most other cities. DC is very white collar even though there are those of us, like me, who are blue collar by choice or circumstance. We have a lot of customers from places like The World Bank, people at embassies, and students. But, ridership in this city is really growing. I am constantly amazed by the people coming into my shop these days to buy scooters. I mean, big macho dudes like rugby and football players. You never would have seen that in DC fifteen years ago.
“Still, there’s been lots of times here when I have heard, ‘Get a real bike, you fag.’ But, I can tell you that if I take my motorcycle and go park it somewhere versus taking my Vespa out, the women love the Vespas. It draws a crowd. That’s not why I ride in DC, but it helps. Women tend to view it as metrosexual and guys who are insecure view it as homosexual. Sure, a Vespa doesn’t have the same testosterone level as a burly guy on a Harley, but some of us have to overcompensate and some of us under-compensate. But, I still think that it is really acceptable for anyone to ride a scooter in DC and people won’t judge you."
Read more about motorcycles in DC from Kim.
This post is part of a weekly series of People's District stories on the Prince of Petworth, check it out here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"One of the things that makes the Emergency Department here interesting is that you get diplomats lying right next to homeless people. All people are treated equally once they are on the operating table. I will say that working here, I get a much better sense of the spirit of the people and the city that you don't see in a lot of Northwest. We get a lot of indigent folks from Southeast and Southwest DC. There were a number of hospitals that closed down there, so a bunch of that traffic is brought here. Meeting those people and hearing those stories gives me a better perspective of this city. This job has inspired me to get more involved with community activism and advocate for an affordable and safer Southeast and Southwest."
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
“I first came up to DC in the fourth or fifth grade. At that point, I was on a class field trip and with, like, all of my buddies. And I could have cared less about where we were going and what we were seeing. I was just happy to be 900 miles from my parents and in a hotel with other 12-year-olds. I really had no idea about how great DC was at that age. But, several years ago, I came back up to visit with a friend. It was at that point when I realized the sheer history of where I was. DC was just, like, contagious. I wanted to get more of DC and got back up here as fast as I could. I have a background in political science so DC was not that hard of a choice for me.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
“Now, I'm a point guard on my high school team. I learned a lot playing organized ball, but out here is where I learned my real skills. Each and every day, I practice and try and get better on the courts in DC. You know, streetball is something that is in our blood. We don’t do this for money, we do this for the love of the game and for respect. It brings people together. As you can see, all of my friends are out here playing basketball and it keeps us out of trouble. And, you’re respected for being a good player back in the neighborhood. People walk around and see me and say, “Hey, he’s a good basketball player.” That is a good thing to be known for.
“I play in a lot of places now with my school: Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Tampa, and Maryland. And, I’ve played streetball in those places, too. But, DC streetball is real tough and gritty compared to those courts, you know what I'm saying? I’m telling you, these courts are tough. Just come check it out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. We take basketball seriously up here in DC."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
“There’s, like, a lot of spots in DC that are really, really good for skateboarding and there’s a huge skateboarding community here. But, a lot of the parks you skate in are instant busts. As soon as you put a board down, there are guards, like, almost tackling you and stuff. I still come down here to hit the streets and even the parks, too, when we can avoid the cops. The stuff that is really popular to hit, parks with ledges and rails, those are always total busts though. Cops basically live there. So, we’re out looking for places where the cops can’t find us. There are some secret places, but I’m not going to tell you about them.”
Saturday, October 17, 2009
“Our faith is expressed through music. At church, we have the brass band, the Madison Lively Stones, which a lot of churches don’t have. That is how we worship the Lord. Here, practicing with flags, we are still praising him through music and through dance.
“My favorite hymn is ‘They said I wouldn’t make it.’ It is a song about holding on to God’s hand regardless of what you’ve been through. Faith is my life in DC. The House of Prayer is my life in DC. We live in homes and housing that are provided by the House of Prayer. My friends are all from the church. Faith is my way of life. Usually, we are practicing and volunteering around DC, doing community activities, and we also hold an annual peace parade on Memorial Day. Our church is also known for food. We have good soul food and a lot of people in the community come to the church for that. Some people buy, but those in need, we just give it to them. Our church also does different clothing drives and we help senior citizens, too. So, yes, faith is my life in DC.”
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
"I like yogurt and now I get free yogurt, and I wanted a place where I could play games and have ridiculous rules. For example, if you give a Braveheart speech, you get a discount because that is my favorite movie. The Nintendo is from my basement and the rest of the rules and games are from customer suggestions. One guy is a big Michael Jackson fan, so we made one of the rules that if you do the Thriller dance, you get a discount. Our flavors are named by our customers. For example, that lady over there, Susan, is one of our thirty-day champions and just named a flavor Snuggiegusgata after her cats. Doesn’t tell you at all what the flavor is going to be, but it works for us.
"I thought we’d be out of business in two months because it is such a ridiculous idea for a store. But, the beauty of this is that all of the investors here have other jobs, we’re just doing it for fun. I think the reason that it did so well is that there was no pressure on the business and we do whatever we want. That fun nature is not in most businesses. I mean, where else will the owner and employees sing karaoke and play trivia with customers just to pass the time while they are waiting in line. I don’t have to be here and I am here all the time.
"Since we opened, ten other yogurt stores have opened in DC. In my opinion, most of the yogurt is the same, but I like mine the best because I made up the recipe. I would argue that most people come here because it is fun."
Find the rules of Yogato here.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
“Everybody comes through here. I’ve seen half of the neighborhood grow up so this is like a mainstay here. A whole lot of people wouldn’t know how to act if we closed, so we stay open seven days a week. And this is where everyone comes to talk sports, politics, women, whatever. Doesn’t matter if people are getting a haircut or not, they come because it is a meeting place. So, me and this barbershop are just bricks in the foundation of the neighborhood. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had Redskin players come through, rappers, movie stars, a couple of Wizard players, mostly just the neighborhood though.
“The clientele here used to be all black, run-down, low-income and now it is gradually moving up economically. We got whites coming back to the neighborhood, Hispanics, it’s becoming more diverse. This diversity in the neighborhood is now being felt in the barbershop. For about ten years, I hadn’t cut a white head at all and now I am cutting two to three a week. And they talk more sports than we talk! And they talk more politics than we talk! We love it. It’s getting there, except when the Spanish guys come in, we can’t talk because we don’t know the language. Otherwise, everything is cool.
“We going to be here until we can’t be here no more. When I get too old to cut, I’ll just get someone else to come in here and take over. I’ve got other barbers working with me now, they’re young and have other jobs too, but one of them will take it over in time."
Go talk sports, politics, women, the neighborhood, whatever over a haircut with Hollywood at Hollywood Style and Cut at 710 S St. N.W.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Cori - "I grew up in the DC area and had not ridden my bike since middle school. When I started work, I saw that bikes were everywhere and decided that I should start biking, too. I borrowed my Dad’s bike from the 70s, which is a great old road bike. And, it’s been working really well. I see bikers all over the place which encourages me, and hopefully others, to bike more."
Anne Marie - "Our company reimburses us for riding to work. They encourage people to bike or use public transportation. We even have a bike repair kit at the office. Now that they are providing support, more people are coming to work on bikes. And, the more that people in DC see bikers, the more they will consider riding themselves. That’s what got me started. There is also great camaraderie in biking. We just finished a softball game and came over to Georgetown. This is our first time riding together. It was like being eight again and riding on the streets with my buddies. I was, like, we should start a bike gang!"
For more information about DC bike trails and routes through the city that avoid heavy traffic, click here.
Friday, October 9, 2009
“Finally, there was a police officer outside issuing someone a parking ticket and, as no one had showed up, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We asked if he could come help us, but he was like, there is nothing that I can do as we need the elevator company to come save your boyfriend. So, we just sat around and shot the shit with him and he told us stories of being a cop in DC and about his education. We, of course, offered him a beer, which he didn’t accept because he was on the job.
“Finally, after he gave us his life story, the elevator company came and let my boyfriend out. Anyway, we ended up keeping in touch with this cop and the thing that reminds me most of DC about this story is that he still, whenever he is in Cleveland Park, will send me a text and say, “Are you out? I’ll come say hi.” Or, if there are a lot of police out, he’ll shoot me a text and tell me that there are a lot of cops in my neighborhood and I should behave myself! It was this one little chance encounter that brought us together. We met this kind cop with the best of intentions who now looks out for me. This just shows me how we’re all connected here and look out for each other. It becomes a good representation for me of how people in DC are connected by the greater good. That is one of my favorite random DC stories.”
See how well the DC Metropolitan Police Department is performing here and see their goals for 2010 here.