When most people don’t know their neighbors’ names and violence stalks every city street, I had hoped that the Washington City Paper would be moved by a story of people fighting against alienation—creating community instead.
Yes, I’m talking about Laura Lang’s article about Glen Echo Park (“An Echo of Obsession,” 4/10). Lang quoted people out of context and twisted their heartfelt messages. She did not tell the whole story.
Most of Lang’s time at the park was spent walking during the day. Most of the time I’ve spent there has been at night, during a dance, surrounded by hundreds of other people coming together to celebrate the joy of being alive and moving to music.
Lang’s article also suggests she did not attend the Puppet Company or Children’s Theatre, nor any of the thriving art classes for children and adults. These programs connect us with the educational goals of the Chautauqua movement that firstset up camp at the park a hundred years ago.
Lang fails to convey what the ballroom feels like to hundreds of people like me who have attended weekly dances at the park for years. Each week I see many familiar faces and some new ones. If my car breaks down in the parking lot, I don’t have to worry. I know someone will give me a ride home. That’s one thing that makes Glen Echo different from dancing elsewhere in the D.C. area. We care about each other.
The public meeting Lang described in the article is part of a planning process that might fail to preserve the programs and buildings at the park. The community of park users is trying to find a way to preserve the park, and we are not satisfied to wait for the National Park Service to solve the problems for us. I’ve come to expect the City Paper to stand up for those who are fighting for what they think is right and who are outside the halls of power. But this article seems to mock our efforts.
Lang’s colorful quotes and metaphoric language make her article more poetic. Her “quest for the story,” however, seems to have blinded her to what she was writing about—leaving out enormous chunks of the story of Glen Echo Park.
via the Internet