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Reason No. 153 why the Los Angeles Times will never be America’s best newspaper: In the Nov. 27 edition, TV critic Robert Koehler rhapsodizes about Across the River, the PBS documentary about D.C.’s east-of-the-river neighborhoods, including Anacostia. According to Koehler, the film explores community activism in “depressed, drug-ravaged…
Anacondia.” The neighborhood children, Koehler notes, attend “Anacondia High School”—which must be famed for its herpetology classes. The sage reviewer also explains D.C. geography to Angelenos: Anacondia is “divided from Washington by the Potomac [River].” This fact must come as a surprise to east-of-the-river residents, who mistakenly believe that they 1.) live in Washington and 2.) cross the Anacostia River when they go downtown.
No Right Turn In their ongoing war against their neighborhood sex trade, the Logan Circle and Blagden Alley Community Associations are pushing a plan to install nearly 40 “No Turns” signs on several streets southeast of Logan Circle. The groups want to bar drivers from making left or right turns on most corners between 9th and 14th Streets and between L and Q Streets NW. They hope the constricted traffic will inconvenience men seeking $20 blowjobs and force hookers to move elsewhere. Of course, “elsewhere” is likely to be the nearby Shaw neighborhood, whose residents find the plan rather shortsighted. Darryl Moment, community affairs director of the I Have a Dream Neighborhood Association, says, “All they’re interested in doing is moving the problem out of their neighborhood.”And even some Logan Circle/Blagden Alley folks view the traffic plan as absurd, because it will disrupt nonhooker traffic as well. ANC 2F Commissioner Beth Solomon, who lives in Blagden Alley, says, “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get home. It’s nuts.”
Single Malt Capitol Hill residents have tried everything to shoo away the scraggly, aromatic men who congregate in public spaces, drinking malt liquor out of paper bags and hustling for change. They tore out the park benches near Eastern Market. They’re pressuring churches to close their soup kitchens. And now, residents are opposing the liquor licenses of stores that sell single beers. One store whose license may be in limbo is the Family Grocery at 16th and D Streets SE, which has served the area since 1968. Longtime owner Vera Pearson says singles account for more than half of her beer sales. “We have people who come in here after work and all they want is one beer,” says Pearson. “We’re not dealing with winos and bums.” But ANC 6B Commissioner Tom Wells counters that, “Aggressive panhandling is part of an alcoholic economy. We’re just asking liquor stores to join in to help improve the quality of the neighborhood.”
Dante’s Demise Down 14th Street NW, past the pawnshops, storefront churches, and convenience market banners trumpeting discounts on malt liquor, Dante’s was the lone trendy watering hole for urban pioneers making their way east from Dupont Circle. But last week, owner Dante Ferrando closed up shop, hoping to focus on his dance club/concert hall, the Black Cat. Never immensely profitable, Dante’s was “a conceptual thing—a cool place to be…like a cool painting or a really good song. It got to the point where I would rather get out than change it,” Ferrando says. New owners will reopen the bar as a Caribbean club called Nevis Nevis.