What you said about what we said last week
The story from last week’s issue that generated the most online chatter was not City Paper’s fantastic package on Filmfest DC. Nor was it the column on go-go in the digital age or the piece on investing in a restaurant “pop-up megaplex.” No, what readers really wanted to discuss was Aaron Wiener’s column on a parking lot in Spring Valley that some neighbors want designated a historic landmark.
The war on cars never fails to attract an audience. There were jokes to be had, as Dan Berman of National Journal showed on Twitter: “Someone wants to declare random suburban parking lot as historic. Would only old cars then be allowed use it?” Jamelle Bouie of Slate tweeted, “We could build more retail and bring more tax revenue into the city, or we can declare a parking lot ‘historical!’” while the Atlantic’s Yoni Appelbaum wrote, “Historic preservation laws were intended to stop landmarks from being turned into parking lots. The irony; it burns.”
Kenya Downs, who reports on race for NPR, had a grimmer reaction: “When you don’t want outsiders moving into your community, declare a parking lot as a historical landmark.” @URFloorMatt just wanted to know, “Seriously, why does being a homeowner in a major urban market turn you into a goddamn despicable piece of shit?” The active conversation in the comments section included ten (!) uses of the term “NIMBY,” including in Jeff’s comment: “I really don’t understand NIMBYs or what motivates them. It seems at time to be pure selfishness, since they are obviously motivated only by what what is good for extremely narrowly defined communities. However, that doesn’t really describe it since these are people that are active in the community and do appear to at least care on some level what happens to the people around them. I just don’t get why this is where they choose to spend their resources. Go tutor a poor kid or help put handicapped accessible things on a veterans center or ….anything.”
NOT NIMBY, who lives in the area, stepped in to provide a different neighborhood perspective: “Most of you are woefully wrong. Those of us in the neighborhood who like walking and have younger families want this to happen in the worst way. The problem is that the ANC is full old-school croney-ism and a lack of thinking. They sit there and complain about a perceived parking issue when all they want is no change and to protect their ‘free’ subsidized DC street parking.” Lance added a comment to defend the parking lot’s honor: “It’s not that the parking lot in and of itself is historic, it’s that this mid-century building complex, as a whole, was built around having convenient parking. As such, the parking lot is an integral part of a historical complex, and is no more separable from that complex than gables and turrets are from a Victoriah mansion.” Sorry, Lance, but a new staff report from the Historic Preservation Review Board indicates that the April 30th vote will go against your position.
Finally, we must apologize: The word “an” was used in front of the word “historic” in the column’s headline when we should have used “a” like good Americans. It was an historic mistake, and we promise it will never happen again.