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Nothing seems to make our local paper happier than spotting a neighborhood in the midst of a renaissance, a rebirth, or just sort of coming back. Today, we get the happy headline: “A Rapid Renaissance in Columbia Heights” under the byline of Paul Schwartzman.
Let’s forget the bad crime rate, the recent conversions of condos to rentals (or the real estate market just tanking in Columbia Heights), the traffic problems, and the displacement of people as the neighborhood’s median income skyrockets. Schwartzman doesn’t see those things. He sees the big stuff: the big numbers and the big, big box stores set to open on 14th Street NW.
Schwartzman sees “a new world created at whiplash speed.”
It’s not the first time, Schwartzman has seen a “new world.” Schwartzman is the Post‘s Renaissance Man. He can spot a renaissance from just about any street corner. He can quote residents wishing for it. And he can see a neighborhood teetering on becoming a Ren Zone.
Since 2004, “renaissance” has popped up 15 times in stories Schwartzman has either authored or co-authored. Here’s a short compilation of the reporter’s renaissance usage:
- In a December 8, 2007 story on the Giant supermarket opening up in Ward 8, Schwartzman used the occasion to declare: “District leaders celebrated yesterday’s christening of a Giant in Ward 8 as fresh evidence of a renaissance unfolding east of the Anacostia River.”
- In a September 25, 2007 story on a hotel moving into Shaw, Schwartzman wrote of a coffee shop owner who considered himself an “urban pioneer, tapping in early to a neighborhood on the brink of a renaissance.”
- In a February 19, 2007 story on the 9th Street Corridor, Schwartzman wrote: “When the convention center opened, politicians and neighborhood leaders hoped it would ignite another renaissance.”
- In a July 11, 2006 story on an activist’s murder around 9th Street, Schwartzman wrote: “The Mount Vernon neighborhood has undergone a renaissance in recent years with the opening of the convention center and new condominium buildings. Yet, police and neighborhood leaders said, violence persists.”
- In an April 26, 2006 piece marking the return of the Big Chair in Ward 8, Schwartzman used the moment to lead with this graph: “A minister offered prayers. Politicians and civic leaders doled out testimonials. And there were more than a few attempts to use the occasion to declare that a long-blighted part of Southeast Washington was inching toward a renaissance.”