Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wanna be Startin' Somethin'

Pennsylvania Ave Bridge looking East circa 1910 (from Hillcrestdc.com website)

“Wanna be Startin' Somethin'” is one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. “Too high to get over. Too low to get under. You’re stuck in the middle.” Those are some deep words. What does this have to do with anything? Well I’m about to stir the pot a little… okay a lot. I may make a few people mad and I could say that I cared that people will be mad, but I don’t care. No one is required to agree with my opinion. My inability to sensor my thoughts just so I don’t ruffle feathers would make me a horrible politician, hence why I don’t have any intentions of running for a political office. Despite my lack of caring that I may make someone mad, I do have the ability to respect someone else's opinion. Enough digressing and let me get to stirring.

A few days ago, I gave the scrolling marquee version of the verbal lashing I got for referring to “East of the River” as “River East”. Let me reiterate that I’m not married to “River East” and I think using the historical name “Washington East” is a good idea. Regardless whether we call it “River East”, “Washington East”, “East Washington”, or some other East, “East of the River” has to go. ASAP. Yes I'm a little riled up today.

This morning, I was reading the comments to a Washington Post article online about Fenty. One person wrote (and this is a direct quote), “Fenty is doing his best for the voters. Let's be real. D.C. residents historically have been Federal government workers and slaves. Hence, you have East of the River and West of the Park. Nothing has changed with the exception of a slave leading other slaves. Notice that Fenty's actions do not affect those West of the Park. He is a smart slave and knows his place.”

Yes, I know I should not take the comments of an anonymous user to heart, but as Oscar Wilde said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” This one commenter does represent how some people feel about our neighborhoods. Believe me, this was mild compared to other comments that I have seen on other articles (which is why I try not to read people’s comments… It gets me riled up... sigh).

We can market all the amenities of our area until we are blue in the face, but at the end of the day “East of the River” has a negative connotation and the play on words is indicative of being something different. I am not saying that we want to be like the rest of DC, because I recognize that we have our own identity. However, if we are to be a part of the City, we need a name that represents that as opposed to "those people over there... you know on the other side of the river." As long as people have a negative view of what’s East of the Anacostia River, they will not bring their kids to ice skate or hike at Fort Dupont Park. They will not bring their families to picnic and roller skate at Anacostia Park. It just it what it is.

You can have all the pride you want, but if people aren’t investing in the amenities that we have, we will never get the other amenities that we want. This issue is "Too high to get over. Too low to get under. You're stuck in the middle" of the box. I’m sure that I have managed to tick a few people off and I welcome your comments. I just encourage you to think of the possible marketing opportunities to let people know how great it is to live here.

For example, “Washington East: Celebrating our Past and Building our Future”. (That's what I could come up with for now.)

Buy Wards 7 and 8 Challenge
I didn't buy anything today, but I'm on the hunt for a licensed plumber. My tub is completely stopped up. Being a grown-up and a homeowner, is so overrated. Yesh.

Total to date... $124.21


  1. A++++ article!!! It is so true!!! Wonderful!!!

  2. The fact of the matter is that brandin is very important and we need a new brand in order to highlight this wonderful product - our community.