Back home in DC for a spell

Comet deli
Originally uploaded by ekai.

Ah Washington, DC. I like that there’s no billboards or highrises and instead plenty of old school brick architecture. I don’t miss the smokey inside of bars, which may happily change soon as DC comes online with local anti-smoking regs. It was nice to meet new blogger friends. Shoutouts to Tony, Jamy, Shannon, Reya, Danielle and Rob, Michael, Celeste for dragging me to the Science Club.

I was dismayed to hear that the Comet deli & liquor store in Adams Morgan is closing its doors after being a neighborhood institution since the 1930’s. I used to go there for lunch at least a couple times a week when I worked at the Washington City Paper back in the mid-90’s. I remember ol’ white haired Sid, the proprietor of the place, ringing me up on the ancient massive analog cash register while imparting his unique acerbic whit. He passed away in March of this year and his widow Bernice just can’t carry the torch anymore.

The closing of Comet is bringing to light the larger issue of gentrification of the eclectic Adams Morgan neighborhood. It’s one of the most diverse, unique and independent neighborhoods in all of Washington, DC. The place is chock full of restaurants and boutiques run by refugees and ex-patriots of nations far from our shores. It really is the only place to go for Ethiopian food. As the bleak horizon filled with chain stores and neighborhood homogenization becomes ever closer, I’m reminded of the successful legislation that we’ve passed here in San Francisco to give neighborhoods the right to decide whether they want chain stores taking up space amongst them. I’m not sure how the local political winds would favor such a thing in DC, but I hope that some clueful neighborhood activists will take a page from San Francisco and try something similar. I’m sure most businesses and residents in Adams Morgan would support such a thing, if only the DC City Council can show the political will. I’d hate to see Adams Morgan go the way of Georgetown.

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