|Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.|
Interestingly, the author chose to include a descriptor for Trinidad, calling it "the hardscrabble neighborhood in Northeast Washington" (emphasis mine). "Hardscrabble" is defined by Google thusly:
- Returning little in exchange for great effort
- Characterized by poverty and hardship
Monday, Matt Ashburn (owner of the Capital City Diner and a Trinidad resident) found an advertisement for a new restaurant coming to the H Street NE corridor. An excerpt:
We want to give the idea of a nice restaurant, but we are in a dive neighborhood.
What do they mean by "dive neighborhood?"
Why call Trinidad a place characterized by poverty and hardship?
The history of H Street NE, and why it includes so much disinvestment is important and shouldn't be glossed over. The long shadow of segregation and the 1968 DC riots are extremely important reasons why H Street is what it is today. It's not just a "dive."
Trinidad, by my personal experience, wouldn't qualify as "hardscrabble." It's a traditionally middle-class neighborhood that is being viewed in a new light given its proximity to the activity centers of DC, and is struggling to come to terms with what that will mean as the population of the neighborhood rapidly changes because of economic and social pressures.
We've been deeply involved with the Ivy City and Trinidad Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative, a process that is diligently working through a process to attempt to increase homeownership access while maintaining affordability in the neighborhood. We believe there will be a significant return from this "great effort," and the experience has shown that there is much more than "poverty and hardship" in our neighborhood.
Glib descriptions of these neighborhood are lazy. It's disappointing to see them applied to Trinidad and the H Street corridor.