Southwest D.C. then and now

Southwest D.C. then and now

photo by taylor

Growing up as an adolescent in Southwest Washington D.C. and returning often as an adult, I have noticed something.  The scene has completely transformed!  With the Potomac River majestically flowing next to S.W. on its way to the Chesapeake Bay, Southwest is truly a beautiful and unique part of D.C.  During the late 80′s and early 90′s, S.W. was much different than it is today.  Words like projects, crack, gunshots, police, and poverty could be used to describe some of the areas in S.W. then.   Don’t get me wrong, not all of S.W. was like this, there has always been a portion of this neighborhood where luxurious and high dollar condos sit on the banks of the Potomac.  Nevertheless Southwest D.C. has always been a fantastic place to reside and hang out…here are some lighter/happier words to describe the scene back in the day: Waterside Mall, Safeway, Pizza Hut, Harry’s Liquor Store,Fort McNair, Jenny’s, Hogates, The Fish Market, etc.  Southwest is currently an up and coming (and extremely expensive) area/neighborhood in D.C., with a Facelift.  These days you can’t even score a 20 bag of weed in Greanleaf Gardens…not that I would anyway. The Green Line Metro stop that’s  been there since Dec. 1991 is a vital artery into and out of the S.W. Waterfront neighborhood.  A brand new Safeway with a Starbucks, a Subway (sandwich shop) right across the street, and the state of the art Washington Nationals Stadium on South Capital Street are just a few of the upgrades that S.W. has recently experienced (technically Nats stadium isn’t in S.W.).  The same area  that houses Nats Stadium now bisects the old neighborhood where row houses, projects, cab companies, adult entertainment clubs, and drug spots once existed and prospered.   The alleys and corners that were once devastated by the crack epidemic, are now occupied by new buildings and new people… the rest of the old neighborhoods are empty skeletons and time capsules from what they once were, but the same people, and the descendants of those from “Old Southwest” still live there.  I’m sure they remember the Old S.W., because I sure do!

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