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Talk:Washington, D.C./Anacostia

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MLK Day Parade

When I was living in D.C., they ran the MLK Day parade through Anacostia. I wrote this up:

  • Martin Luther King Day Parade. 1PM-3PM. The District's annual MLK Day Parade starts at Ballou High School (3401 4th St, SE) then proceeds up Martin Luther King Jr Ave, past Malcolm X Ave, then along Good Hope Rd and Minnesota Ave, finishing at Orr Elementary School (2200 Minnesota Ave, SE).

But I'm not certain that this is still the itinerary. If it is, we can move this back into the article. If not, we can revise this and update the article as is fit. --Peter Talk 17:05, 4 January 2009 (EST)

The parade starts at Ballou and ends at MLK Jr Ave and Good Hope Road. And, it occurs now in April, not January. Aude 22:01, 4 January 2009 (EST)
BTW, nice work on this article. Most guides don't provide this level of detail, for this less-visited section of the city. Aude 22:03, 4 January 2009 (EST)
Thanks—this one's more fun to write, since it's the only place in D.C. where I feel like a tourist. Do you know which day in April? The 4th? --Peter Talk 22:32, 4 January 2009 (EST)
It's been the first weekend of April, for the past few years, though I think sometimes on a Sunday, sometimes on a Saturday. But, there's no guarantee it will be that weekend this year. I haven't seen an announcement for this year yet. Aude 23:20, 4 January 2009 (EST)

Star nomination

It's been a while since we've had a star nom, so I figured I'd nominate one of the most benighted and impoverished slices of the U.S. I've held off on nominating this one simply because it is such an unconventional travel destination, but I do believe it's formatted to a tee, an enjoyable read, and probably the best extant guide to Anacostia anywhere (there aren't many!). Lastly, I promise I'll get in some D.C. star noms in the future that aren't quite so intimidating to most visitors. --Peter Talk 19:15, 19 April 2009 (EDT)

And note: the listings are few, but this is complete. I know this area well, and I really don't think there is anything else worth including—there are precious few business establishments here, despite it being such a large swathe of land right in the center of one of the nation's largest metro areas. --Peter Talk 19:19, 19 April 2009 (EDT)
  • Support. After a scan of the article, it seems to read well and I can't find sufficient enough reason to oppose it. However, the way everything on the map is tilted makes it rather aggravating to read. I don't mind the map itself being tilted (north doesn't always have to be up), it's all the icons being tilted that gets me, along with some of the street names ("Branch Ave" is practically upside down). Also, hours for the rest of the Eat/Drink listings might be good. PerryPlanet Talk 00:06, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
Ah, whoa, I forgot about those eat/drink hours! I'll be sure to call tomorrow and see if I can't get the businesses in question to tell me when they're open (this will actually be hard in Anacostia...). And regarding the map, I rotated the icons to match the street layout, in order to make it easier to distinguish which street the icons are located (especially at corners). If it's bothering people, I'm sure I could move them back to 90 degrees. --Peter Talk 00:37, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
I personally didn't even notice the icons, but rather the park names. I can't think of any reason for those to be tilted. And Branch Ave does look a little odd upside down. =) LtPowers 08:23, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
I've finished tracking down those last listing hours (as I expected, it was like pulling teeth). --Peter Talk 21:06, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
  • Support. But (without having seen the alternative) I think I support moving things back to 90 degrees. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 10:03, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
I remember now why I kept all the icons/park text/etc. tilted with the compass—I did it with printed use in mind. If someone prints out the article, they can just tilt it so that north is at 90 degrees, making the whole map a lot easier to use. I'll create an extra layer for an export in the fashion people are requesting, and make the decision once we can see them side-by-side. --Peter Talk 16:46, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

OK, here are the two map versions, one with text & icons tilted north, the other with them rotated to display online at 90 degrees. I still prefer the former for two reasons: 1) it makes more sense for offline use, since you can just rotate the printed page (or iphone or whatever), and I always print WT maps before using them anyway; 2) forcing viewers to tilt their heads is not necessarily a bad thing—it can otherwise be easy to miss the fact that the whole map is indeed rotated 45 degrees off compass north. --Peter Talk 22:39, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

Anacostia map.png Anacostia map key rotated.png

  • Support. Looks really good. Re the map, I do think that maps should pretty much always be oriented for north... I see that it's funny shape/orientation is probably why you did it the way you did, and in that case I like the tilted text so you can rotate as you mentioned.... I would definitely be holding it for north were I using it to travel and would appreciate the thought behind that :) – cacahuate talk 02:24, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
    • So you guys would rotate the map back and forth when trying to correlate the legend with an item on the map? It strikes me as odd, but I don't have the real-world experience you guys do. LtPowers 08:03, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
      • Yeah, I'd have to go with Lt on this. I think the map with the "corrected" icons just reads a whole lot easier, especially when you take the legend into account. PerryPlanet Talk 12:15, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
Yes, the legend is the part for which I would tilt my head ;) I have something of an internal compass, so reading the map as it is in the second version is more comfortable, but also more confusing. I'm still not sure which way to go with this, since there is disagreement—hopefully there will be more comments. If we decide to go for the second version, I would be inclined to keep the former updated as well (which is easy given how few travel icons the map requires), and link to it from the second's image file as an offline printing option. --Peter Talk 14:29, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
Or link from the image text "click here for a North oriented map better suited for printing" or something like that... --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 14:57, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
@LtP: I wasn't thinking so much about the back and forth when looking for legend items.... I more have an overall dislike of maps that aren't oriented for north.... so yes, I would hold the map so that north is facing up, and read it that way. But I'm definitely not trying to stir up a big debate, the article could go forth with either version and be just fine – cacahuate talk 21:39, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
Might as well clarify the reasons why I tilted the map to begin with: 1) To keep the map aligned north would entail an image covering much more territory, and consequently the icons and text would be much smaller relative to the image, and hence a lot harder to read. 2) the problems of #1 are relevant both online and offline—the rectangular format makes for easy high-res printing on standard 8x11" sheets of paper. 3) A more square image (necessitated by a northern alignment) would show a lot of blank space, particularly on the MD side (and there's nothing important to add there—the main roads are already in—it would just look unattractive). --Peter Talk 22:24, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
Just to clarify, the decision of which map is used has virtually no impact on whether I support promotion to star, I do in either case. However, I still stubbornly cling to my belief that map #2 is easier to read. ;) I like the idea of linking to the more printable version from the "online version"; in fact I'll likely be doing just that with a whole bunch of maps if I can make a Wikitravel Press book out of the San Francisco articles. PerryPlanet Talk 00:00, 22 April 2009 (EDT)

Support. Overall, excellent article. Actually, I think excellent is an understatement. Great work, Peter. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 16:45, 21 April 2009 (EDT)

  • Support. The coverage and maps are definitely star-worthy, and I love that some of Wikitravel's best articles are places that other publications only skim (if at all). My only issue is that the introduction is rather dry — I'd like to see at least one sentence or phrase in there with a kick, something with a note of excitement about the place. It's not until halfway through the third paragraph of the article that you begin to make any kind of case for visiting there. Gorilla Jones 22:57, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
I gave a go at tightening and enlivening the introduction. I also added a "Words of Wisdom with Mayor Marion Barry" infobox, words of a man who never faltered in the cause of enlivening everything he touched. --Peter Talk 01:07, 22 April 2009 (EDT)
Yes. Yes, that is most enlivening! Gorilla Jones 23:58, 29 April 2009 (EDT)

about Anacostia

Hi Peter,

I edited this article last night because so much of the information is incorrect or outdated. First and foremost, Anacostia is NOT the huge swath of neighborhoods east of the river -- it is only One neighborhood.

As such, it certainly not the most impoverished and dangerous. I am the first to admit that Anacostia is not perfect, but this is clearly written from the perspective that Anacostia is to be feared and is a novelty based on the fact that it is so jarringly different from the rest of the city.

While there might be neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River like that, the neighborhood of Anacostia is not that place. Can we work together to write a guide that is fair to the neighborhood and still interesting to read?

Thanks,

David Garber www.anacostianow.blogspot.com

Sure, I'll be happy to (and I'm a fan of your blog by the way). I reverted your edits yesterday because there were a host of "mistakes" often made by new contributors to Wikitravel. The biggest one, which I think you already caught, was that of tone. Wikitravel aims for irreverence, and is written from/for the point of view of a traveler. Your blog is more interested in the development of the historic Anacostia neighborhood (which I think is a fine goal), but the goal of the site is purely to both help guide around and entertain travelers. (I also have a personal ulterior motive in that I want to encourage travelers to visit, and to help dispel the prominent myth that the area has nothing to offer travelers.) When I read your changes, they looked to me like they were written by someone in real estate.
The big point of confusion, I think, is that this article is about all the neighborhoods east of the river. On Wikitravel, our priorities in creating city districts are to 1) divide the city so that there are neither gaps nor overlap, 2) avoid having too many districts, and 3) ensure that each district can sustain a complete and high quality article. An article about the tiny Anacostia neighborhood would not likely satisfy #3, and it would create problems along the lines of #1 & #2—in particular, it would be very hard to then cover the rest of the neighborhoods east of the river.
So why, then, name the article Anacostia? First, it is the most common name for D.C. east of the Anacostia River—growing up in DC, I never even heard of a different name. The only other names that I have encountered lately for the area are "East of the River" and less often "Greater Anacostia," and I see you are now using "River East," but these terms are in relatively low use, and I'm not a fan of new coinages that seek to displace names that bear any negative associations (i.e., names that look like real estate euphemisms). The technical "correctness" of this name is not that big of a concern for a travel website (as opposed to an encyclopedia)—what's more important is that people recognize the name. We've already made the district borders eminently clear on the maps (one of which is even devoted to showing that the historic downtown Anacostia neighborhood is only a small part of the district). Furthermore, referring to the whole of a district by the name of its most famous part is relatively common practice here, for example, we use the name Chicago/Hyde Park, even though it also covers the Kenwood and Woodlawn neighborhoods, simply because readers/travelers will likely recognize the name as opposed to a more obscure "South Chicago Shore." This is also hugely important for our search engine results—if we choose an obscure name, searchers won't find our site. It could be useful, though, to give a better sense of differences between neighborhoods—to explain that not all of the district is experiencing the same level of urban blight, and that the historic Anacostia neighborhood is in better shape than you'd see elsewhere.
For a visitor to the city, I do indeed think the novelty factor of visiting this section of the city is important, and I actually only added that angle in response to concerns during the star article nomination that the introduction was too dry, and didn't make a strong case for why someone should visit. The reality is that extremely few visitors to D.C. ever cross the Anacostia for several reasons: they're told it's dangerous, that there's nothing there for a traveler, or they probably don't even know about it. It is a little amazing that the capital of the world's wealthiest nations has such poor and neglected areas, and I think that's one of the several "angles" the article should include in trying to demonstrate why travelers should include this on their itinerary.
I absolutely did not intend to feed the notion that Anacostia "is to be feared"—on the contrary I was trying to play off those stereotypes, in part to make the prose more lively, and in part for credibility. Again, the trouble here is the widespread misconception that Anacostia is not safe to visit. It's less safe than Friendship Heights, certainly, but it's nowhere near as dangerous as it is in the popular myth. I think if we don't address things like popular beliefs, or the still high murder rate, then our advice won't be taken very seriously. The stay safe section is a little poorly written nonetheless, so I'll try and spruce it up a bit, along with bits of the understand section that you didn't like, tonight when I have some time.
Lastly, is Vivid Solutions a new gallery? If so, please add it to the article! --Peter Talk 16:35, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

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