Originally posted April, 2013
This is really the “thing” about Shaw: it’s adjacent to U Street and Chinatown and Logan and Bloomingdale, so you can go to any of those neighborhoods in mere minutes, GIT YOUR DRANK ON or whatever, and then retreat back to the bucolic residential streets of Shaw. As someone who used to live in Adams Morgan, there is something to be said for living in the thick of the action, but the price you pay for that is 19-year olds projectile vomiting on your doorstep at 330AM. Shaw’s like a little mini-suburb, in the city but not of the city. It’s boring, but you’ll rarely if ever find yourself lying in bed at 2am fighting an urge to fling open your window and scream “SHUT THE F**k UP RIGHT NOW!!!!” Which you can’t put a price on. It’s a great neighborhood if you work downtown but don’t want to commute; I used to work at 13th and G, and my commute was literally seven minutes. On a bike. So there’s that.
IS IT EXPENSIVE?
No. I mean, yes. Sort of. It’s still weird to look at a rowhouse priced at 670K and be like, “wow, cheap!!!” But let’s face it, that’s pretty cheap. (Says the guy who found 18 bucks in the pocket of an old pair of jeans last week and reacted like I’d just won the Powerball.) You can still get a decent-sized home here for well under a million. Renting is a little more irksome, as it’s not cheap here anymore, so you’ll pay essentially Adams Morgan rents to live in Shaw. Also, a lot of houses that used to be apartments were sold and converted to single-family homes, so the apartments that are left are in higher demand.
One of the most common raps on Shaw is that it’s a food desert. This is unfair; I once ate dinner for eight consecutive nights at the locally-owned small restaurant-slash-grocery on the corner, 7-11. For a mere $6.29 you can get a three-week old 9-ounce cup of fruit salad covered in thin coating of slime; or for a fraction of the cost, you can get four times the calories, in the form of 99-cent slices of pizza (nowhere is it more apparent that pizza is Italian for “hot bread with cheese and peppered ketchup on top”) But yeah, other than that, Shaw is a Sahara of food. There used to be a Giant at 8th and P, but it was closed last year to make way for a new megadevelopment-slash-Super Giant, which I’ll no doubt enjoy glancing at when I visit from my new apartment in whatever godforsaken hinterland I’m forced to move to after this megadevelopment prices me out of Shaw. Now you have to go to Dupont or Chinatown or the Logan Circle Whole Foods to grocery-shop, or else eat at 7-11 or one of the approximately 750 chinese corner joints, where you can get styrofoam takeout containers of fried food that will slowly give you erectile dysfunction.
There’s a really nice new public library at Rhode Island and 7th, so that’s something. Also there’s a dog park at 11th and R frequented by a lot of sad-eyed men who saw that John Cusack movie “Dog Park” and are desperate to meet their true love, so if you’re a woman, make sure you spritz yourself with some foul-smelling repellent before visiting, or you’ll immediately be engulfed by obscure music trivia and vague, open-ended suggestions to “maybe get a coffee sometime, or a drink, of like alcohol, or water if that’s not your thing or whatever …”
STUFF TO DO
Foodwise, there’s Rouge 24, the ever-popular Seasonal Pantry, and the new-ish restaurant Table, all of which are great places to take a date,especially in that first phase where you’re pretending to be a real civilized person who doesn’t just eat breakfast cereal for four out of every five meals. (Check out our upcoming companion piece, “eat here,” for more details.) There’s also Sundevitch, which has a Cuban sandwich that I would probably request for my last meal if I was on death row. There isn’t a lot of nightlife in Shaw, though this is slowly changing. A&D is a a really cool dark bar opened by the guys behind Sundvitch; they have tallboys. Go there. There’s also the Passenger, which is arguably in Chinatown, but I insist is on the southern border of Shaw. It’s a great space with excellent staff, but is often full of downtown yuppie types angrily punching their Blackberries while waiting for their ChristianMingle.com blind dates like, “This dang date better result in marriage, because I could totally be doing CrossFit right now!!!!!!”
Lots of recent college grads who think paying 900/month for one of three tiny bedrooms is “just how it is when you’re an adult,” lots of DINKs (Double Income No Kids) who never emerge from their houses except to move their Audi SUV from one side of the street to the other, hipsters (psych, there are no real hipsters in DC!!!), people who have dogs instead of kids, super cool old couples who’ve lived here for decades who are always super nice to you, probably because their house has septupled in value in the last decade, which I think would make anyone pretty happy.
WHAT KIND OF STUFF YOU’LL FIND ON THE CURB ON TRASH DAY
Sharper Image ionized air filtering towers, Swiffers (who buys those?!?!), barely-used late-night infomercial exercise equipment, hulking armoires that were bought two years ago as restoration projects but they never got around to them.
BY FRANKLIN SCHNEIDER