I’ve lived in DC for more than twenty years but until around 2008, I only had vague idea of what H St NE looked like. I knew it primarily as the “bad part” of Capitol Hill, a blighted corridor of check-cashing joints and wig stores. There was no reason to go there (unless you were looking for crack) so I never went.
The first time I visited H St was for a show at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel at 13th and H NE. The cabbie asked me skeptically, “Where are we going?” I told him that there was supposed to be a club on H as we passed block after block of boarded-up buildings.
Things look considerably different today. H St is now the hottest neighborhood in the city, sprouting apartments and condos while suburban kids flock to the street’s nightclubs and bars. Why there’s even a streetcar running down the street. While it’s more of a curiosity than working transportation, the promise of the streetcar helped fuel redevelopment, signaling that H St was safe to visit.
Gritty DC, as represented by streets like H, is rapidly disappearing. There’s very little of that city left anymore. It’s better, of course, but I do miss the run-down charm of the place some times.
Bridget Murray Law captures the changing city in H STREET LIFE, an exhibit of her photography at Sidamo. If you like black and white street photography go check it out.
I’ve been a fan of Bridget for years. She has a romantic vision of the city, capturing the quiet moments that happen between people in this busy metropolis. It’s not a side of Washington that you see much. Romance is not something you think of when you think of DC. Aren’t they too busy for that? Bridget demonstrates that even Washingtonians have time for love.
I was glad to attend the H STREET LIFE opening on March 18 at Sidamo Coffee. Below are photos from the event – in black and white, of course.