U Street residents realize they moved to U Street

It's a never ending saga in DC. People move to an "up and coming" neighborhood, looking to secure cheap rent or a cheap property before the boom arrives. At first they like to talk about how it's a neighborhood in transition and that they support local business and it's great how people are opening up new shops, restaurants and bars. A few years pass, and then people start griping about how it's too noisy. There are too many people coming to their neighborhood. It's too loud. It's too messy. Why won't someone do something because the tranquility of their quiet haven has been shattered.

Today we read of residents of U Street who are upset that things have gotten so noisy. That it's becoming a nightlife hotspot, and will soon be just like Adams Morgan. I'm sorry but anyone with a shred of common sense could have told you this was coming. If you moved to U Street in 2003, you didn't do so because it was a relaxing, quiet neighborhood. You did it because prices were reasonable, it was near a Metro, and the neighborhood was growing. Back in 2003, the 14th Street corridor as well as U Street were not yet yuppie destinations. In the early part of this decade, most people probably considered the area a bit 'rough.'

If you moved to new construction at 14th and V in 2003, you knew the building had street level retail space. You knew development was coming. The writing was on the wall. U Street has grown, and yes there are more people out at night. However, if you move a block from the corner of 14th and U and expect peace and quiet, you are an idiot.

I'm sure a majority of people in the neighborhood understand that there will be noise. Especially if you live on 14th Street or on U Street. But there's always that very, very vocal minority who love to hear their own whining. They want to live within walking distance of everything they could ever want, but they'd like all of that to disappear when they are sleeping.

I know for a fact, though, that if U street were hit hard by the recession and the shops and clubs shuttered, these people would be up in arms. They do not want a return to the U Street of the 1980s.

U Street is historically an entertainment corridor and that defines the area. It is not a quiet place to live. Building an 8 story condo or apartment complex in an entertainment area does not change that it's a commercial strip! It's not as if someone dropped a bunch of nightclubs and stores into the middle of a Chevy Chase neighborhood.

I hate to say it, but claiming you moved there in 2003 and that you have some claim to making the neighborhood quiet is laughable. Sure, there are existing noise regulations on the books. Should these be enforced? In a magical wonderworld where there wasn't a hiring freeze for MPD and ABRA had more investigators, then yes. In the real world where we live, things get noisy. Restaurants and bars get loud. The police and ABRA are too busy to constantly walk around with dB meters. If you move within a few blocks of a popular entertainment area you understand you have to deal with it. To demand otherwise is annoyingly stupid.

People living along H St NE, beware, one day that strip will be loud. It'll be safer and more popular and will have better transit, but it'll be loud. Your property values will likely go up as it becomes a destination, but there might be some noise and some trash. Just an FYI.


  1. Thank you, Dave! It had to be said. I live here (U St.) too, and always knew that noise comes with development... and about the very vocal few: We have a lesson to learn from them. They are always the ones who never miss a single local citizen's assoc. meeting and end up speaking for the rest of the neighborhood. I wish more people joined and attended these as well. Luckily, the U St. neighborhood assoc is well led, otherwise we could turn into Dupont and push business (and with it, development) away.

  2. The trick is finding a place to live about 2 blocks away from said hotspots. Living ON the hotspot is disappointing as I discovered staying at a friend's place on 17th Street many years ago, where you hear this all night:

    "WOO-HOO! Oh mai gawd ah am soooo drunk!!!"

    That said, we don't expect Shaw to "arrive" anytime soon. I think the G-wave stopped somewhere around 9th or so and won't budge for some time.

  3. AnonymousJuly 24, 2009

    Oh, U-streeters, you're drowning me with your bukkake of stupid! Did you really think it was going to be quiet living in the city?!? I have some advice for yall U-streeters: STFU and get some earplugs!

  4. Where's the metro angle dammit!@!????

  5. U Street has been noisy since the mid 1990s... and as you note it's historically an entertainment district. Whiners move out!

  6. U Street will soon be like Adams Morgan? While that might have been accurate 20 years ago when U Street was a bombed-out wasteland, it HAS been like Adams Morgan for at least 10 years.

    This is the same old whining you hear from people in Adams Morgan. It's noisy! There's trash on the street! I get harassed by drunk people! I can't find a place to park!

    Jesus people, get your shit together. When you moved to Adams Morgan, you were a noisy, drunk, trash-throwing, non-driver. You were part of the problem. You probably got a few years older, bought yourself an SUV to cart your baby and dog around in, and suddenly the playground you used to love so much is "changing." Sorry whiners, YOU changed. Move out if it's not for you any more.

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  9. ugh, i hate these people! DC is not exactly a round-the-clock city, yet the few neighborhoods that seem to let loose a little are now populated with the annoying whiners who make the rest of town such a bore. even if the cops had more agents, i'd say skip the decibel checking altogether, and focus on real crime. and people, PLEASE stop embarrassing yourselves by acting like you are an "old timer" in that area. if you're living in one of those ghastly, overpriced condo buildings, you aren't! in fact, unless you were around when that area had basically been abandoned by everyone but crack whores, just shut up!

  10. whiners, whiners, whiners. if you want quiet, move to the suburbs. if you want to live near metro, shops, restaurants and bars, suck it up and STFU. such a sense of entitlement, it's amazing. it's a CITY, goddamnit! u street should never have been "quiet" in the first place! and as someone who lived at 9th and T back in 2001, i can say that it has *always* been hopping on the weekends.

  11. Couldn’t have said it better myself! All the “it's too noisy” whiners are like those morons that buy a house next to a airport and then complain about the airplane noise.

    Yes U-Street is very loud (I live just across from the metro on the main drag so I get the full effect) but it's U Street for goodness sake, that is WHY you move to this area!!!

    Ok, admittedly I would love to hear those self centered bikers that rev up there engines at three in the morning disappear in a puff of smoke but heck; I'm not actually going to complain about it!