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Tea Party Guide To D.C.: Avoid Green And Yellow Lines

There’s some eyebrow raising going on over a guide to D.C. that’s being made available in advance of Saturday’s Glenn Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial, specifically the comments about which parts of the District of Columbia to avoid:

Many parts of DC are safe beyond the areas I will list here, but why chance it if you don’t know where you are?

If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don’t know where you are, so you should not explore them.

If on foot or in a cab or bus, stay in Bethesda, Arlington (preferably north Arlington), Crystal City, Falls Church, Annandale, or Alexandria, or in DC only in northwest DC west (i.e. larger street numbers) of 14th or 16th streets, or if on Capitol Hill only in SE Capitol Hill (zip 20003) between 1st and 8th Streets, not farther out than 8th (e.g. 9th, 10th etc). (Or stay on the Mall and at the various monuments.) Again there are many other lovely places, from the Catholic University of America to Silver Spring, Maryland. But you don’t know where you are so you cannot go, especially at night, unless you take me with you.

Some bloggers have speculated that there’s something racial here, but I think it’s pretty clear that they’re looking for something that isn’t there. For one thing, for people from out of town attending a rally at the National Mall, there really isn’t much of any reason for them to be on the Yellow and Green lines unless they’re commuting into the District from one of the suburban parking lots. For another, I wouldn’t go into most of those neighborhoods by myself at night either, it strikes me as common sense to tell people who are unfamiliar with the District to avoid areas where being an outsider could be a cause for trouble itself.

Personally, I’m more interested in the authors list of “bad” addresses. In addition to amusingly listing the homes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he also lists the Ritz-Carlton. I’m not quite sure why, they’ve got a fairly decent, if expensive restaurant and bar and I’d hardly call it dangerous to anything other than your credit card balance.

UPDATE (James Joyner):  Megan McArdle observes,

I’m currently staying at the home my 65 year old mother rents next to the “off limits” Potomac Avenue metro stop, we’re buying a house near the “off limits” New York Avenue metro stop . . . in fact, I have never lived anywhere in DC that was on the approved list.  Either I have nerves of steel, or the warnings are just a tad overwrought.

But, as commenter Nick Schweitzer points out, “People who live in the WAY out suburbs have a much different view of where is dangerous than people who live in the City proper, or even the very close suburbs.”

Adams Morgan, for example, struck me as quite seedy the first few times I ventured up there but it is in fact a vibrant, gentrified part of town that hasn’t quite caught up aesthetically. And places that are borderline sketchy for strangers at midnight can be perfectly safe for locals at 11pm.

Further, if you’re going to give out a map of places that are safe and those to avoid, it’s wise to err on the side of the latter for places that are at all borderline. Otherwise, if there’s an incident, you’ll be blamed.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    he also lists the Ritz-Carlton. I’m not quite sure why

    See, Ritz is also the name of a popular snack cracker. “Cracker” is a racial slur used against white people. Michelle Obama hates white people (watch the Whitey tape!). So, the Ritz hates whitey. It all comes full circle. Don’t you see? Don’t you see?

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  2. James Joyner says:

    Mantis makes a good point.

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  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mantis never makes a good point, has never made a good point and will never ever make a good point. Doug, what is he crime rate in Washington D.C.? Are people who attend political rallies of whch the vast majority of the cities population oppose expose themselves to possible threats and violence? Are you going to attend this event first hand or are you just going to lie about it from afar? Brave as you are, I suspect the latter. After all, why would you venture out to get the truth when you already know it. Doug, have you considered rehab. There is probably a county bed available for you. Drugs may have seemed like the answer as you were growing up, but they were not your friend.

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  4. mantis says:

    Mantis never makes a good point, has never made a good point and will never ever make a good point.

    Good point.

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  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Beck is on TV right now were I am. I do not understand why you fear Beck so greatly. All he does is tell the truth about America and its history. He tells the truth about our founders and about those who oppose our way of life both inside and outside the nation. I guess since you cannot refute what Beck has to say, you must lable him as a liar. If he is lying, present evidence, after all you claim to be an attorney, to show he has or is lying. There is a bit of lying going on. But it is not by Beck. Truth scares people like Doug. The only influence he has is when he lies and distorts what others say so his twisted opinions appear valid. Doug, you are ruining this web site, but I was here long before you arrived and I intend to stay long after you are gone.

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  6. legion says:

    Beck is awesome. I loved “Guero”.

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  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mataconis, do you have a license to practice Sharia law? Seems the Imam who wants to establish the Cordoba (a site in Spain where Islam conquered Christianity) Mosque wants to introduce Sharia law in the U.S. Stonings any one? Mantis? Anjin? Sam? I do not think they are referring to pot smoking when they talk stoning.

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  8. legion says:

    Also, Doug is right – why bend over backwards trying to read racism into this? Tea Party racism is so easy to spot in every other thing they do, it’s just wasted effort to pore over the one thing they let sneak out the door without its allotment “scary dark people”-ism…

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  9. LaurenceB says:

    @Mantis,

    Very, very funny. Well played.

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  10. Wayne says:

    Doug I agree with you that it is good advice to avoid high crime areas. I also am not sure why they listed some that they did. Perhaps out of sarcasm or counter rallies being form in those areas. Pelosi and Reid condos may not actually being used by them but place where they are at for political Brownie points. I doubt it though. You would probably know about that better than I. Just throwing out speculations.

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  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    um,ah,um,um, I think the first one to bring up racism in a conversation about politics is a dumb$$ indoctrinated liberal, um ah um ah um um um Ooh, yup that’s what I think……

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  12. just me says:

    If somebody were visiting my town there are two streets I would probably tell them to avoid after dark. Racism? Nope, not in NH where the population is about 98% white. Common sense? Yes.

    I think a lot of travelers to unfamiliar places look for places to be and places to avoid before heading to their destinations.

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  13. Steve Verdon says:

    I lived in VA and went to school and worked in DC for several years and at the time the last place you wanted to be was SE DC. NE could also be problematic, a few stops are okay, but unless you are familiar with them or with someone who is…yeah, best avoided. NW and SW DC and anywhere where there are lots of tourists is generally safe. As for Arlington, yeah avoid the southern part if you are not familiar with it.

    Now maybe parts have changed and there is less crime in these areas, but I’d bet that SE DC is still not some place you want to go exploring, especially at night.

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  14. John Burgess says:

    Zels, baby. Yes, Muslims conquered Christians in Cordoba. And then, 700 years later, the Christians conquered Cordoba from the Muslims. Just whose triumph are we dissing here? In any event, it was the Jews who ended up the big losers once the Christians regained it.

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  15. John Burgess says:

    Zels, baby. Yes, Muslims conquered Christians in Cordoba. And then, 700 years later, the Christians conquered Cordoba from the Muslims. Just whose triumph are we dissing here? In any event, it was the Jews who ended up the big losers once the Christians regained it.

    On topic, there are certainly places in DC you don’t want to wander around if you’re a stranger, no matter what your complexion! As part of the International Visitors Program at State, we had to give informal maps to the visitors to help them stay out of trouble. As we always put them up at ‘modest’ (read: cheap) hotels, it was often a matter of ‘You’re okay if you go left out of the hotel, but not right.’ Still, a small handful managed to get themselves mugged every year, in DC or other major cities. For some reason, they never ran into much trouble in tows of 30K or less…

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  16. Gerry W. says:

    Funny how in America you have to avoid certain sections. Just never ran into that problem in Europe.

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  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Funny how in America you have to avoid certain sections. Just never ran into that problem in Europe.*** can we point out why, or would it be racist?

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  18. Gerry W. says:

    I suspect it has to do with the black sections here. Just don’t have that in Europe. And Europe is more middle class in general.

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  19. An Interested Party says:

    “…can we point out why, or would it be racist?”

    Oh, do tell…

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  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Oh, do tell…***

    http://mises.org/daily/1918

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  21. JKB says:

    I suspect it has to do with the black sections here. Just don’t have that in Europe. And Europe is more middle class in general.

    So you’ve walked unmolested through the parts of Paris where they burn the cars?

    Or pretty much any area around a port?

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  22. JKB says:

    I checked but they’ve removed the advice but Walter Reed used to warn visitors not to attempt to walk the 8 blocks from Tacoma Park or 1.2 miles from Silver Spring.

    And you are definitely a brave soul if you try to take the Metro to the Navy Yard.

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  23. Gerry W. says:

    Wasn’t there when they burned the cars, but have walked all over Paris and in and out of the Metro. Only problem is pickpockets and the worse is probably in Prague. Gypsies. You just don’t see pockets of poverty. There are gritty areas around train stations, but it is accepted. Walked by guys on the street in Frankfurt doing heroin. Shocking but accepted.

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  24. Jay Dubbs says:

    Doug, did you run over Zels III’s dog? Insult his mother? Sleep with his sister? Such unrequited anger is not natural, amusing, yes, but not natural.

    Interestingly enough in my years in Washington the most organized and respectful I ever saw a Metro crowd was during the Million Man March. They lined up for the Metro escalators, didn’t crowd the entrances and were very respectful to everyone. There was no comparison with the other marches/inaugurations/demonstrations (or, God forbid, Fourth of July celebrations), it was hands down the most polite.

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  25. Richard Gardner says:

    I used to live on the Yellow Line and find this amusing and a bit simplistic. My station was the one in Fairfax County, with an address of Alexandria. I’ve taken the Yellow Line many times after midnight.

    I agree I would not go on the Green Line past Navy Yard unless I was familiar with the area (Anacostia, Marion Crack-Berry territory). On the other end of the Yellow line, I have no problem with Chinatown, though Mt Vernon Square/Convention Center is iffy if you don’t know the area after dark, so one station on the entire line.

    By the logic of avoid Yellow line, the following are dangerous in VA:
    – Pentagon. Might run into some commandos, evil military types
    – Crystal City. Might run into some government contractors, ultimate evil
    – Reagan Airport – Enough said
    – Braddock Road. Arggh, yuppies in Del Mar
    – King Street. Old Money
    – Eisenhower Avenue. Army personnel center. Even worse, the Alexandria Federal Courts are there; terrorists have been tried there
    – Huntington. OMG, commuters in the parking garage.

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  26. sam says:

    It’s just prudence. Any large city has places one is well advised to avoid at certain hours. As for the Reid-Pelosi thing, that’s pretty funny. Now the Ritz, well, Mantis’s explanation is pretty compelling. I’d only add that I think the organizers were probably looking out for the lonesome, 50+ Tea Party dude who’s in DC alone, from Liberty, MO, who might decide to stay at the Ritz, what the hell, it’s only for a night, and who might wander into the Ritz bar for a drink to pass the time before he goes to bed and finds himself sitting next to 22-year old Mary, who’s working her way through college, and Liberty, what a great name for a town, and yes, Glen Beck is what’s right for America, and Darn, I’m so sorry I missed the rally, but I have to work so I can get my degree in American History, specializing in the Ronald Reagan era, and I’m short on the rent this month, so I’ll have to work double shifts for a couple of days to make the rent and buy medicine for my cat, Hannity, and thank you, yes I do work out a lot, and oh, you’re staying here in the hotel, …

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  27. Kevin P. says:

    I organized a family reunion in DC last month. We had a great time, enjoyed the city, and will probably return in the future.

    And yes, we made sure to find out in advance, which areas to avoid, particularly at night. With DC’s high and well publicize crime rate, it is prudent for anyone to do so. We can argue about the specifics of this area or that area, but I assure you that most visitors to DC have asked the question.

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  28. Interestingly enough in my years in Washington the most organized and respectful I ever saw a Metro crowd was during the Million Man March. They lined up for the Metro escalators, didn’t crowd the entrances and were very respectful to everyone. There was no comparison with the other marches/inaugurations/demonstrations (or, God forbid, Fourth of July celebrations), it was hands down the most polite.

    I wasn’t here for that, but I will say my own Metro experiences for the two “mass events” that I’ve gone to in the 20 years I’ve been here was not quite as pleasant.

    Which is why my advice for anyone using Metro on Saturday is to stay away from the stops near the Lincoln Memorial before and after the rally. While I doubt Beck’s little party will draw as big a crowd as, say, the 4th of July, the fact is that Metro does not handle large crowds of any size very well

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  29. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol I would like to see most of you come walk around Racine WI, poulation around 80+K without me or my advice……..

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  30. Mae West says:

    @Richard Gardner – notice all the stops you cite are also on the VA side of the Blue line, which is not listed as a no-go area. Also, it’s Del Rey off Braddock Road.

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  31. just me says:

    I suspect it has to do with the black sections here. Just don’t have that in Europe. And Europe is more middle class in general.

    I don’t buy this for a minute.

    I have a friend who lived and grew up in London, England and there neighborhoods that you avoided due to crime. Now whether the crime tin those areas is comparable is for somebody else to determine, but there are portions of European cities that are dangerous.

    I do think in general most large cities that draw tourists tend to make sure crime stays low in the more touristy areas.

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  32. Gerry W. says:

    I was never to the East side of London, but they were talking about the 2012 olympics and the neglected are that needs help. Been there a couple of times, and did not see any bad conditions.

    Have been all over Scandinavia, all middle class and the same with the rest of Europe. Eastern Europe is a delightful treasure. Lithuania a little run down as you would expect from the Soviet days. Estonia, very nice. Finland all nice. Budapest pretty nice. Athens sort of run down and had wild dogs on the street. No dog catcher. Naples chaotic. But in every instance, if I go to Europe, I do not think about places not to visit. I have ventured out and gotten lost and found my way back. I like the challenge.

    In the U.S. we have to avoid certain areas. South Central L.A., South Dallas, South Chicago, Euclid Ave., Cleveland, parts of Detroit, and the list goes on. Europe is mostly middle class and you just don’t see slums. And if there are any, then they are hidden.

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  33. Bruce Majors says:

    Thanks Doug. I will have to check but I think it is fairly clear that what is listed is the Ritz-Carlton condominium, because Harry Reid lives there, in, if I recall what the property tax records say, a 950 sq ft one bedroom he paid around $850,000 for (one or two garage spaces included I imagine). The tax records don’t tell you how much of that came from shady lands deals in Nevada where he used political connections to get zoning variances.

    Many people not from DC don’t realize that half of the block between 22nd and 23rd and L and M Streets is the Ritz-Carlton hotel and the other half is the Ritz-Carlton condo. (Though there is another Ritz-Carlton condo in Georgetown near Pelosi’s digs.)

    Megan McCardle is a tall, lovely, and intelligent woman, and she has a gorgeous new husband who writes for one of my favorite magazines. I lived way back in the 1980s at the Potomac Avenue metro stop before the area was even considered part of the gentrifying edge of Capitol Hill. (When I lived there my neighbor who worked at the Library of Congress was raped in her doorway in broad daylight, and a young black guy going to the Safeway grocery store had his throat sliced in the parking lot). If she thinks either that area or the LeDroit/Bloomingdale/Eckington love nest she is buying with her hot hubbie are appropriate wandering areas for out-of-towners from Springfield or Portland then she may actually be that mythical economist who lives in an Ivory Tower land of abstractions unconnected to reality.

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  34. Bruce,

    I guess I misunderstood the Ritz-Carlton Reference then……..

    Oh well.

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