Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gallery Place-Chinatown

My wife and I had dinner last night at Rosa Mexicano, right across the street from the Verizon Center where the Washington Capitals were losing a hockey game to Tampa Bay.

Rosa Mexicano was one of dozens of restaurants at which we could have dined. We could have shopped at quite a few retail outlets too. Parking ranged from $15 - $20 for the evening. The hundreds of people we saw walking by came from all ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. Most of them were just visiting, but an increasing number live in the neighborhood or nearby.

The neighborhood was nothing like this when NPR moved in back in 1994. Outside of some excellent Chinese restaurants, you could count the number of good places to eat on one hand. Street parking was plentiful if you were willing to risk it. In short, it was a neighborhood in the tail end of a decline.

I realized last night that NPR had a lot to do with the revitalization of this area.

For certain, the creation of the sports arena and the rebuilding of the convention center had a much bigger economic impact than NPR. Still, I can't help but think that NPR's early investment in the community made a statement about its importance and potential.

That's something the entire NPR system can be proud of.

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