Tipping Point

The sheer brazenness of these individuals to spend 5 minutes, during the middle of the day, robbing and abusing the store, its owner and its customers is disheartening—especially, I’m sure, to those who have been fighting for this area for many years.


Gut-check: There is no guarantee that things are predestined to get better in this community. Perhaps the mayor’s office and police department, in an attempt to save and shift resources to other target needs, have extreme faith in the power of gentrification to improve the economy and safety of a neighborhood. Possibly. But is that really such a strong force in our area today?

The term, “tipping point,” was coined by a sociologist in the 1960’s in reference to integration and “white flight.” It has since been used to describe many processes in various fields of study. In terms of gentrification—a term which, unjustifiably, became associated with negative connotations—the turnover of homes would plod along steadily, gain momentum, and then, at the “tipping point,” witness a wave of new owners and development.

We are certainly not there, yet. Moreover, the whole analogy of a ball going up a hill and, reaching the top, then tipping over, picking up momentum on the way down is based on physics. As such, there has to be an equally-probable opposite outcome. The neighborhood could just as easily start slipping back down the mountain….

  • Resident “A” (who has live here for 7 years) decides to move; sells his/her home for $425k—an appreciation of almost 125%
  • Resident “B” (who has live here for 3 years) decides to move; sells his/her home for $400k—an appreciation of almost 50%
  • Resident “C” (who has live here for 1 year) decides to move; sells his/her home for $415k—an appreciation of0% (essentially a loss of over $26k due to realtor fees, etc.)
  • Prospective residents “D, E and F” decide to look elsewhere

Heard of a bank rush? You could be looking at a Ward rush—begins with those who can pull out of the market with capital gains, and ends with those who are capable or taking a loss before it drops any further.

Now, I think that there are some strong residents and leaders in this area who will not let this happen. That being said, it is the responsibility of everyone in this community to keep pushing this ball up the hill—whether that is opening up a business in the neighborhood, joining area organizations, contacting elected officials or simply walking along our streets.


In this example, people helped the owner transfer his surveillance tape to the internet. The LeDroit Civic Association has submitted a letter to the mayor, council and police chief and surely will be following up with these officials. An earlier article talked about the bond of the residents and the store owner: “The LeDroit Park Market – For LeDroit Park residents, a local market and its owner are more than a store, they’re part of the family”.


[Note: one of the reasons I started this blog was to promote the neighborhood to potential new residents. I may pepper my posts with tongue-in-cheek remarks, but it is not my intent to sugarcoat the issues, nor do I want to scare away new recruits. Our neighborhood doesn’t just need new owners willing to plop down a half-million dollars and hope for nice returns, but neighbors who want to live in a community full of activist malcontents (in a good way).]


6 thoughts on “Tipping Point

  1. I walk outside everyday and see hardworking neighbors, many of whom have lived here for years and even decades longer than me. I feel a common thread of decency and kindness, from longtime residents and new entrants alike. I love the diversity of our neighborhood and the welcoming nature of its inhabitants.

    However, seeing this video and hearing about recent events on Quincy St NE is a sobering reminder that we do still live in a “transitional” neighborhood.

    I appreciate your bringing the video to my attention. If nothing else, it reminds me to be cognizant of my surroundings. And, hopefully, it inspires us all to think about ways we can continue to improve our neighborhood.

    Thanks for your posting.

  2. The gunmen as they are called are the victims of gentrification. they probably can’t afford housing in the area any more, so they have no choice but to rob the store.

    Fight for affordable housing!

  3. yeah, sorry there anonymous, you’re wrong. wrong wrong wrong. dead wrong, and stupid wrong.

    victims of gentrification my ass. i lived on u street. my landlord died, and the house was sold. we could have stayed if we could raise $700,000 in a month to buy the house. my roommates (students and actors) and i could not afford that, so we were scattered to other places around town. i was ‘gentrified’ out of that house. are you saying, since i couldn’t afford to stay on u street, an area i loved, that i would have had the right to go into ben’s and pisol-whip the guys behind the counter because i had no choice?

    and how in the hell does your housing issue give you ‘no choice’ but to commit an ultra-violent act in an unrelated store. that’s like if you came over and punched me in the face so i kicked your neighbor’s dog in retaliation.

    stupid stupid stupid wrong wrong wrong. you should go down to the good folks at the ledroit market and explain your line of reasoning to them. see if they don’t pick you up by the seat of your pants and throw you into traffic.

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