Day #171: Royal Trux – “Money for Nothing”
I’m a bit late to the game, but… Time Magazine wrote about my city!!!!
Well, they sort of wrote about my city….
Andrew Ferguson’s “Boom Times in the Beltway” was published back in May and is all about how DC is the national anomaly. “Other big cities, of course, have made it through the recession in one piece. But few eased through the crash as lightly as DC, much less prospered so widely on the rebound.”
“The new affluence flooding the nation’s capital sets it a world apart from the country it governs.” Foreclosures and unemployment rates are lower than the national average. Median incomes are way up. Business is how you say… booming?
Ferguson calls DC a bubble.
I have come to loathe that word, even when it is followed by the word “bath”. Bubbles are fragile. They’re these hollow things that easily burst. But supposedly, that’s what’s we’ve got here.
Only Ferguson has described our city as one that is teeming with yuppie assholes and monied hipster dickheads. Because who else would be sipping $64 martinis in the uber-pretentious Passenger and calling a limo service whenever they need to pick up bread and milk from the grocery store?! Hell, the cover photo of the bored socialites all dolled up in formal wear standing around on National Mall makes us all look like a bunch of flipping Gatsbys!
In a way, that’s kind of true, though not to the extent that everyone is walking around setting gobs of money on fire. There’s still a lot of ordinary people who are fretting the latest metro fare hike and wonder if they’ll ever be able to buy a home around here without having to get 10 other roommates to help cover the mortgage. No, it’s more subtle than that. H Street, for example, transformed from rundown buildings and omnibus fast food joints with bullet proof glass to hipster magnets. The kind that can get away with $25 brunches. Who wouldn’t want to try their luck starting a business around here?
I said that Ferguson wrote about my city… sort of. Phil was the one who brought this article to my attention because he noticed something missing from the accompanying map of the 10 counties surrounding the District that make up the top 20 estimated median incomes in the country: ours. So let me fill you in because Prince George’s County (Maryland) is the real anomaly (at least when compared to its neighbor counties around the District). The population figures are reversed: 65% of resident are black; 27% are white. The crime rate sucks, but the median income is slightly higher than that of the state, and median home values about right in line. Our neighborhood liquor store does sell a $99 bottle of beer, but it’s been collecting dust in the display case for the last 4 years.