January 8, 2006

Weekend Flash

CHINABLOCK CULTURAL CENTER: Long gone are DC's old Italian and Jewish neighborhoods in downtown. Yet the Chinese community, buttressed by an active chop-suey trade, hangs on. Barely.

Too strengthen their hand, Chinese leaders opened a community/cultural center with much fanfare. Mayor Williams attended. "The goal of the center is to promote cultural literacy and enrichment among locals and tourists alike — all part of an effort to enhance the unique character of Chinatown," says the advisory.

If there were actually even a modest Chinese community in DC, this would be a great development. But the whole affair conjures images of the little dutch boy hopelessly holding his finger in the dyke because a leak sprang up. It's only a matter of time before the dyke breaks.

Over the years, DC Bubble has witnessed how Chinablock, storefont-by-storefont, has been whittled by Texas BBQ joints, the MCI/Verizon Center and the voracious Starbucks empire.

While DC Bubble salutes efforts to add diversity and depth to DC culture, one politely has to ask: "Whats the point here?" An underutilized bit of space preaching how important its message is.

A better use of the money would have been to, say, prop up Da Hua the now extinct market across H Street where one could buy 30 varieties of tea, hoisen sauce and all things "Asian." Or how about enough space for a single Chinese family to live in?

pix by racingsquirrel


DC Food Blog said...

THANK YOU for calling it Chinablock. It is my firm belief we have the saddest ass Chinatown of any major metropolitan area. Just give it up folks. Putting Chinese characters on your storefront does not make you a vibrant Chinese community - CVS.

David said...