The Eastern Market neighborhood was designated by the American Planning Association as one of the top 10 neighborhoods in America at an award presentation outside the namesake market’s North Hall on Tuesday morning.
“The Eastern Market neighborhood stands out not only as a jewel of Washington, D.C., but it shines as an example of the good that happens when residents care about where they live and take time to be involved,” APA Executive Director Paul Farmer said in a release.
Neighborhoods were chosen for a variety of factors, one of which is the appeal to both locals and tourists. The unique perspective of each neighborhood as well as its scale and broad constituency also were taken into account during the competition.
“It’s really a good thing to be able to show the rest of America that there is a small-town feel just blocks from our nation’s Capitol,” said Donna Scheeder, chairwoman of Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee.
The Eastern Market neighborhood, home to a variety of shops and restaurants, was part of Pierre L’Enfant’s original 1791 city design. The market itself, which fell victim to a fire in April that displaced merchants to a temporary structure across the street, has been in continuous operation since 1873. [IMGCAP(1)]
“The fire at this historical building gave the whole city and the whole region a chance to see the type of fabric in this community,” said Mayor Adrian Fenty (D), who was on hand to accept the award.
Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells (D), who represents the neighborhood on the D.C. Council, joked with the crowd that this was a major accomplishment because real estate agents didn’t used to list “steps from Eastern Market” as a selling point.
“The main thing is to keep it going and manage creative tension,” Wells said, stating his desire to keep Seventh Street Southeast closed on weekends despite mounting disagreements over it.
Rounding out the top 10 list are Chatham Village in Pittsburgh; Elmwood Village in Buffalo, N.Y.; the First Addition neighborhood in Lake Oswego, Ore.; Hillcrest in San Diego; North Beach in San Francisco; Old West Austin in Austin, Texas; Park Slope in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Pike Place Market neighborhood in Seattle; and West Urbana in Urbana, Ill.