In another life when I lived in Mt. Pleasant, Cleveland Park was it. While Mt. Pleasant Street has always been a great place to get a pupusa at one of seventeen Salvadorean restaurants, there was (and is) little else there. So I typically went to Cleveland Park if I needed groceries that weren't available from the Richfood corporation. Or about anything else.
I haven't been back there too much since living in Columbia Heights. Here, I still can find pupusas and rotisserie chicken at every corner, but can also buy air conditioners, small-to-medium sized furniture, and snuggies.
The ladyfriend and I were there Sunday afternoon to go to Vace, home of the most fantastic fresh mozzerella cheese on this side of the Atlantic ocean, and also for a trip to Petco. This isn't the first time I've been back, but it really sank in how desolate that place is becoming.
In the short time I was there, the following clear signs of the apocalypse were observed:
- Whatsa Bagel is now a nail salon. Everything to the left of what once was Whatsa Bagel is shuttered.
- Seven Eleven is out of business.
- McDonald's is out of business. I didn't know they ever did that!
- Starbucks is out of business.
- There was parking in the access road. Lots of it.
- While walking from Petco to Vace, I only had to walk in the street once to get around a slow-moving octogenarian.
- There was no line at Vace. NO LINE AT VACE!!
- There was no line at Brookville Grocery. Oh - and they charged me $3.79 for a single box of rigatoni, but that's neither here nor there.
I'm telling you, the end is near for Cleveland Park. A word of advice to Palena - MOVE NOW! I would cry if that restaurant ever closed, but pretty soon they're going to be the last man standing around those parts. Get out while you still can! In fact, the only business that didn't look pretty cobwebby was Petco. Though it did smell like wet dog in there.
So what's going on there? Here are some theories about the reasons behind the decline of Cleveland Park.
- Many longtime CP residents have died off in the last five years.
- Arrival of DCUSA in Columbia Heights meant Mt. Pleasant residents didn't have to cross Rock Creek Park to buy stuff other than pupusas
- Whorehouse was shut down, killing nightlife
- People who used hang out at Aroma finally left Cleveland Park after the smoking ban, and realized that there are bars with people under the age of 35
- By the time Aroma got the exemption to allow smoking again, you'd already quit smoking and everyone there somehow seemed even older
- Decision to air Indiana Jones 4 instead of Ironman at The Uptown was last straw for many
Any other thoughts? Damn I wish you could still get a decent bagel in this city.
RIP Cleveland Park! We'll Miss You!