We ended up focusing on the streetcorners, which had become less passable with every visit by the plows. The delay of one day had allowed most owners and businesses to clear their sidewalks, but the hardening slush in the streets was still tripping people up. So, at Albemarle and Wisconsin, we cleared and widened the busy crosswalks with shovels and a garden edger. We spread out along Wisconsin Avenue, clearing sidewalks to the south and opening up more crosswalks in the north. We even put down some salt and sand provided by the local Ace hardware store. After a few hours, we ended by clearing a few spots on River Road and bypassing a monumental pile at Albemarle and Fort Drive.
We capped the afternoon’s work at the local Mexican restaurant, where, as one participant described it, “Guapo’s cleaned up.” The snowball fight never went down, due to low interest from participants. However, the news media were interested in us. The Northwest Current sent out a reporter, who stopped by WAMU to pick up audio equipment. You can hear her handiwork here, or read it on Page 1 of the February 17th issue of the current. I think everyone was glad to get the recognition. Residents for the most part expressed gratefulness – and a little delight – at the gumption of my co-shovelers.
I got a lot of credit for proposing the idea, but the whole event would have been ineffectual without the work of the dozen-or-so people who came out: Ben Nieva, Mike Sires, Steve Kelley, Athan Manuel, Angie Das, Hedda Garland, Felix Garland, Jenny McCarthy and Chris Frantz. ANC 3E Chairman Jon Bender deserves special thanks for his work organizing the group. I know there are a few individuals who aren’t listed above, but deserve attention. If you are or know one, please post the name in the comments.
Of course, some other people deserve attention for their lack of effort. Snow on most sidewalks that were busy simply condensed into packs of ice, so we ended up not clearing most. But some businesses, perhaps abandoned by their landlords, did not do their duty. Neisha Thai and several other establishments south of the Metro stood out. Circle Management left their construction site next to the metro uncleared, while they or their tenants fulfilled the responsibility on the rest of their properties. The Georgetown Day School shoveled its 42nd Street Sidewalks well enough, but its long stretch of sidewalk on River Road was left completely untouched. Finally, the National Park Service proved the worst offender, shoveling none of their many properties around Tenleytown.
But while other people let down their neighbors, it was reassuring to see so many people out on a snow day, helping each other out. Everyone came away knowing the others a little better as well.