Thursday, January 9, 2014


I've made a huge mistake. I could have been the Vicar of Swampoodle! What a missed opportunity.

Seriously, though, I was looking up a restaurant that I had a Groupon to (which, btw, is now closed, and I have no idea if I can get my money back) when I noticed something peculiar.

Right there, in the middle. Swampoodle. Swampoodle? What the heck is Swampoodle? 

So, I do what any self-respecting person does, and I google it. Turns out that it's a real neighborhood in DC, although it's not at all what it once was. According to Wikipedia, anyway, it was an Irish neighborhood of slums that had Tiber Creek (a whole creek! where did the creek go?) running through it that would overflow and create huge puddles. In case you haven't already, this is the point where you should try to say "puddle" with an Irish accent. Anyway, the neighborhood was rife with crime, but still a busy and vibrant neighborhood (with a baseball stadium that seated 6,000!) until it was cut in two by the construction of Union Station in 1907, after which the residents dispersed into the city. Now nothing is left except a few original houses on the outskirts of the neighborhood and a mostly-forgotten name. It reminds me of how easily distinct and multi-generational communities can fade away, even if it is in the name of "progress."

And so, Swampoodle is now "NoMa." I guess living North of Massachusettes Avenue is better than saying you live in a Swamp Puddle, but NoMa sounds so sterile in comparison.

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