Strangers to the Environment Know how to Make it Our Home

Former YMCA being turned into affordable apartments. (I didn't take this, as I wouldn't have been let in)
Former YMCA being turned into affordable apartments. (I didn’t take this, as I wouldn’t have been let in)

Getting into the interior of the building was a bit of the challenge. The building happened to still be under construction allowing limited access to the building. I was able to enter into the lobby, it was pretty bland. There wasn’t a lot of “flair” or welcoming features as one would normally expect. The lobby was complete with white tile and white walls, other than that there was a lot of construction noises as well as construction workers walking all around. Seeing these construction workers seemed very interesting to me as they will not always be apart of this environment but are just a temporary addition. Their lunch breaks, or coffee breaks will provide a short lived burst in surrounding businesses.

Once they leave the offices and apartments will be full of other people similar to those who already take up residence in this area. These workers are a part of my experience of the interior of this building and will be for others all around the greater city area. Construction workers provide a brief blimp of change in the interior and exterior environment. Inside one might see what they are doing as dirty, messy, loud, and overall provide an outsider a bad experience of the interior of the building. For me however I found them to be nice interesting people that are trying to get a job done and really aren’t paying any mind to the opinions of the surrounding culture. As they do construction on buildings all around the city they are creating a different environment than normal for all those around them.

Without sounding too much like a creep I followed a few of them into a restaurant where they were taking their lunch break, just to see what kind of food they would eat in the overly priced Dupont area. I ended up walking into this restaurant called, The Meeting Place. It was this dive bar just a few blocks over from where they were doing construction. I sat down and just took in all this bar had to offer, they had paper napkins and the tables and chairs looked to be on the cheaper side. You could tell this place wasn’t all about the aesthetics, they were more about the service. My waiter was super nice and provided really great service. I could see why the construction workers liked it, it seemed like a genuine place with genuine people. There were many restaurants in the area that were either chains or flashy for the tourists. They are the kind of places that have waiters that don’t try to get to know the people that walk in, they don’t care about the environment around them. These restaurants only goal is to stay in the black at the end of the fiscal year. The Meeting Place had a staff of kind faces who cared about all of the people that came in, the construction workers and me. I had asked for a soda and then after I got my meal I realized they had forgotten my soda. When I asked again for my drink the waiter was so apologetic and actually ended up not charging me for the drink.

This is the dive bar aesthetic that I was surrounded by during my lunch.
This is the dive bar aesthetic that I was surrounded by during my lunch.

 

Overall my experience in the interior of the old YMCA and the Meeting Place was extremely interesting and eye opening of genuine people in Dupont area. I wasn’t at a restaurant that catered and treated everyone that was there like a tourist, it was a place that treated me like I was home and if I went back they would remember my name. The waiters treated me like a new member of the Meeting Place family. I can’t wait to go back and share this experience with my friends.

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