Never-Ending Excitement on 14th Street:
“Swank and Style: The New 14th Street scene Everyone’s talking about.”
Washington D.C. has a history, at one point, during the second half of the 20th century, a drug epidemic hit the African American community. This rapidly increased crime rates in the city and started to popularly be known as the “Murder Capital”. Whether aware or not of the city’s past, strong police presence and an abundance of homeless men on the streets, can cause a state of insecurity in anyone’s mind. Specifically a well-off, successful, young immigrant to the city. It is almost certain that young affluent individuals that move to Washington, will not lack the energy to experience the city’s nightlife and the experience of meeting new people. Others of their same stature and common interest. While looking online for bars, speakeasies, without the site of college students, and fine dining restaurants with a loud scene to go to for a Saturday night; you will probably land yourself somewhere along D.C.’s infamous “14th Street”. Once known to light up at night with Prostitutes and Gunshots, is now invaded by day and night with young, single, “rich” individuals that don’t mind spending top dollar on impressing a date or simply get to know a different side of D.C.
Washington.org (Middle Right: ‘Destination DC Logo’), which is not an official government website, gives the sense of security and trust to its reader, as if it was a government site. The site however belongs to a, “private, non-profit corporation with a membership of 875+ businesses and organizations that support the DC travel and Tourism Sector” called Destination DC. Partners include American Express, American Airlines, Amtrak Railway Services, Washington Nationals, Big Bus Tours, and United Airlines. Having extensive reach with the city’s tourist, the site’s main audience is mostly tourists, new residents to D.C., or locals that want to get the are a little better. (https://washington.org/DC-information/about-destination-dc )
In an attempt, by Destination D.C., to promote the visit of a new crowd to D.C.’s famous “14th Street”, the website reaches out to young, single, affluent individuals that are looking for a new and hip place to get to know people of the same similarity. With a large movement of high-end restaurants, bistros, “Chic” pubs and bars to the physical Site along the mid city area; famously known as the “14th and U St. Corridor”; the location is a migration point for energetic and thirsty young successful individuals to gather. In an article published on Washington.org titled, “Never-Ending Excitement on 14th Street: ‘Swank and style: The New 14th Street scene everyone’s talking about’” ( https://washington.org/visit-dc/never-ending-excitement-14th-street) a list of nineteen locations is provided, that are new, trending, and hip to go to at the Site. What is presented as a list is more like a “nineteen step guideline” of how to spend an entire weekend at “14th Street” eating high-quality multi-course meals, drinking local craft-beers, and wasting your hard earned week’s salary in one/two nights.
The bright colors, beautifully images of the street’s skyline, and sense of formality that the website, Washington.org, gives out to its reader, truly gives it a sense of a “.gov” site. This establishes trust and the choice of title is remarkably set up in a way to fool any educated individual, making it almost irresistible to not visit the, “New, swank and style” at “14th Street”. The “New” within the title suggests that the area has undergone a complete change and that it is unfamiliar to that street, which it once was, of danger. An old, “primary coping zone for heroin” in the mid-city area of D.C. (Castaneda). However, if one walks through the street today, to notice that this isn’t the case, isn’t a wild observation. Homeless still sleep on the streets and a strong police presence is needed to control the occasional junkie getting out o f hand. The “New” in the title can really misguide the image of a newcomer walking for the first time through the street. Washington.org does a great job of dealing with that problem, providing each attraction on the list with its designated “Insider Info” comment to make the reader feel more like a local, giving them a heads up of what to expect, what to order, or even in what “vibe” to be in when going into the, “Black Cat”.
An article, which initially addresses a broad type of audience claiming that, “the 14th Street scene has an experience for everyone. Locals and Visitors…”. However as the article starts to develop, its obvious that the targeted reader is of a wealthy background. With the first restaurant on the list being part of the Michelin Guide, number one on the list is the Pearl Dive with a scene described in the site as, “For all the new upscale restaurants arriving nearby, Pearl Dive has been a popular mainstay, mixing jorts and Chanel jackets. Festivities at the bar overflow onto the sidewalk patio, where the raw bar has a second window”. Accompanied by a description of plates garnished and filled with local oysters and duck confit. Within an audience predominantly English speaking, the understanding of the French word, “confit” is limited to a certain audience with knowledge of the language or high culture of culinary standards. Both traits indicate higher levels of education and in some cases wealth behind that education, characteristics that limit the extent of the audience to a select socio-economic level of individuals. To tourists or first timer’s on the street there might be a blind spot in the scope of the article of the site, because the area in which the restaurant sits is not home to locals that fit that characteristic, at least not the residents of the area’s recent history.
After luring its reader in with mesmerizing images of mussels sitting on a creamy white wine sauce, cozy and vibrant restaurants, it’s quite hard to stop reading the article once you are by, “#4”. (Previous Bottom Right: #2 “B Too”, Logan Circle, Washington D.C.) By the time you are through number five on the list you are slowly being tailored into following the 19 step guide-line to enjoying “14 Street” as Washington.org wants you too. Church Key is the turning point of the adventure through the physical Site, the reader is now being lured into experiencing an, “unmatched local craft brewery that offers craft tap beers that won’t be able to be found anywhere else” (#5). (Bottom: #5 “ChurchKey”, 1337 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005) If you fall into this “hook”, then your night can turn into a very “different” and exciting experience in a new revived street, a product of gentrification. A few of the local taps and you’ll surely be on your way towards “Doi Moi” (#6), a very high end large lounge type restaurant to keep up with drinks and have a nice gourmet meal. For a more serious audience looking for a quiet evening, Washington.org makes sure not leave out, “Le Diplomat” (#6). It is well established in the article that the location, “14th Street”, has enough spots to fill up all hours of the day and night. The article has a well established audience, one who is looking for late night excitement and stopped by the ATM on its way over there, tipical to a young crowd with an above average disposable income. After a good and pricey dinner, those who opted for a long night are redirected in steps 11 and 12 (Black Cat, Black Whiskey ‘Respectively’). (Bottom: “Black Cat”, 1811 14th Street NW, Washington D.C., 20009)
For those who had an expensive and filling night at, “Le Diplomat” (#8) and probably have the means and time to take a second look at the street, at a different time, perhaps a sunny day, can have a nice brunch at, “Masa 14 & El Centro DF” (#14) with a refreshing mojito or mimosa. Maybe the reader enjoyed his single night out at, “Black Cat” met someone and proceeded to follow the sites (Washington.org) advice and have a, “cozy and warm, outfitted with vintage furnishing and unique fixtures” at, “Compass Rose” (#12) to impress his first date. Using his “local” knowledge, provided on the site’s, “Insider Info” for each and every destination on the list, washington.org, makes sure that the audience they are targeting are well informed to use what this have at disposal and already at hand, combined with the sites gatherings to provide a fully joyful visit to, “14th Street”. For a first timer, the article; probably first time reader; lures in affluent, mid-twenties, individuals to enjoy an exciting side of D.C. Nothing is left out, the different, hip, new, Chic, “14th Street” nineteen step guide is complete, from head to toe, well thought out list to attract young, energetic, affluent, mid-twenties to mid-thirties successful clients to the re-born street.
First addressing a broad audience, promising experiences to all types of people, is quickly narrowed down to a more selected resourceful target audience. The first flag of narrowing selection is the price ranges of most of the the destinations on the list. Scenes of, “Chanel jackets” and venues of, “chic scale to impress any date” is short for, +$25 plates and +$20 cocktails. However the Site is easily accessed and carries an easy domain (Washington.org) for anyone to run by it online. This creates awareness and promoting a hip new rising street, with new things, new ideas, but limit it to a well funded crowd. Desire promotes a market and making, “14th Street” “The” place to be is just what the chief executives of Destination D.C. aim to promote. Similar to a snowballing effect, by first promoting small and local businesses that attracts young affluent people you promote a rather highly educated and resourceful population migration to the area, which increases housing demand. Capturing new “niche” and varied age-group markets is essentially what promotes tourism, investment, and development. In this specific case, establishing a once broken down street, victim to drug violence and addiction, as a, “New, Swank, and style” is perfect for targeting those looking something outside of the college scene but not quite at the stage of having wine in bed. The article aims for the sleek, urban, prosperous citizen, tourist, visitor of D.C.
1.Never-Ending Excitement on 14th Street. (2017, February 06). Retrieved from https://washington.org/visit-dc/never-ending-excitement-14th-street
2.Schindler, S. (2015). Architectual Exclusion: Descrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. The Yale Law Journal, (124), 1934th ser. doi:https://via.hypothes.is/http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/b.1934.Schindler.2024_vndzv2jw.pdf
3.Castaneda, R. (2014). S Street rising: Crack, murder, and redemption in D.C. New York: Bloomsbury USA.