Essay 2: Mapping Commonplaces


In Ruben Castaneda’s book, S Street Rising, he talks about the cocaine epidemic in all over Washington, DC. Some of the addresses mentioned were places to find drugs, prostitutes, and other extreme things. For my class project I decided to use the address of  7th and O street Northwest. This building located in that specific address was built in 1881 and it is one of the three 19th-century public market buildings still standing in the city because of its gothic revival details. It was used as a community market when a group of displaced vendors selected the land after Boss Shepherd demolished the original Northern Liberty Market in 1872. By having all of the public in that specific area the land area began to rise as the new market was being constructed making the are more interesting. Serving the community soundly from the time of its opening, it gradually fell into disrepair and it became the market in Northwest Washington was a symbol of urban decay and dysfunction. Apparently without major structural problems, the building was emptied of tenants. several months prior to construction in anticipation of its transformation into an upscale shopping center when the unthinkable happened.

The building is part of the Shaw community and because of the years past this building had been developed into a Giant supermarket, which is a huge change because this is a more complex market that was before in the area. What was before the O Street market a place, where city residents stopped to grab some wings for dinner turned the are into a more vitalized and common grounds for the residents. Like Fleming talks about in his book City of Rhetoric that the communities in Chicago have a commonplace where people with different interest and ideals have a safe place to get together and can interact. Like those commonplaces, Fleming found around Chicago I believe that they also exist in the District of Columbia specifically, in this location in the Shaw area. There might be many more in Shaw, but after visiting 7th and O Street and reading about the past I realized that this might be one.

For the resident of Shaw this place isn’t just where they might spend time grocery shopping, but a place where it is common grounds. There Martin Luther King Jr. protested and shootings occurred. I think this community might change because of social interest and real state increases and some of the residents are forced to leave, but deep down when everyone looks or thinks about the O Street market they will remember all the good and bad things that happened during their time there or even be nostalgic about what happened to a family member before.

Essentially, I would like to talk about the gentrification process and focus my project on that because many of the residents of Shaw have been forced out of their family homes because of the increase of the land and the new “hip” places opening around. When I arrived to the place I noticed that to one side of the building is the Kennedy Recreation Center, which has been part of the community for more than 30 years now and also a park. But to the other side of the building a “modern-type” building stands with many others. As I walked by both sides of the Giant building I could notice the difference between those two streets. Where in one side there were people that appeared to be part of a less socio-economic class than from the newly part. In this part of the street I could only see old stores or many rundown buildings, but crossing I saw a lot of advertisements for new studio apartments in the City Market at O complex. The difference is very distinguished, which isn’t a good thing because residents have been pushed away. I plan to see how these new stores that have opened are attracting a new set of people and forcing the old ones to leave.

I can’t believe how this place that was known as the crack home in the 90s in now known as safe place to live. Just because new restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and apartment homes opened up makes it safer? To further our understanding of the phenomenon of “gentrification” I will focus on  Shaw, a neighborhood in Washington, DC. Using Reuben Castaneda’s narrative from S-Street Rising I am able to understand the neighborhood’s economic downfalls from the crack epidemic. Many journalists have accredited Shaw’s revitalization to a simple term, gentrification. However, after my visit, I realized the flourishing phenomenon could not be narrowed down to one mere word. In fact, it is a complex concept requiring understanding because it is not just occurring in DC, it is occurring in every major city in the United States and in my final project I intend to exhibit key places that have made Shaw change in this specific area.






“Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older, too”


The song, “Landside,” by Fleetwood Mac was released in 1975 is an extremely well-known and beautiful song. This song has appeared in many movies, such as Jack Frost in 1998 and Jersey Girl in 2004. I chose the verse above because I believe it is the best and most popular one of the song.  The woman is afraid to change because she has built her whole life around a man.  It seems that the landslide acts as time and she fears that it is slipping away from her.  While time may be going, she is as well.  It seems that throughout the song she is afraid of time running out, which is the possible change in her.  As she grows up, she is afraid of her relationship with him growing in different ways.  It seems as if she fears that they will not love her as she grows and changes, she just wants the security and acceptance of his love.


The Words of Winston Churchill


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”

Picture from Brainy Quotes

Most people think success is a destination you can reach. “If only I was as successful as she is.” What people don’t understand is that the other person is thinking the same thing. Instead of thinking of success as a destination, think of it as a mindset. Success as a mindset means always trying your best. It means moving forward despite the obstacles. It means learning from your mistakes. It means you are always growing. Winston Churchill said this and I believe that one should never settle and that is not in our nature. We all learn from mistakes and work harder each time to learn from them and to no repeat them.



On January 12, 2017 the Puerto Rican singer, Luis Fonsi made public his new song Despacito with Daddy Yankee how also is a Puerto Rican singer. This song is a latin hit! Because this version of the song is all in Spanish I believe that it is not very smart to talk about it, but recently a new version of the song has been made with Justin Bieber. This new remix is not only good, but it understood by both English and Spanish speakers. In this new translation, I found interesting the first verse, which Bieber sings. He says


 Come on over in my direction
So thankful for that, it’s such a blessin’, yeah
Turn every situation into Heaven, yeah
(Oh, you are…)
My sunrise on the darkest day
Got me feelin’ some kind of way
Make me wanna savor every moment slowly, slowly

I have never been a Justin Bieber fan but because all my friends are obsessed with him I have always been in the loop of what is on in his life. Starting so young in this industry he was exposed to a lot of money and fame and this made him have a bad reputation, but with time he has calmed himself and truly have a balance and not get lost in all the “Hollywood lifestyle.” In this verse I see his new self and how he is changing and how he really is appreciating life’s little gifts.


Common Phrases


Where I am from we have many common phrases and popular saying that we use often to criticize or describe something. Trying to adapt to life in the United States I researched some of the popular sayings that are used often. One that caught my attention was ” A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted.” What does this mean? Yes, a fool is a person that acts unwisely or in other words a “silly” person, and parted means that it moved away from each other, but what do this two things have in common and what does it mean? I believe that someone acting foolish can easily lose his or her money through carelessness acts. The simplicity of the word choice is obvious, but the power it has when the words are together it makes its definition more meaningful.

Albert Einstein


As Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can be only be achieved by understanding.” To me that understanding, I interpret it as understanding that while there are differences between people all around the world, we really are similar on so many levels. We all want to live in agreement with everyone in our community.I feel that the words that Albert Einstein chose make this more powerful because it doesn’t refer to a specific thing, which allows it to be applied to many situation. I also see it as an understanding, that we really are all in this together no matter what. Right now, I am really shocked with the situation that is occurring in Venezuela because last week there was a video published about a woman crying for help to the world because she could barely support her family with all the government and social chaos that is happening in Venezuela. I connected what Mr. Einstein said with the problem In Venezuela because right now the government is trying to keep peace by using police force, which isn’t make it better because it motivates the people to fight harder against them.

Th1rteen R3sons Why


Why 13 Reasons Why Should Be Your Next Netflix Binge (If It Isn’t So Already)

From book to Netflix, Thirteen Reasons was released this year March 31. My roommate has been convincing me to watch the one season television series. When I heard the concept, a girl kills herself and leaves a series of tapes for her mopey high school crush to listen to, I figured that this would just be Netflix trying to hit another target demo, but it didn’t come to my attention. But the real reason 13 Reasons Why works is because of its central mystery, which is the kind of page-turner that is perfect for Netflix binging. The show starts off slow, implying Hannah was driven to suicide by (unfortunately common) high school slut shaming as a jock tells the school she did things to him that never actually happened. Then she loses a pair of friends because they start dating each other and ignore her. One kid stalks her and shares private photos with the school, another publishes a personal poem she wrote in his widely-distributed school magazine. I find this really fascinating because I feel nowadays this occurs in many high schools in the United States and no one does anything against it, just like in the show.



Bad taste, bad taste in my mouth


The song, ‘Wednesday Morning,’ by Macklemore was written post-election and involves a lot of conversation about heated topics such as women’s rights, religion, LGBT rights, and more.  In the second verse he writes,

When they build walls, we’ll build bridges

This is resistance, we’re resilient

When they spread hate, we shine brilliant

I believe that when he refers to ‘they,’ it refers to the “opposers.” They may build walls, but his side will build bridges to prevent that.  They may fight, but ‘we’ are strong and will fight back.  And they may try and spread hate and violence, but they will shine through the dark clouds.  Every phrase against him, he turns around and confirms that they will make it through the hard times.  I believe he wrote this in turn of the election, a positive way of showing his anger and emotions, but also positivity and realism on the situation. The whole song is about not giving up and not only does he show that through what he specifically says, but how he says it.  He starts off the song with the frequent phrase, “bad taste, bad taste in my mouth,” which he says three times overall at the start of verses.  Without even hearing anotheBadr word after, you can tell as a listener that he has a story to tell you and that there is some type of meaning.  He even continues by making it personal, involving his fear for his own daughter growing up in this new world.




Looking for new ways to relax and destress from school work I have tried watching old movies, tv series, reading books, meditating, exercising, but nothing has helped me feel better. Last week I gave a chance to Yoga. I read about a franchise CorePower Yoga, which focuses on not only changing your body, but to change your life. By being a first-time student I received a week for free and started attending, there I have met many students from American Universtiy, which I have really enjoyed meeting different people outside the campus. I truly feel less stressed out and I am enjoying this new passion of mine.



Picture from Google Images. ( CorePower Class C1, Namaste)


Spring Break


During this last week I had the opportunity to host my college friend in Puerto Rico. Because I am one of the few puertorricans that knows the island I was kind of scared because I didn’t know where to take them or what to do. Other than the beaches, restaurants, monuments, and other places we visited I could say the the Old San Juan marked me. It is a 3 minute ride from my house and I always go out at night to that place, but never have I gone like a “tourist.” San Juan is the capital and most popular city in Puerto Rico. It was founded by Juan Ponce de León in 1521 and there the Spanish built their city, which the actual goverment of Puerto Rico still conserves the authenticity of the Spanish arquitecture, colors, and customs. The streets are still made out of cobblestones, none of the buildings have elevators, and only a few have air conditioning. In Old San Juan one can find El Morro that was only taken over once by pirates, but their siege lasted just a few days,  the walled city that surrounds it, and the beautiful street art. While walking around the streets I felt homesick and I realized how different is living here in DC, than in Puerto Rico, not only because the warm weather, but the peoples charm and happines is contagious and that is something that one can find often.