Today, walking down Riggs Street in Shaw neighborhood of Northwest Washington, you might not think much of the rows of town houses, besides the bright colors of the houses that liven up the look of the street. Located in close proximity to Dupont Circle, a distinct and growingly influential area of D.C., one may never even think to look into the history of the tiny Riggs Street. When in reality, the humble little street has so much character.
Situated only one street away from S Street, and intersecting 13th and 14 St, the quaint street is bordered by brick sidewalks and foliage of all types and colors covering the houses. Many of these houses look the same, the only thing to differentiate them being the vivid variety colors they are painted with. The colors range from bright purple trim on the
windows to glowing turquoise steps, seemingly unusual for a neighborhood, but overall gives a more modern and fun impression on anyone just passing by. Little gardens decorate the front steps of the house, giving a livelier feel to the small space even with the doors of the houses situated right on top of the sidewalk. Towards the exit of this little one-way street, more toned down townhouses made of grey brick almost give a more boring feel to the street in comparison to the other end, especially with the parking lot just across the way.
Recycling bins line the borders of the sidewalk, and almost no actual trash is to be found in the street. The street is well cared for, as if it has been recently paved clean. The already small street feels even more narrow with parked cars lined all the way down the street. The cars themselves are even well cared for, and expensive luxury cars at that. The one-way sees a car pass by maybe once every 20 minutes, cutting through before turning down onto the more populated and b
usy 14th Street.
The two opposite ends Riggs street have two different atmosphere, with Riggs Street binding the two together. On 14th Street, there is something for just about everyone, including locals and tourists. The blocks nearby are lined with cafes, boutiques, and high end restaurants. Walk a little bit further down to the corner of R Street, and you can smell the fresh Ethiopian food being made, just as authentic as if it was from Ethiopia itself. People of all kinds walk around, shopping and sipping coffee. Nearby can be found a few grocery stores, more high end kinds, including both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to appeal to the health conscious locals living nearby. All of this is no surprise, considering 14th Street is one of the top ten “Ritziest Streets” in the U.S. today. Riggs Street, being perpendicular to 14th, attracts the exact same kind of people.
On the other side of Riggs, 13th Street, you may get more of a neighborhood feel. A local elementary school, Garrison Elementary is right across the way. Complete with a playground right outside and child care center, presented as a “Parent-Child Center”, a family oriented vibe is definitely given off. The school is stretched across a good portion of the neighborhood, covering many blocks from S Street to 11th Street. During early mornings and mid-afternoons of the work week, small children of all ages roam the streets, running to catch the bus or waiting for their parents to get picked up and head home.