1. Argument

Nersessova, Irina. “Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photographs of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23(2014): 26 Advanced Placement SOurce. Web. 20 Nov. 2015

This article explains Margaret Morton’s pictures and her observations of the homeless in New York City. Morton asserts that people judge the homeless for their appearance and their lack of  success in life, so some homeless decide to live in dark tunnels where they feel safe. The tunnel acts as their home and it is a place where they are free from judgement. Although Morton observes these tunnels that act as homes for the homeless, Morton argues that the sidewalks above ground can also act as a home. She believes that a structure does not make a place a home, rather the people,  culture, and environment makes the area feel like a home. Thus people who live on the streets are not actually homeless, rather they lack an actual structure to inhabit. The source itself is reliable, as it describes a study which has an accompanying picture book that exhibits Morton’s findings.

I plan to use this source to make an argument that refutes the claims of the citizens of Dupont Circle who begged for the homeless to disappear. The people from the other source align with the people Morton talk about who judge the homeless and make the homeless feel uncomfortable. I will also use this source to argue that the panhandlers are not actually homeless, because their homes are the streets. Also, they are a part of Dupont’s community because they have been present in the area for a long time.

  1. Argument

Armstrong, Jenice. “Dupont Circle Wants Relief From Beggars” The Washington Post. Washington D.C: June 1990

This source is an article from the Washington Post, and it was published on  June 14th, 1990. The article includes many opinions from people who want the homeless people off the sidewalks of Dupont. Residents of Dupont call the homeless “panhandlers” and have little regards for the beggar’s feelings. People in the area afraid of the panhandlers, claiming that they feel uncomfortable and threatened. Citizens hold meetings about the homeless and encourage others to fight back by not giving the beggars money in the hopes that beggars will leave. Citizens have brought in the police, and are unhappy that the police can not remove the homeless.  In the closing paragraphs, a member of the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals suggests handing panhandlers cards that tell them places to receive help. Aside from the actual syntax, this source seems very reliable because it is a primary source from the actual time of the complaints. It also comes from a popular newspaper which seemed to interview many people of their opinions.

I will use this source as an argument about the amount of homeless people in Dupont Circle. As I observed the area surrounding the Dupont Circle Club and even inside the club, I saw a substantial amount of homeless people. I wondered why there were so many in a place that advertises itself as a ritzy area. This article shows that homeless people have always been present in the area. I will use this to make a statement about the area, but also about the residents of Dupont. It is clear that the residents do not want the panhandlers around because residents think the homeless do not belong; however, the homeless may believe that the streets of Dupont are their home. I will use this article in conjunction with Irina Nersessova Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photographs of A Forgotten New York which tells a story from the homeless people’s point of view, for there is a great contrast between how the residents feel verses the people living on the street.


Whether one arrives to Dupont Circle by way of the infamous Metro Rail, the ubiquitous taxi cabs and cars, the convenient bike, or by foot, the passerby is certain to see a bunch of narrow shops, bars, and eateries that inhabit structures which resemble three- story rowhomes. If a person dares to look closer, they may see the common nail salon or spa, but with an even closer look, the misfit companies will appear. At that third glance, the visitor will discover The Dupont Circle Club, a non-profit organization that offers a variety of recovery groups, located at 1623 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC. As a visitor, it was not until my third glance that I found the club. I had passed it twice because it was hidden between Lou Lou Boutique and  Comfort One Shoes. side-walkThe name advertised in lights above the door read “Psychic Readings,” and  taped to the center of the door was a regular sized piece of paper that read “Dupont Circle Club.” I entered, but was faced with another obstacle: a locked door with a keypad that connected to the club and the psychic which I had to use to be buzzed in. I entered, and as I walked up the house-like stairs, my mind immediately began to question why this place was so difficult to find and enter. Before I describe the interior of the Dupont Circle Club, I will provide historical information that answers my speculations about the location of the club.

Background Information on the Dupont Circle Club  

According to Dupont Circle Club’s website where the organization advertises its non-profit organization, the recovery center was even more hidden in 1989 when they first opened the club in a building located in the alley behind their current location. Due to the lack of lighting and the high population of rats, the alley won the name “Flat Rat Alley”, and the owner of the 1623 Connecticut Ave location offered the club his spot. Therefore, the Dupont Circle Club ended up in this hidden location by coincidence. This location was never actually meant to be hidden, for in the 1960s the location was inhabited by a ritzy store called French Poodle which sold fur coats and constantly advertised itself in the local Washington Evening Star Newspaper (Washington Evening Star 1964). The same place was  previously a funeral home named W.R Speare Co. in the mid 1920s (Washington Evening Star 1926).

The Interior

After climbing the stairs, I finally entered the club and was greeted by the yellow paint of the walls and the lobby. The lobby consist of a $1 coffee/tea station, numerous ads for upcoming events at the club, pictures of people who went through one of the recovery clubs, and pamphlets for every recovery program offered. To the left and right of the greeting area were two identical rooms. Bbid-bocoth were rectangular rooms with at least two windows, one bathroom, many rows of cushioned blue chairs, indoor plants, a fireplace, and multiple inspirational pictures and sayings. The room to the right hosted the alcoholics anonymous meetings, and the room to the left held the narcotics anonymous meetings. The layout was simple and easy to navigate. Although the chairs occupied much of the room, the area incorporated walking space which prohibited the empty room from feeling congested. However, as more people started to flood in at the start of the meeting, the space began to feel smaller and less comfortable. Concurrently,  the lighting, windows, and inspirational messages created a welcoming feeling; I felt like I was at church, not a recovery center. Perhaps it was the alcoholics anonymous book that resembled the Bible and laid across each chair, the small piece of stained glass hanging from the window, or the blinding sun that projected this feeling of home and love often evident  in churches.

bid-12stepsThe feeling of welcomeness continued as the recovering alcoholics began to arrive to their 4pm meeting. The people were very nice; they awaited newcomers with open arms, and offered me to stay to listen to their stories. The meeting was filled with about 35 people and the session began with a group recitation of “The Twelve Steps” recoverers must follow. Individuals then read from the Alcoholics Anonymous book, and introduced themselves as the typical movie depicts: “Hello. My name is ___ and I am an alcoholic.” After, people told stories about their personal fight against alcoholism. As people spoke, I heard claps, snaps, and “amens,” and saw the nodding of heads in agreement. The class then ended with a group prayer which was also recited by all 35 members.


screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-8-19-34-pmOverall, the interior space is one of great contrast. It is assumed that the alcoholics that have faced tragedies would carry a cloud of depression and feel reluctant to attend these meetings, but these people embody immense happiness and express their appreciation for The Dupont Circle Club. One man shared how he his addiction had caused him to hurt his family many times, but he felt grateful to be in the place he was today. The second contrast involves the location of the club. If one follows the stairs to the third story, he or she will find themselves at the psychic reading which opposes the religious practices of the recovery center. Lastly, Dupont Circle Club lies amongst so many bars and fancy restaurants that sell wine, for there are about 20 bars that appear on google maps in Dupont. Addicts are constantly faced with temptation verses self betterment. However, these opposites fit perfectly for a neighborhood that is both high class and urban with a high number of homeless people outside of top businesses and high end stores.

wall decor that acts as inspiration






Works Cited 

“Deaths.” Washington Evening Star. March 9, 1926.

History, Dupont Circle Club. 2016 http://www.dupontcircleclub.com/about/history/

“Why You Can Buy A Luxurious Prestige.” Washington Evening Star. March 26, 1964.


Digital Archives

bid-psyInterior Description: Digital Record 1
Here is the outside view of Dupont Circle Club. The most advertised parts of the door is the address number and the “Psychic Readings” sign. The Dupont Circle Club sign is on the center of the door and on a laminated piece of paper. At the bottom of the door is another sign advertising Sherpa Prep. The door focuses on the psychic readings, causing people to overlook the help center.






Interior Description: Digital Record 2

bid-bocThese blue chairs take up the majority of the space in both rooms. The chairs are set up in rows, and face the center of the room. Therefore, everyone can see each other and the main leader of the sessions who sits in the center of the room. On each chair is the blue Alcoholics Anonymous books which the members read before their session, then discuss in class.











Interior Description: Digital Record 3

This is one of the many encouraging pieces that hang upon the walls. This picture incorporates the aspects of Christianity that Dupont Circle Club practices. The quote also inspires hope to these people who have been throughbid-church hard times and inspires them to keep going by saying, “grant me the serenity to accept the things Icannot change.” The pretty flowers and decoration of the picture also adds to the light and positive feeling the club tries to create.







Interior Description: Digital Record 4

bid-12stepsThe room is filled with long white posters which each have different rules, traditions and steps of the recovery process. Here, is the Twelve Steps that recoverers have to follow in the recovery process. These steps are read at the beginning of each session as a reminder of how members should behave and what action they will take in the future.








Interior Description: Digital Record 5

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-8-19-34-pmHere is a screenshot of a google map of all the bars in Dupont Circle. In such a small area, there are around 20 bars within The Dupont Circle Club where most members struggle with alcohol addiction. An attendee of the meeting recalled how she used to bar hop daily in Dupont Circle, so all the bars knew her name.



4. Exhibit/ Background

Washington Evening Star Newspaper Articles on French Poodle Store  

“Why You Can Buy A Luxurious Prestige.” Washington Evening Star. March 26, 1964.

There are plenty of newspapers that advertise a place called French Poodle, a fur clothing store located at 1623 Connecticut Ave. Specifically, there are two newspaper ads that were published in March 1964. The first article advertises a bunch of gently used mink pieces which are being sold “as low as $88.” The second article also advertises French Poodle which has three different storefronts, but specifically promotes the one located at the same place as the AA club. According to the ad, their other location has been robbed, so there will be a big sale at the store on Connecticut Avenue. The primary source is reliable and factual because it is a true advertisement to the high class citizens who lived and shopped in Dupont in 1964.

I plan to use this article to exhibit the history of the 1623 Connecticut Ave location and support the claim that Dupont was, and still is, a high class area. The most telling part of the first source is the syntax it uses. In describing the minks, the ad says, “they are the minks which we rent to exquisitely dressed woman.”  This sentence establishes a targeted audience which the store wishes to sell their minks to, and it communicates that they only sell high class minks to equally high class people. However, the minks are gently used. In order to maintain their reputation of selling expensive, high class clothing, they write in the ad, “actually they get very little wear, but we must classify them as ‘second hand use.’” This reputation of a rich area is very interesting because Dupont is such a diverse and urban area. I will also use it to contrast the these ritzy places with Dupont’s high homeless population. Concurrently, it will support other articles that I have found which claim that Dupont citizens fought hard to rid Dupont of homeless people.  


3. Exhibit/ Background

Washington Evening Star Newspaper Articles (*note: link to source in dates of newspaper articles)

Two newspaper articles from Washington Evening Star both include a funeral section.  Both articles are reliable sources from an established newspaper company that specifically states facts in the two sections used for this interior analysis. The first newspaper article is from March 9th,1926, while the second article is from June 18, 1927. The article from 1926, includes an obituary about a man named Robinson who died on March 7th, 1926. In the obituary section, it says, “remains resting at 1623 Connecticut Ave”, which is the same place the Dupont Circle Club lies today. This sentence leads to questions about whether the person was buried under their house and why the body was specifically there. The question is answered by the article from 1927 that infers that the 1623 Connecticut Ave location was inhabited by a funeral home. Written under the “funeral directors” section of the newspaper, it says, “ Almus R. Speare, succeeding the original W.R Speare Co. 1623 Connecticut Ave.” This section of the newspaper infers that the funeral home is now being ran by a new director.

I plan to use this information to exhibit the evolution of the building that currently holds the Dupont Circle Club. My original assumption was that the building that houses the club was originally an apartment building due to its structure, however, I can not conclude that the place was a funeral home. I can also use these articles as background information that tells the history of the interior environment and perhaps interpret the layout of the space from a new perspective. Lastly I can use the information as an argument that Dupont was an accepting and diverse place, for this one location houses two organizations that very clearly stand out: an alcoholics anonymous club and a funeral home.

Georgia Referendum to Amend State Constitution:

“Shall Property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?”


Root sentence: “Property owned by the University of Georgia and is free from taxation.”

Words that jump out: shall, affordable, exempt, taxation

The encoder, AKA the writer, seems to be a source outside of the university. I would infer that the referendum came from a government body and is now found in some type of information pamphlet belonging to the University of Georgia. The intended audience is the college students, for whoever releases the information can use it to attract students to apply to the university and feel better about where their money is going to. The use of the word “shall” stands out because the referendum now sounds more official; it sounds like a proclamation that has come from somebody of high standing. The encoder makes the sentence very complicated but also very specific in order to show how it applies to both the university and the students. Although the sentence is structurally complicated, it is fairly simple and easy to understand because the one “goal” of the sentence, “to continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable,” is written in simple syntax. Therefore, the sentence structure is complicated but the message is clear and easy to understand.


Dupont Circle is a park, neighborhood, historic attraction and a traffic circle designed by the architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant in 1791. The circle intersects the Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire Avenues, aldupont-statueong with Nineteenth Street and P Street. The area where Dupont Circle lies today was originally named Pacific Circle until 1884 when a statue of Francis DuPont, a Civil War Naval hero, arrived in the center of the circle (Williams 7). Concurrently, Dupont transformed from a wooded and uncultivated area with large country estates, to a luxurious place where the wealthy, influential and people of high political standing subsided and spent their days shopping in their equally high class stores (Williams 9). Although many of the estates were transformed into office buildings, small shops and row homes, the high class feeling still persists in Dupont Circle today.


The first thing I noticed as I arrived to Dupont Circle was how eager Dupont was to have visitors. Although Dupont was originally a residential neighborhood, the plethora of shops and restaurants make the area seem like a tourist attraction. The neighborhood is incredibly accessible with its Metro system which was constructed in Dupont in the 1970s (Williams 9). Dupont’s circular design makes it very easy for a newcomer such as myself to visit any of the five intersecting streets and avenues. I walked out of the metro station, and simply loftfollowed the circle until I reached Connecticut Avenue where the Dupont Circle Club is located. As I walked around the circle, I saw many different types of people. There were business people dressed in suits, homeless people begging for money, families with little kids in strollers and people sitting at outdoor eateries. Amongst the congestion of people were high end shops such as Lou Lou Boutiques, Blue Mercury, Loft and plenty of other expensive stores along with a line of restaurants which all offer outdoor seating and happy hours. Dupont appeals to all economic classes with cheaper fast food options amongst bars and restaurants. As I walked to the AA club, I saw Subway, Smoothie King, Chipotle, and Starbucks. Roaming the streets, I heard the conversations of the people sitting at outdoor restaurants and smelt the delicious sweets from places like Larry’s Ice Cream and Cupcakes. Dupont is a place of convenience with a 7- Eleven, Walgreens and CVS for people to quickly stop in to grab whatever they need before they continue exploring Dupont or on their way to work.   


Dupont Circle is a place filled with lots of contrast. “Homeless” people are intertwined with the wealthy, and a family parside-walkk lies among business buildings. The contrast continues with the way the space in Dupont is utilized. The area appears large and spacious because the streets are wide with plenty of lanes and a big circle, but the sidewalks are crammed. The sidewalk is not big enough to accompany the stores, the pedestrians, the bicyclist and the homeless who sit on the sidewalks. While walking, I tried to avoid bumping into people besides me. As I looked towards the street, I realizetrafficd that the traffic was also congested. There were at least four lanes all going in the same direction, but traffic still seemed chaotic; I felt like I was back home, looking at Center City Philadelphia traffic during rush hour. The line of empty parked cars and bikes also reminded me of Philly with these roadside obstacles that make the street harder to navigate. As a newcomer, the chaos on the sidewalk and on the streets overwhelmed me, but as I looked pass the traffic, I enjoyed the site of the architecture and felt calm again.


Though Dupont Circle possesses qualities of an urban center, its architectural environment creates a ritzy area. As I looked to the other side of the street, I saw auburn, tan, brown, white and blue buildings with intricate architectural designs. These structures were unique with rigid recalming-buildingsctangular and triangular designs and appear to have been homes in their past life. Outside of these shops were little trees and strings of yellow lights which added to the jovial feeling. The outside of these buildings were very unique with rigid rectangular and triangular structures. The architectural detail of the buildings and the environment contributes to this high class feeling. Overall Dupont Circle is a busy and urban environment that appeals to various types of people based on its diversity of shops, attractions and people.



 Work Cited

Williams, Paul. Images of America: Dupont Circle. Arcadia Publishing, 2000



Digital Archives 

Exterior Built Environment: Digital Record 1

dupont-statueThis Dupont Circle sign appears on almost every other light pole. It welcomes people to Dupont Circle, allows people to know where they are,  and advertises their website where people can learn about upcoming events, places to eat and the history of Dupont. The flag features the iconic fountain in the center of Dupont Circle which has been attracting kids on hot summer days since 1940s. The fountain was donated by the Library of Congress (Williams 8).









Exterior Built Environment: Digital Record 2

loftThis is one of many high class stores which a visitor is bound to see. Dupont is filled with many shopping attractions which all follow the model of open doors and big windows. The windows act as exhibits that allow people to see the best of what the store has to offer, creating incentive for people to come in and shop, thus adding to D.C’s revenue.








Exterior Built Environment: Digital Record 3

side-walkThis picture exhibits the congestion of the sidewalks and depicts how it is divided among people, stores, bikes and signs. The picture also shows the type of high end stores such as Blue Mercury and Lou Lou Boutique amongst the cheaper stores such as Smoothie King and Comfort Shoes. Lasty, the rigid, row home-like, architecture is apparent from this view.




Exterior Built Environment: Digital Record 4

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-4-21-07-pmHere is an example of the traffic. The parked cars makes the street seem more chaotic than it actually is. If one looks closely, they can see that there are at least four lanes. The traffic is likely to be congested due to the merging of streets where cars join traffic from below.







Exterior Built Environment: Digital Record 5

calming-buildingsMany buildings in Dupont resemble this model. The buildings are three to four stories tall, with lots of windows. The buildings are very rigid with unique colors and shapes, and the layout of the structures confirms that the current stores were once rowhomes. Also, the trees and lights in front of the stores give that peaceful and ritzy feeling.