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Where to live in DC...

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Old 10-01-08, 12:38 PM
  #1  
Jerseysbest
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Where to live in DC...

This may run contrary to my post "How much to split rent?", but I may have a job in DC, and I'll probably find out tomorrow.

Don't want to jinx it, but the job would be located right off the National Mall by the Capital Building.

Salary and time frame have already been discussed, so if offered I need to start in two weeks.

I guess I should look for something temporary, but is the Capital Hill area a decent place to live? According to Craigslist, rent is comparable to what I'm paying now, so its not much of an issue.

Thanks again BF, you've been my source of info when friends and family run dry...
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Old 10-01-08, 01:04 PM
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It's nice enough, but not too much going on on that side of town (may be plenty for others though, I guess it depends what you're used to). Some of the area that real estate agents call Capitol Hill can be a bit sketchy.

I prefer NW around Adams Morgan/Woodley Park. I think it's a bit nicer neighborhood with a lot more going on and still a very easy commute by bike, bus, or Metro.

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Old 10-01-08, 01:09 PM
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Our homies live in Adams/Morgan, they like it well enough, other than the outrageous rent.
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Old 10-01-08, 02:17 PM
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my buddy lives in dupont circle and he says it's not too bad. You might get hit on at the cvs apparently
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Old 10-01-08, 02:19 PM
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My little brother used to live in Ballston in Arlington. That was pretty cool ableit pricey.
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Old 10-01-08, 02:30 PM
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DC can be pretty expensive - and what's not expensive can be dodgy.

I like Eastern Market area. A bit quirky but probably not as pricey as Adams Morgan or Dupont Circle and with good access to the Capitol.
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Old 10-01-08, 03:09 PM
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I have been living on Capitol Hill since 1982. It is a fantastic place to live and is getting better all the time. In some recent "Best Neighborhoods in the US" article Capitol Hill's Eastern Market area (where I live) was rated in the top ten. If you are young and single (straight or gay), there are lots of Hill staffers and other young people. There are also tons of families -- I raised my kids here and they are both back in the area after college. DW and I have a beautiful house on the water but if we eventually need to downsize to one place we will spend our twilight years right here.

Now, having said that, close in Capitol Hill, like Georgetown, and Adams Morgan are expensive. if you are young and hip and want to live cheaper, you can live in a "edgier" area on the fringes of Capitol Hill, off the U Street corridor, Trinidad, Mt Ranier, etc.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:55 PM
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I'm about a block and a half from the Capitol grounds, and I friggin' love it there. I've got a Korean-run supermarket on the next corner, my home state's football fan club meets at the bar three doors down from there (TOTALLY coincidental), Eastern Market is an easy walk, etc etc.

Of the three places I was looking at when I moved in, one of them was next door to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's townhouse (which meant that security was tight, yet quietly so ). My own building has several congressional types either owning condos or living there, which means that a call to 911 (when my neighbor reported a stranger in the building... who turned out to be the cable guy) results in a few cruisers and a SWAT team.

I have to say, though, that it starts getting sketchier outside of my little pocket. The H Street corridor needs some help, and anywhere northeast of the big intersection of H, Maryland Ave., and Bladensburg just doesn't get good press. I'd stick within a box bordered by F St NE, Lincoln Park, and the freeway.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:05 AM
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1600 Pennsylvania Ave would be the preferred address.

Up around Rock Creek Park seems pretty nice. I don't know much about other neighborhoods though.
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Old 10-02-08, 05:09 AM
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I'd go across the river into Alexandria, Arlington or Rosslyn. Falls Church even. The bike trails network in that area are such that you'd never need to drive to work.

If I were 20 years younger and not married, i'd give city living a go instead of the cushy 'burb I live in now.
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Old 10-02-08, 10:52 AM
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I've lived on Capitol Hill since 2001, and I love it. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's right for me and my family.

Something you should know, most rentals on the hill that I've seen are called English Basements or "ground floor" units. That's a basement floor of a townhouse, half flight of stairs down from the street. Home owners live upstairs. Legal ground floor rentals have two entrances, ceiling height over 7 feet (or something reasonable), seperate utilities, etc. Lots (most?) of them are not up to code, though, and are often cheaper because of it. Lots of them are also completely underground with no windows and only one door, so that's something to keep in mind when estimating the cost of rent by looking at Craigslist ads.

Closer to the Metro also means higher price, if you plan on riding your bike to work (15 minutes, nice ride) or walking you could look for rentals that aren't close to metro.

H street has changed a lot in the past 5 years, is home to some trendy restauraunts and clubs, more opening every year. But for the most part, Capitol Hill is a quiet family neighborhood that goes to sleep at night.

Good luck with the job and home hunt!

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Old 10-02-08, 11:04 AM
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Mount Pleasant (between Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan) is where it's at, man. It's more of its own "neighborhood" than any other spot in NW, has its own "main street", diverse, trees everywhere, quiet, and rents are still pretty cheap.

Viva MtP.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by same time View Post
Something you should know, most rentals on the hill that I've seen are called English Basements or "ground floor" units. That's a basement floor of a townhouse, half flight of stairs down from the street. Home owners live upstairs. Legal ground floor rentals have two entrances, ceiling height over 7 feet (or something reasonable), seperate utilities, etc. Lots (most?) of them are not up to code, though, and are often cheaper because of it. Lots of them are also completely underground with no windows and only one door, so that's something to keep in mind when estimating the cost of rent by looking at Craigslist ads.
Yeah, I've noticed a lot of basement type apartments on Craigslist. Some don't explicitly say it but by inferring from their descriptions and the pictures, you can tell they are.

So if a place has only 1 entrance, its not a legal rental?
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Old 10-02-08, 11:35 AM
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Another vote for the Capitol Hill area, esp. Eastern Market. There are some pretty good apartment opportunities to be had there, and Capitol Hill Bikes is a good LBS.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:44 AM
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My folks live in Springfield and my sister lives in Lorton. I would not recommend either for a cyclist. Way too busy, crappy roads for cycling.

Check out the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (bikepptc.org, I think) for a decent group to ride with.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Jerseysbest View Post
So if a place has only 1 entrance, its not a legal rental?
I'm pretty sure that's one of the rules for English Basements, otherwise it's considered an In-Law Suite and you're not supposed to rent it out. Like I said, though, most of 'em don't follow the rules, and there are lots of nice places with only one door.

The biggest one to watch out for is ceiling height. One house I looked at had a basement apartment with less than 5 foot ceilings. It was like that office scene in "Being John Malkovich".
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Old 10-02-08, 12:18 PM
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do yourself a favour:
STAY away from the commonwealth a.k.a. Virginia.

I have a theory why they are so brain damaged out there.
On the morning commute the sun is smashing into their faces as they sit in 5 mph traffic.
Same for the Evening rush, suns setting and right back in their faces.

They choose to do this. Willingly. How can brain cells stand up to such a daily barrage
of photonic emissions?

Could take the train, NAH.... Got Metro... nope.... Buses galoure no way.
Gonna sit in my SUV
in traffic cause I LOVE IT.

**Back on track heah....
just about anything inside of the district is bicycle friendly. . ( cities broken in quadrants)
S.E. & S.W get bad raps for violence and for the most part is true. Now also Trinidad in N.E.
has for lack of a better description border guards....very nasty troubles there.
There are nice spots in S.E. a.k.a. capitol hill
but $$$$. Not sure what your finances are ..
You can count on anything you find will be a little pricey inside of the beltway.

I have a home in Rockville Maryland and commuted daily by bicycle to the U.S. Courts
Admin building by Union Station when I worked there a few years ago,
less than an hour ride.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by same time View Post
But for the most part, Capitol Hill is a quiet family neighborhood that goes to sleep at night.
Unless your block is partially populated by young Hill staffers and interns, so you can hear their Real World-type drunken dramas play out after the bars close.

But yeah, it's interesting that the neighborhood feels somewhat cozy even though it was probably targeted by more Soviet nuclear warheads than any other spot on Earth. Much of it was designated as a historical district, which has kept large developments from eliminating the town houses, which themselves never go above two or three stories (which also depends on whether you count the basement as the first floor). It's in the middle of everything, yet it's just enough out of the way, so you can get some relative quiet while having the big city literally a few blocks away.

So, Jerseysbest, what's the word on the job? It's been "tomorrow" already.
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Old 10-03-08, 05:29 AM
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Old 10-03-08, 03:52 PM
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1800 miles from the white house sounds right
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Old 10-03-08, 10:19 PM
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Isn't DC the murder-capital of the U.S.? Why would you want to live there? Then again, half of that is probably political anyway.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:32 PM
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DC rightly earned its "murder capital" title prior to the gun ban, yet its murder rate has risen to its pre-ban level (which is part of why it wasn't difficult for the ban to be overturned this year). One of the other apartments I checked out back in 2002 had the agent saying that they only use one security guard now because the Jamaican gun runners were kicked out of the neighborhood (which was apparently good enough to be a selling point).

Parts of DC still suck. Capitol Hill isn't one of those parts. Up until the country's housing market broke, my neighborhood was one of the hottest pieces of real estate in the country.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Isn't DC the murder-capital of the U.S.? Why would you want to live there? Then again, half of that is probably political anyway.
From Wikipedia:

"Crime in Washington, D.C. peaked in the early 1990s, when it was known as the murder capital of the United States. Crime rates have since declined substantially as gentrification has spread across many parts of the city....
According to F.B.I. statistics, in 2006 the rate of violent crime in Washington, D.C. was 1445.84 crimes per 100,000 population.[1] Among the cities reporting with 100,000 or more population, Washington ranked number 18 in its rate of violent crime."

In 1991 the rate was 81/100K. In 2006 29/100k

Definitely not the murder capital of the world. Although Mayfield either.
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Old 10-06-08, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
So, Jerseysbest, what's the word on the job? It's been "tomorrow" already.
I wish I could tell you, this place moves slow as molasses... but it is looking good for me in terms of being selected. At this point I'm only concerned about how much they'll offer.
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Old 10-06-08, 08:02 PM
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