Since moving to DC I hear the question a lot: “which neighborhood do you live in?” More than anywhere I’ve lived, people in this city seem very conscious of their choice of neighborhood and what it says about them. In my case, and I suppose for many of the people who live near me (at the corner of 3rd & P NW), the ubiquitous “where do you live” question is problematic – our neighborhood has no clear identity.
When I first started answering what I refer to as “the question,” my response was to say that I lived in “Shaw-Howard.” I guess I got this from the name of the nearby Metro stop, but after several puzzled looks, I came to realize that nobody uses this nomenclature.
So I shortened my response to “Shaw.” The problem is, Shaw is a really big entity and, as I later found out, technically does not extend beyond New Jersey Ave.
According to the DC housing authority, my neighborhood is called “Old City II.” That’s just plain silly and there’s no way I’m going around telling people I live in Old City II.
In search of an identity, I began looking for answers in the blogosphere. I found what I was looking for – a name that is majestic, historic, and well-defined all at once: “Truxton Circle.” Stemming from the long-gone traffic circle at the corner of N. Capital and Florida Ave., the Truxton Circle neighborhood is essentially a triangle bounded by New York, New Jersey, and Florida Avenues. The circle was named after Thomas Truxtun, an erstwhile Commodore in the U.S. Navy who made his reputation chasing down pirate ships off the Barbary Coast and knocking the British and French down a few pegs when they needed it.
In short, Commodore Truxtun was a resourceful, industrious, tough-minded, yet little-known historical figure. I would use these same adjectives to describe our neighborhood. Sometimes, a name just fits.