Last month, The Post’s Vanessa Williams wrote a story about what Yale University professor Elijah Anderson calls a “cosmopolitan canopy,” a space where diverse groups of people mingle comfortably. We asked readers where in our region they experience this kind of diversity; following here are a few of their responses.
Bob and Edith’s is a true D.C. area melting pot. Typical of D.C., the founding family moved here from somewhere else; in this case, they’re Texans. The clientele is a real smorgasbord of people across races, income level, social groups, and age. Go on a Saturday morning at 5 a.m. and witness the last hardy partygoers mix with the first arriving elderly residents from the surrounding neighborhoods. Everyone gets treated the same at Bob and Edith’s. And its popularity reflects that. — David E. Stewart
Community Forklift is an unusual place: a nonprofit thrift store, but instead of accepting donations of couches and clothing, we focus on building and landscaping materials and architectural salvage. The name refers to our nonprofit mission, to “lift up local communities,” and we take our role as a gathering place seriously. We get folks from all neighborhoods and economic levels.
Wealthy folks from Capitol Hill and Old Town Alexandria come to check out the antique materials. We see the Greatest Generation on fixed incomes and the Millennials with their first houses, and they both have the same motivation: Their toilet is cracked or their back door is rotting, and Community Forklift is the only place where they can afford a replacement.
And here’s why the place is extra-cool: all these diverse people actually interact with each other! Shoppers consult each other for opinions. We’ve got old-timers who hang out for hours, sipping the free cocoa in the winter, and they love to help identify mystery objects (“Oh yes, my dad used to have one of these in his shop.”). — Ruthie Mundell
What began 40 years ago as a recreational club for area Latino youth has grown to a multi-service organization serving over 4,000 youth of all ethnic backgrounds. LAYC thrives on Columbia Heights’ diversity, from its rich immigrant population to Washington’s young professionals living in new high-rises. In LAYC’s teen center, youth gather after school to work on homework or look for jobs, oftentimes with help from area college students. Most notable is how these young people interact despite the outward differences. — Araceli Rosenberger
Marianne Becton’s cardio/strength/stretch class is filled with beautiful, strong women (and a couple of very brave and buff guys) whose ages span more than a few decades. Looking around, you see a range of skin colors, hair textures and styles, eye shapes and body types that attests to the diversity of the community the gym draws from. I’ve been to gyms with more amenities and fancier cars in the parking lot, but the vibe is the friendliest. Last spring, we even had a potluck, hosted by Marianne, where we got to see everybody with their clothes on! — Alexandra Acosta
With the evolution of the food truck phenomenon, I experience diversity during my lunch break. So many different types of people — young, old, men, women, African American, Caucasian, Muslim, Jewish, short and tall (you get the idea) — roam among others looking for their choice of food. I cannot count the times that I’ve stood in the Korean truck line next to a person of Indian descent or waited to order Ethiopian food after a Malaysian woman. Maybe it will be food that finally unites this nation!— Sonya Crudup
Going to Kazaxe classes is like being part of a mini-United Nations, with Latinos, Africans, African Americans, Caribbeans, Asians, Middle Easterners, you name it. Not only is it racially diverse, but it is diverse in terms of age as well. I often see women who are grandmothers dancing along next to high school students! Although mainly women attend these classes (as is the case with most group exercise classes), we get a few men, too.— Claudia Reyes
I love that Community Church looks a lot like the surrounding community (Loudoun County). Our congregation is a mix of all kinds of ethnicities, ages and religious backgrounds. The diversity is a great strength of our church. — Brian Ayers
A weekly soccer pickup game here draws a huge diversity of participants. Although almost exclusively male (no rule, just happens that way), the year-round game draws players from Central America, South America (with a lot of Peruvians and Brazilians), West Africa, England, Germany, the Middle East, India, and a large range of employment and economic statuses. Ages range from early 20s to late 60s or 70s. Playing together inevitably leads to much bonding. There’s postgame socializing and some outings to college and pro games. — Richard A. Kerr
I teach fitness classes at this club and I see the most amazing mix of people coming and going. I have women come to my classes who keep their heads, arms and legs covered, working out next to women in tank tops and shorts, alongside men who are in the military. Club members are from Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and the United States. I don’t think there is a majority of any race or color. — Eileen Grant
Every Tuesday we have an outside farmer’s market. One of the stands is Grace’s Breads. The woman who owns Grace’s is from Ghana, and the woman who works there, and is known for putting out generous samples, is from Peru. The breads are based upon American (often Southern or Midwestern), Latin, Jamaican and Italian recipes. The customers are American, Caribbean and African, Indian, Pakistani, Korean, Chinese, Lithuanian, blacks, whites and browns who are hungry and love good bread. We end up sharing advice and suggesting breads to taste. — Rosalind Lazarus
I’ve taught aqua aerobics at the Anacostia Pool since 2004. My summer class includes a diverse group of adults over the age of 18. This year we had a large group of seniors, and they really took to the outdoor class. They’re mostly African American, but also Hispanic and some mixed backgrounds. And this year, we had a few Caucasians as well. It was a party-like class. It’s outdoors and warm and everyone is ready for a lot of fun. — Dolly Davis