Park View’s vibe pulsates in the streets. Aromas fill the air: Latin American food, clouds of cigarette smoke and urban sweat. This neighborhood, north of Howard University in Washington, was welcoming to me and quickly felt like home.

Born and raised in Omaha, I attend college only 45 minutes from my childhood home. Now a thousand miles away, as a photography intern at The Washington Post, I found the quickest way to make friends was to walk around this neighborhood with my camera.

I was mesmerized by the warm afternoon light the sun cast on the colorful walls and the friendly faces. I met locals my age, slightly older, decades older and decades younger. They all live in Park View for different reasons, but they all share the same love for it.

The soundtrack of the neighborhood played on full volume each night: the rhythmic thud of basketballs on cement courts, the chorus of bugs singing in the trees, muffled music seeping from passing car windows and kids playing in the streets. I admired this symphony from my front porch, another staple of Park View.

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It is a lively community experiencing growing pains. Longtime residents told me Park View was dangerous just 10 years ago. They spoke about recent gentrification — the influx of white millennials, flipped condos, trendy coffee shops and the rising cost of living. Residents agree that it is not all bad, yet some see the changes as a threat to the neighborhood culture.

There was not a single day that I was not greeted by at least three new friends as I trekked up Newton Place on my way home. I promised I would see them again, and I know I will.

Calla Kessler was a 2017 photography intern at The Post and will return to Washington next summer to continue her internship.

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