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Anacostia: A World Apart

Washingtonpost.com Staff

Like many of Washington's neighborhoods, Anacostia is a place of historic sites, lush parks, and interesting people. But its location -- separated from the rest of Washington by the Anacostia River -- and its history of economic struggle set the area apart.anacostia scene

Anacostia is a place that defies simple categorization. Though it has the reputation to some outsiders of a dangerous, run-down quarter, to many its corner shops and turn-of-the-century houses simply represent home. Explore the contrasts in our virtual tour East of the River.

The River. To know Anacostia, you must first know the river that gives the community its name. The neglected sister of the Potomac, the Anacostia has suffered from the District's sewage and the Federal government's ignorance. But despite its environmental troubles, the Anacostia was nominated as an American Heritage River, and there is strong interest in reversing the river's decline.

The Islands. Kingman and Heritage islands, thin slivers of land in the middle of the Anacostia River, have long been little more than overgrown, mosquito-infested trash dumps. But if a divisive proposal by a British contessa comes to fruition, the island will house the high-tech Children's Island theme park. Would the theme park be a boon or simply a boondoggle? Tell us what you think in our discussion.

Neighborhoods. Visit other neighborhoods East of the River: to the north, River Terrace and Benning; in the center, Fairfax Village and Penn-Branch, and to the south, Washington Highlands.

Anacostia High School Football. For many of the young men at Anacostia High School, football can be the only constant -- the single component of their fragile lives with a game plan. Follow the team through a season of victory and despair, both on and off the field.

Attractions. There is no shortage of things to see and do in and around Anacostia, from the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to the Smithsonian-sponsored Anacostia Museum to the historic Frederick Douglass House.

Rebuilding. Finally, check out what some people are doing to help revitalize Anacostia and other communities East of the River. With the new Walter E. Washington Estates town houses and a new Safeway in the Good Hope Marketplace and the opening of the Greenway Apartments, neighborhoods are looking toward revival.

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