CP Area ‘Blogosphere’

For awhile there it seems as though RTCP would forever reign king over this area’s “blogosphere”. The College Park Observer was off to a good start but then apparently flopped, the College Park Site had an impressive tech-savvy rollout but is now hardly updated, and theterp.com had plenty of funding but never really went anywhere. We’re pleased to announce the recent creation of two more blogs (both apparently with a development focus): The Riverdale Park Coffee House and Route 1 Growth. Both seem to be taking more of a Hyattsville-University Park- Riverdale orientation than we do, but Route 1 Growth professes to be building a coalition of citizens concerned about development from Mount Rainier to Beltsville.

We like to believe we have a unique thing going here, but blogging has become an enormously useful/common tool for communities undergoing rapid change the country over and a vibrant blogging community is a good signal of a vibrant community. In a blogging universe that can range from information overload (still an amazing resource), to ranting lunatic and personal cat diary blogs, we like to think RTCP is well informed, easily digestible to the average reader, and reasonably easy to navigate. The jury is out on these two (new) blogs, but we certainly welcome them to the neighborhood.

5 thoughts on “CP Area ‘Blogosphere’”

  1. I’m not sure this is the right place to post this, but I was googling about for discussion boards about College Park because I find it one of the most boring college towns of its size, or any size, for that matter.

    I started working at the McKeldin library in 2007, and in the spring started to wander about a bit ‘downtown’ on my breaks, hoping to find all those quirky little shops that make college towns such fun: used record/music stores, vintage clothing stores, head shops, skate shops, comic shops, funky used book stores, coffee shops………….but what I saw was primarily the same bland, corporate America I see anywhere. Aside from the cookie-cutter college bars, you’d never even imagine the university was anywhere nearby. I wanted to escape the heinous food at the Stamp, but found more or less the same fare, in glorified versions, downtown.

    Has College Park always been this bland?

    I went to Michigan State in the late 80s/early 90s, and though it was far from cosmopolitan, it makes college park look like a strip mall in Kansas. I find little ‘unique’ here, little counterculture, and little ‘culture’ for that matter. I was always jealous I hadn’t gone to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which seemed much more exciting in my reckoning at the time. But it’s odd how a town like East Lansing, Michigan, can make a city like College Park, attached as it is to the vast metropolis of Washington, look like a grubby assortment of blasé fast food takeaways, totally lacking in ‘cool’ places to hang out. Where are the skater kids, the punk rockers, the hippies, anyone remotely out of the ‘frat/sorority’ mold?

    I hate to use the phrase ‘white bread’, but it fits College Park like a glove. I would imagine there have been few protests here.

    What gives?

    Sorry to harp on the place, but it’s almost creepy how dull it is. Have the Stepford wives taken over and given us The Stepford Students?

    Well, I’ve enjoyed seeing the site, and sorry to be so grouchy! My advice for college park is to ban chains from opening, and encourage independent businesses instead……Fells Pt. has done this in Baltimore, and Ann Arbor had some success with the same idea, though this has now eroded to a large degree…..but purge the chains!!!!!!

    Ken

  2. Ken

    welcome to College Park. while you were at MSU I was an undergrad in CP. Business took me to MSU (and Ann Arbor many times in the Mid 90’s) as well as all major college towns,, Berkely, Chapel Hill, you name it – if it has a major Univ. chances are I was there (I was a college recruiter for a global consulting firm) and its sad but true, we have a lot of work to do.

    it has a lot to do with the way this area developed. CP was rural farm land, then the post war boom brought 50’s style american suburbia (Cp is home to the american subdivision’s “rambler” – a.k.a. one story ranch house).

    many have said for a long time that our location is our biggest asset (close to DC / Balto / Washington) and at the same time our biggest problem (in “Pee Gee” County…..you see, there is huge snob-ism from the Montgomery County -our neighbor to the west – and Howard County – our neighbor to the north – and actually most of the state of Md)……our location has influenced the politics. The Baltimore region for years looked at us as “a DC school” and hence Johns Hopkins Univ – a private school – has received better state funding than the state’s flagship STATE institution – oh yeah – thats another topic for another day – the whole “flagship” designation and the political drama that caused in the late 80’s….why? becuase Md’s political muscle for a long time was more aligned with the Baltimore metro area

    It has long been said that we would easily have been perceived as Ann Arbor or Chapel Hill if we were in the Columbia area or on the banks of the Severn in Annapolis.

    I have a meeting I have to run to – more later

  3. wow – busy morning but still much to be said:

    So College Park evolved as classic post war 1950’s suburban sprawl where development was focused on making cars happy (and not the people driving them….with the exception of the Old Town / Calvert Hills districts, they have a more traditional street grid, nice mature trees, and now close to the metro, so they are cool neighborhoods) –

    As one of the earliest main arteries into and out of DC Rte 1 is completely auto focused – not just in terms of driving but look at all the businesses that cater to the auto (auto parts, service stations, car dealerships, etc)…..can you imagine back in the day before I-95 and the B/W Parkway? Every time my dad and I sit in bumper to bumper traffic on 95 going to our Terps games – he grumbles “I remember when they built this damn thing – they had to run articles in the paper BEGGING people to drive on it……Now look at it!”

    CP became an attractive area for those working in DC looking for a close by alternative to city living without the Montgomery county price tag. Now compare CP to places where the college is “the only game in town” (places like State College) – of course they are “true college towns” because that is the only reason the place exists, so everything about the place caters to the college.

    Not College Park. U of Md could shut down tomorrow and CP would still exist. So we have to look at Berkely with its proximity to San Fran and wonder, why cant CP be better?

    Well – the University’s administration clearly now “gets it” and sees how critical the redevelopment of CP is to the overall mission of the University. With the clout of a heavy hitter like Doug Duncan we have plenty of reason to be excited. What we now need to do is focus on building a coalition (hey Colin – got your email and I owe you a response – I completely agree with you) between the campus and the residents of CP (and beyond)

    One of our biggest hurdles is this unfortunate “us versus them” mentality where the residents dont trust the Univ. Admin. and hence relations have been strained. What puzzles me is this: if the residents dont like The U of Md so much, then please explain to me why it is that they moved into COLLEGE Park? I really hate saying this but it is true: U of Md set up shop in 1856. So, unless a resident is over 150 years old, why did they move in if they have such great disdain for all things Terp? The U of Md is one of the areas most significant economic engines (one that is vastly under-leveraged by the way) and as such, they have everything to gain by seeing it improve and rise in stature.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON why College Park is not one of the Beltway’s hippest, coolest, most desirable places to live – especially for young people. If we crank up the economic engine in this sleepy little burg the schools will improve, and then the cycle feeds on itself.

    I could go on and on and on.

  4. Ah yes, welcome to “the CP” as the dearly departed College Park Observer styled it. Yes, it is far less interesting and exciting as one might expect a town with a major university to be. My wife and I only moved here recently, too, and we’re often depressed by Route 1 and the paucity of interesting places to go downtown. I can sympathize with your grouchiness. But I want to make two points, 1) It’s not all bad. 2) It could get better.

    Once you accept that it isn’t Cambridge, or Charlottesville, or Chapel Hill, you begin to notice a few things worth visiting in College Park.

    I like College Perk a lot, although I don’t often think to go there because I’d rather make myself coffee than sit in the suicide turn lane on Route 1 for 5 minutes. But it’s a relaxed, funky, pleasantly dingy coffee house/cafe/bar. Look for its sign on Rt 1, just past University Dr.

    You mentioned hippies? Well, if you want to see some paisley and get called “brother” (and eat some good vegetarian food) there’s the Berwyn Cafe on Berwyn Road. It’s a little short on decor, but the food is good and the vibe is not white bread.

    I’ve also heard the UMD Golf clubhouse is a decent place to get a real drink. I haven’t been, but from what I’ve heard, it’s an undiscovered asset for people who like to drink adult beverages without being surrounded by 19-year-olds.

    There’s also a lot of natural beauty. Bike trials, parks, Lake Artemesia–it’s not exactly what makes a college town a college town, but it does make for some nice strolls and opportunities for exercise.

    My other point is that things might get better. I’ve heard that revitalization is always around the corner in CP, but there’s a lot going on right now, including East Campus and the purple line. If either of those projects go through and wind up something like the current expectations for them, the town will change.

    Also, as Kevin points out, the benefits of UMD’s location in town have not been tapped, at all. A major research university should be ringed by start up companies and nice dense housing for people without three cars and children. Do you know what “M Square” is? If so, you’re one of the few. It’s an office park on the other side of the metro station that UMD is trying to get off the ground. Given its location, there’s no reason why it and other projects shouldn’t be blossoming here. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.

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