More College Park Hating

This week’s Washington City Paper’s cover story – “Shell of a Town”- which was just released today, mounts a blistering assault on College Park. The article, at some points abrasive and combative and others startlingly insightful and well-informed, leaves anyone familiar with College Park unsure whether to laugh or cry. While it isn’t our role to debate the finer social points presented by the author, David Morton, this article is truly one of the most comprehensive accounts of the physical development of College Park that we have ever come by. He characterizes College Park as having the “locational charm of a highway rest stop” despite the university’s stately campus. Comparing College Park to America’s perennially great College Towns, the author cites “an ugly shopping strip, a scarcity of choice, an air of lurking danger, and the promise of thoughtless mayhem” as what the town has going for it. He goes on later to bemoan the city’s lack of small business, chronicles College Parks seemingly endless violent crime log, and recommends a new and innovative riot policy to school administrators – “Make College Park worth not destroying.”

Of course it really isn’t all as hopeless as Morton portrays it to be – indeed the Testudo statue on the front page is looking ahead, or rather, onward – towards East Campus.

4 thoughts on “More College Park Hating”

  1. He is right, though: Route 1 makes College Park what it is. But, I mean, none of the towns along Route 1 – Hyattsville, the Port Towns, Beltsville, Laurel – have anything better to show for themselves. We just happen to have a university.

  2. It’s damn good feature writing. I don’t take this article’s portrait of College Park personally at all. I’ve yet to see a more brutally honest portrayal of not only the town, but also the majority of its residents.

    ‘Faggots’ indeed.

  3. I think it’s telling that the article starts out with a question about student nightlife. Who cares….

    I’m a RESIDENT of College Park and while I readily admit that CP has it’s problems, if you avoid the places frequented by students (i.e., the bars mentioned in the article) CP isn’t really a bad place to live. Trust me. I’ve lived in places a lot worse. (e.g., Utica, New York)

    Finally, if you sit around lamenting that CP isn’t all it could be, then DO SOMETHING to improve it.

  4. The article wasn’t necessarily trying to say that College Park is a bad place to live, rather, it seemed to me that their emphasis was on the quality of campus life that is afforded by College Park, as a college town. It’s a fine place to live as long as you have a car and don’t mind making commutes like almost everyone else does. Likewise, if you’re a resident of College Park, it’s unlikely that you’re living in the areas of College Park that are predominantly student housing. It seems like these areas are a frequent target for muggings and assaults. Outside of these neighborhoods it’s not uncommon to enjoy a moment of peace in College Park, but students who want to avoid having to commute are not afforded these options.

    As far as other comparable towns along Route 1, while it’s true that you won’t encounter spectacular vistas and bustling commercial centers driving along the corridor, that’s not to say there aren’t good examples of what College Park could aspire to be not too far removed from Route 1. Hyattsville has a centrally located metro stop, clean & well-maintained mall, and aesthetically pleasing highrise apartments. Likewise, Greenbelt has an independent movie theatre, grocery co-op, restaurants and a New Deal cafe.

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