Navy Yard Safety
July 21, 2011 5:21 AM   Subscribe

How safe is the area around Nationals Park/Navy Yard in DC?

My wife and I live in Washington, DC and are thinking about moving. We have been living near American University, but now that's she's done with graduate school, there's no reason to spend that much money to live that far from the Metro.

One place that we're considering is right by the Navy Yard metro station on Half Street SW. I know that area is "transitional," but I was hoping that someone whose lived there, or spent a lot of time there, could tell us just how safe the area is. Is it safe to walk around alone after dark? Is our house or car likely to get broken into?

Bonus: How is the area in terms of restaurants/bars? We don't need a much, just a few places to eat, some takeout places, and a neighborhood bar would be nice.
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We live at Eastern Market, but the Capitol Hill parenting listserv covers Navy Yard.

We stayed there while we were looking at houses and it was FINE, but not a lot to do, I thought.

Here are some copy/pastes from my parenting list serv:

"It is safe, especially considering this is DC. Late at night a cab is certainly preferable to the metro - there are still occasional muggings, teenagers smoking pot, etc. However, I feel perfectly safe walking around at all times except the wee hours of the morning when the streets are deserted. If she is "street-smart" she should be fine.
She may want to check out JDLand dot com to see if there are any recent statistics on crime for the area, but all signs point to negligible crime. That website/blog also gives great information about what's going on in the neighborhood in general. This is not the same place it was 15 years ago when we went to the clubs around here as college students.
One note: parking can be an issue, especially on game days. If she has a car I highly recommend making sure she has a parking spot in her building's garage. So far, the DMV won't give people in high-rise buildings in our neighborhood zone 6 stickers, and so if you don't have a spot in your garage you may be SOL. The area is a "performance parking" zone that raises tons of money for the city. :) "
posted by k8t at 5:43 AM on July 21, 2011

My favorite aunt lived on 4th St. SW for about 30 years, Waterside metro was a block away. Great friendly neighborhood by the river and you could walk to the Mall. Real estate seems relatively cheap, my cousin sold her townhouse last year and didn't get nearly what we thought it was worth relative to other parts of DC.
posted by mareli at 6:09 AM on July 21, 2011

As pasted above, check out, post your question there, and/or email the blog author.

Also, you ask "How is the area in terms of restaurants/bars?", which makes me think you haven't really been there. There are currently only a few restaurants, and they mostly cater to the lunch crowd. But it's not too far from 8th St (Barracks Row) and the restaurant strip on Pennsylvania Ave SE.

There are currently summer concerts (Friday evenings 6-8 pm and Wednesdays at lunch). Come on down, listen to some music, and wander around the neighborhood.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:46 AM on July 21, 2011

Also, you ask "How is the area in terms of restaurants/bars?", which makes me think you haven't really been there.

Yeah, we haven't gone down there yet(other than for the occasional Nationals game). We just found the place we're looking at yesterday, and we'll be down there tonight to look at the apartment/the neighborhood; I just wanted to get people's sense of the area before we saw the apartment.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:49 AM on July 21, 2011

A Harris Teeter and some dining establishments are coming to the area around Yards Park.
posted by k8t at 7:06 AM on July 21, 2011

I work a block away from the Navy Yard metro. I know people who live in the condos on I St SE. I don't think the neighborhood is unsafe (I've been there well into the evening on more nights than I care to count), so much as abandoned-feeling.

It really lacks amenities: the nearest supermarket (not counting Cornercopia, which is great as a deli, but is a tiny specialty shop) is the Safeway by the Waterfront metro, almost a mile away. That planned Harris Teeter would be a great boon, but it's not opening anytime soon. As recently as a year ago there was nowhere to get a chicken sandwich after 3 p.m., and at this point your options are either Justin's Cafe or hike over to Barracks Row.
posted by psoas at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2011

Yeah, right now it's kind of a wasteland. Looks to be an up-and-coming place though if you're willing to sit it out until stuff starts opening. It's about 3 to 5 years behind where it was supposed to be, but it sounds like it's going to start picking up once the Harris Teeter comes in.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:55 AM on July 21, 2011

I have a friend who lives in Capitol Hill who loves it. I just talked to him about it, and he says that there are definite boundary lines where it feels less safe, but that once you live there a while you get a feel for it.

I asked his opinion on the Navy Yard, and he says that the apartments are nice, but that:

"[it] kind of sucks
just as expensive but not a walkable neighborhood right now
still needs a lot of development
but the apratmet bdgs there are very nice
and all new"

In Capitol Hill he's within walking distance of Union Station, but this is the general metro area.

My personal experience with that area, specifically H street, is that it's a LOT of fun. Tons of bars and restaurants. I've never felt unsafe walking around there on weekends.

So it seems like if you want to wait it out, then Navy Yard might not be a bad idea, but if you're looking for something right now, then Capitol Hill could be a better option.

Good luck.
posted by codacorolla at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2011

I'd look up by NoMA instead. It's another "up and coming" metro-accessible area, but has actual amenities right now, and is within walking distance to a lot of good restaurants in the H St area. As a bonus, you have *ridiculously* easy access to Gallery Place or Dupont Circle via the Red Line, or to the U Street/AdMo bars via the 90/92/93 buses.

Near Southeast is by no means bad or unsafe, but it's still being built out. Yards Park is quite nice, but...again, hasn't been fully built out. There's nothing to do at night unless you take the (fairly short) walk up to the Barracks Row/Eastern Market area (and why not look for a place there? Capitol Hill is lovely).

We looked at renting a place by the ballpark, because it's still a decent area, and we figured it'd be cheap. Although the new buildings were very nice, the prices immediately triggered my 'WTF' reflex. Expensive in the sense of you-can-mortgage-a-very-nice-house-in-a-nice-part-of-DC-for-that-price expensive. Simply not worth it, especially given the current (barren) condition of the area.

Even Potomac Ave has two grocery stores and neighborhood bar.

The Southwest Waterfront is a bit cheaper, has older (but renovated) buildings, and is a slight bit seedier -- when the Nationals Stadium was built, they literally ran a bulldozer through all of the low-income housing in that neighborhood; Southwest is gentrifying a bit more "organically." However, they've got a great new food store, and the new waterfront will be incredible once it actually gets built. Also, the new Arena Stage sure is pretty to look at.

That all said, you can also get a bigger place for cheaper down in Crystal City, which may actually be more convenient for you, depending on your commuting patterns. Places in/around CC are cheap, spacious, safe, convenient to DC, have a fair number of local amenities available, and are truly fantastic if you're ever waxing nostalgic for some soviet-inspired concrete architecture.
posted by schmod at 8:11 AM on August 11, 2011

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