Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:51 PM ET, 09/24/2010

Running into a hook-up space behind a D.C. school

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Katie Manning
Washington

Last fall, I cheerfully laced up my Nikes for my first jog through Rock Creek Park. The trail, behind Francis Stevens Junior High School in West End, is blocks from where I live. But as I jogged along a path, just a few hundred feet behind the school, my eyes widened at the sight before me. Dozens of condom wrappers littered the trail. Used condoms hung from shrubs and scattered branches. I quickened my pace to get out of the park.

Rock Creek Park, one of the District’s top attractions, hosted about 14 million visitors last year. The park was founded in 1890 with the hope of offering city dwellers a glimpse of the area’s habitat in its “natural condition, as nearly as possible.” Nowadays, the P Street Beach area falls something short of this goal.

Visitors on the trail by 25th and N streets will run across condoms, as I did, or potentially even people engaged in sexual activity. Clearly, the D.C. government and law enforcement authorities need to exercise greater oversight of the park.

The head of the Parent Teacher Association at Francis Stevens, Desiree McCoy, 33, explains that the situation is so dodgy that teachers make sure students avoid the area. “We have an invisible boundary, for lack of a better term,” she said, “and our staff kind of monitors them, so they don’t go back there.”

Debbie Schreiber, 57, a board member of the Dupont Circle Citizens’ Association, describes herself as “pretty urban.” The tall, confident woman has lived in the Dupont Circle area for 10 years. She visits Rock Creek Park every day, but she doesn’t wander the trail behind Francis Stevens. Schreiber observes, “There’s a lot of hanging out in there, and that’s probably a bad thing for illicit behaviors.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2004, the Washington Blade published an article about public sex behind the school. Mitch Woods, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA), says, “For many years, easily going back to the late ’70s, P Street Beach has been very cruisey.” In 1999, the GLAA testified against the park police’s “harassment and entrapment of men having sex with men in the vicinity of P Street Beach,” Woods adds.

When I called the Park Police to ask them about the trail at P Street Beach — part of their jurisdiction — officers were initially unsure whether the area is their responsibility or that of the D.C. police. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser says this jurisdictional issue causes problems for patrolling the area.

The P Street Beach area is “where city property abuts national park property,” says Schlosser. He says he is unaware of condom wrappers on the trail. Former Ward 7 D.C. Council member Kevin Chavous says border areas generally “end up being paralyzed into virtual inaction.” McCoy says that “something will probably have to happen before it will come back on the radar.” The trail behind the school has been “this way for a long time, and it doesn’t show signs of getting better,” according to McCoy.

Cruisinggays.com, a Web site that points people to “gay Washington cruising areas,” describes the area of Rock Creek between P and M street awkwardly, writing: “It’s like a hiking trail, well it is a hiking trail during the day.”

The P Street Beach area hosts a school, full of preteens. Considering its apparent status as a meet-up spot for sex, police should patrol the area sooner rather than later. Until then, my Nikes will stick to the cement trail of my neighborhood sidewalks.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 24, 2010; 6:51 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., crime, schools  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The money in VDOT's mattress
Next: What a good tour guide knows

Comments

Good article, I'm new to the area and love to jog, and will be very happy to avoid this area, and wonder why something isn't done by the police, especially when located in such close proximity to a school.

Posted by: dbaas50 | September 24, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

So, you prefer the cement trail to the semen trail? What do you propose? Placing these men in a penile institution? Might not be the disincentive you imagine.

Good luck overturning one of the Dupont Circle area's more enduring traditions....

Posted by: confounded | September 25, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

OK, LISTEN UP, because I have a LOT to say.

1. In general, I commend the author and agree with her points and her process of fact-finding.

2. That said, I do not appreciate the above comment. Intelligent discussions about topics such as this, often get muddled with hate-speech and immature comments lie the one posted above.

3. The author does an absolutely fine job of addressing the issue. "Confounded", why must you diminish the dialogue with your cheap jokes? I believe this subtle bigotry is more dangerous than outright discrimination. It is more difficult to target and stop.

Confounded is an undercover agent of discrimination, and we need to start recognizing this type of language for what it is.

The author did a great job, well-researched and well-written; however, users like Confounded need to keep their subversive GAY BASHING diatribes to themselves.

Anyone who disagrees should be ASHAMED of themselves.

I am awaiting a FULL APOLOGY


Posted by: grights1000 | September 27, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Here’s how this works. Gay men move into a run down area of any given town trying to find a place of acceptance. This is an area that 40 years ago no uptight, ultimately suburban mentality, white woman would dare live in. Now that the gays have cleaned it up and made it all p-r-e-t-t-y she would like to for the gay men to please stop being so noisy in those gay bars (I am raising my tiny ones! And I am soooo hip I live in “The City”) and stop having sex late at nite in the park - the sight of condoms in a DC city park - a city with a third world infection rate - maybe not such a bad thing – but can’t you just go back to Virginia or where ever you came from.

Posted by: MattSmith1 | September 27, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

LOL

Posted by: confounded | September 27, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Could someone explain to me why someone, anyone, a white woman would jog/run through a rugged hilly urban park that's littered with fallen trees, rocks and spider webs in the first place.
EVERYONE knows what has been going on in that park since the 1970's so take your Polly Anna self and your 2.5 kids back to the suburbs where your whines might be appreciated.
Is there anything worse than suburban-nites
invading urban cities?
POOF !! Disappear.

MattSmith1 Fanned

Posted by: Mcarter4 | September 29, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Mcarter4, you need it explained to you why someone would run through a "rugged hilly urban park"? Seriously? And you think it's out of bounds to ask why people would have sex in that same PUBLIC park?

Get a grip, man. You're the one who should "poof disappear."

I've lived in DC (east of Rock Creek, btw) for 15 years, and am about as liberal as they come, but those of you trying to make the argument that sex near schools in public, urban parks is OK are seriously warped.

The fact that it's been going on for a long time doesn't mean it isn't a really f_cked up thing to do. And I don't give a damn what the gender or sexual orientation of the participants is.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 29, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Princes,the ONLY reason women run through "The Black Forest" (for those un-familiar it is NOT called "P Beach") is because they feel safe that cruising gay men aren't going to attack them.
I would dare say that if "The Black Forest" was throughout history known as a straight mans hangout,women (in their right minds) wouldn't suit up in their tight spandex shorts and gallop through the forest.
Women run through "The Black Forest" because they feel safe to do it...so their urge to scream "OMGAWD there are homosexuals fornicating in there" (as they point) to the media, police and elected officials is laughable.
You don't want to see it...change the channel. Find somewhere else to run.
Perhaps if she would have applied her investigative talents to the very neighborhood that she was contemplating moving to before she moved she would have known that moving to gay central, where drag queens, homosexuals, cruising and fornication are the norm (in ALL urban cities) wasn't her cup of tea.
I'm sure she could have found a straight, white, "family" neighborhood in NW that would have appeased her. Instead she's wasting her investigative talents, after the fact, on the ills of history.
pffff.
I wonder how she deals with the homosexuals copping feels in broad daylight/nightlight at the corner of 22nd and P ST, appalled I'm sure, it is after all 2 blocks from a school, around the corner from a church and up the street from her condo.
"Isn't THAT special"
Let us pray.
P.S. I have an extra ticket to "Folsom Street Fair" if you or her are interested, she'd REALLY have allot to report about if she'd step out of her DC Gay Central condo (to some place other than a sex path to gallop) and take notes at a REAL gay summit.

Posted by: Mcarter4 | September 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate that you are also interested in the topic. I would like to clarify how close this space is to Francis Stevens Junior high school. The playground, behind the school, meets with the trail. The trail is about 200 feet behind the actual school building. I was told that used condoms and wrappers have been discarded onto the playground.

I spoke with many residents who weren't aware that this is a cruising area. I think Francis Stevens parents should know that public sex is taking place right behind the school. The issue isn't about the cruisers' sexual orientation.

Posted by: KatieManning | September 29, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ms "Church Lady" ummm sorry, Ms Katie...no need to "clarify" it's location to Francis school, we all are quite aware as we didn't just move into the city...we're Washingtonians.

So you were "told" "used condoms and wrappers have been discarded onto the playground." lol, and what else have you been "told"?

Honey, while you are on a research binge research how men use condoms and wrappers. I can tell you for a fact sweetie that men do not use a condom and then walk "200 Feet" to discard it and it's wrapper, ESPECIALLY outside. duh !! It's called use and toss.
Trust...not everyone lives under a shell, the parents of the students at Francis school are well aware that sex goes on (24/7/365/rain/shine, for your research)DIRECTLY behind the school.
I sooooo cannot wait until next summer when you get an eye full of what goes on at Francis Pool and P Beach.
(you'll have to research P Beach since according to your original post you do not know what/where P Beach is).

Try not to let it all consume and run your life.
...and if it does, MOVE !!! Virginia has plenty of vacancies for your type (not too close to LBJ Park though, DIRECTLY beside The Pentagon, you know what goes on there 24/7/365/rain/shine, right?)

Posted by: Mcarter4 | September 29, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Mcarter4,
I agree with "Princess". You are putting two issues together. The fact is that there is a school and people engaging in nefarious activities close by. The author fairly isolates this issue. We must support her.

Also, thank you, "Confounded, for making yourself look ridiculous. It's nice to win one for the good guys.

All you people need to see the real issue. I don't appreciate you flooding this comment area with senseless babble. You don't know what you are talking about.

And one more thing, people who sit on their hands and say nothing are just as bigoted. There are real issues here.

Again, shame on all of you, especially the person who says nothing...don't be a coward.

This is America.

If you want to be a bigot, you are wrong.
I thin I've made my point, so RESPECT it.



Posted by: grights1000 | September 30, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Mcarter4,
I agree with "Princess". You are putting two issues together. The fact is that there is a school and people engaging in nefarious activities close by. The author fairly isolates this issue. We must support her.

Also, thank you, "Confounded, for making yourself look ridiculous. It's nice to win one for the good guys.

All you people need to see the real issue. I don't appreciate you flooding this comment area with senseless babble. You don't know what you are talking about.

And one more thing, people who sit on their hands and say nothing are just as bigoted. There are real issues here.

Again, shame on all of you, especially the person who says nothing...don't be a coward.

This is America.

If you want to be a bigot, you are wrong.
I thin I've made my point, so RESPECT it.



Posted by: grights1000 | September 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Two, two, two post in one!"


Minnie Pearl was appearing on stage in New York City and she settled into her New York Hotel when peering out of her hotel window she noticed a man, through his window, having relations with himself. Minnie was appalled and new the proper thing to do would be to call the police.
Once the police arrived they glanced out the window and told Minnie they didn't see anything, Minnie replied, "Hop up on that there dresser and you will see him".

Posted by: Mcarter4 | September 30, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

...up next (with camera in tow) in "The Post"
Journalist Katie Manning "Warning: pollution may occur during rainfall in Rock Creek" (Georgetown Dish)

She just can't seem to stay out of "The Bushes" can she.

ROFL

Posted by: Mcarter4 | October 1, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company