Progress? A City Lets An Old Market Die

The dilapidated condition of the old Florida Avenue Market reflects the city's policy of "out with the old and in with the new."
The dilapidated condition of the old Florida Avenue Market reflects the city’s policy of “out with the old and in with the new.”
Vendors who had been occupying the old buildings have been gradually moving to other parts of the market so buildings can be available for renovation.
Vendors  have been gradually moving out to other parts of the market so buildings can be available for renovation.
With the gradual displacement of vendors, a certain character of the old neighborhood is rapidly disappearing.
With the gradual displacement of vendors, a certain character of the old neighborhood is rapidly disappearing.
Walking the abandoned streets of the old market, you can easily imagine what it must have looked like during its heyday.
Walking the abandoned streets of the old market, you can easily imagine what it must have looked like during its heyday.
Most of the old market has already disappeared, taking with it the character that gave the place its unique stature in Washington, DC.
Most of the old market has already disappeared, taking with it the character that gave the place its unique stature in Washington, DC.

Not sure whether it was nostalgia or mere curiosity, but I couldn’t resist the impulse to go and photograph the old Florida Avenue Market (or Union Market, as it is commonly known today) one last time before it disappears forever.  No wrecking crews there yet, but there is no doubt that major developers in the area are already salivating at the mouth about the money they will make when this part of Washington, DC is finally brought to the 21st Century, so to speak.  Not that progress in of itself is a bad thing, mind you, but rather that it is not clear at this point how much of the old market’s character is to be retained and how much of the new development will make the area undistinguishable from so many other developments in the area.  In talking to one of the displaced butchers yesterday, it was obvious that he was lamenting the magnitude of change in the area and the upscale transformation of the market.  I can’t help but share some of his sentiments, as I was kind of fond of visiting the cavernous warehouse businesses where all sorts of products from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia were on sale by immigrants with heavy accents, but whose rhythmic sale chants were exotic melodies to my ears.  A bit rough, a bit chaotic, but a place like no other in the area.  As it disappears in the name of progress and modernism, I can only wonder whether I’ll ever hear again those imagination-inducing, linguistic melodies that so easily transported me to those far-away markets around the world.  I’m afraid progress has its very unique way of dealing with those voices.