[Stories from] The table at the corner of Belmont and Pine

Lately, a group of neighbors has been gathering in the corner of the empty lot at Belmont and Pine to hang out and chat. They’ll be there again Friday starting around 3:30 in the afternoon and sitting around until everybody decides to go home.

we’ve got a card table and some chairs, we’re gonna sit there (at least a couple of times a week over the next month), you can stop by and visit, share a thought, have a talk, a rant, write something, maybe draw…or just bring us food

you, we, us (& them) may end up starting something here…and if not, at the very least, you’ll have been part of a brief capitol hill moment, mooment? maybe movement?

Organized by a group of neighbors via Facebook, [stories from] the table at the corner of belmont and pine is an experiment in community — but that overstates it. So far, the pictures and comments about the events on Facebook are mostly about the kind of things you do when you hang out with other people with no particular thing to do — except we don’t often find ourselves doing that much these days. Especially the no particular thing to do part. From the looks of things, there is no conversation agenda or assignment, etc. It’s a coffee klatch kind of thing for the new era where nobody really knows anybody else except for what we can gleen from Twitter. Sadly, I’ll probably be too busy to stop by. But if you go, hang out for me, ok?

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17 thoughts on “[Stories from] The table at the corner of Belmont and Pine

  1. did they throw away the TV?

    next, they will just have you over for some dinner, real home cooked food, and good conversation, ranging far and wide, any topic, any story, long into the night.

    it is nice. Someone can film it and sell it as a reality show!!

  2. It boils down to two things:

    A craving for attention and a need to be recognized as someone that isn’t absolutely like the rest of humanity.

  3. oiseau,

    is this seriously your assessment of what these folks are doing? several people — two of whom are graduate students studying community engagement and one who has lived in the neighborhood for over a decade – put this together as a form of outreach. i was down there with them for over an hour, and watched a wide variety of people — residents and visitors both — stop, smile, and either fill out the survey or leave their email address to have it sent to them.

    i looked through the articles you have posted on this site and you seem like the kind of person that is interested in how the city and neighborhood is changing. then you post a ridiculous, shallow critique accusing people that are trying to engage neighbors at the most local of local levels of doing it out of vanity. if this were the stranger’s site, i’d just call you a name and be done with it, but instead, i want to know why you have a problem with concerned people doing something proactive?

  4. Hi *oiseau*. Mel here from the table. Why dont you swing by next week and say hi? … see for yourself whats going on. you cant really blog or *tweet* an experience like this, which has been really fun, educational and really amazing so far. I think you will find your neighbors to be a fine and like-minded bunch if you dare to venture out beyond the comfort of cyberspace to actually talk to people, which is in part what we are trying to encourage. Get outside, look around and talk to people about your ideas. There. YOU got some attention ;) Now come join us and and have a real conversation.

  5. I live further north, near the Capitol Hill library. I know to many people, its the same neighborhood, but I feel like Capitol Hill as a neighborhood is a collection of many neighborhoods.

    The reason I say this, I feel like my thoughts/concerns/likes-dislikes wouldn’t necessarily resonate with somebody in the Pike/Pine corridor. I’d be interested in dropping by next week, but if I’m off the radar screen (wrong subarea), I wouldn’t want to bother these fine folks.

  6. hey prost,

    i actually live up by madison market, so we’re in a similar position. however, the way the hosts conceptualize the ‘neighborhood’ would definitely impact your sub-area. for instance, they are asking for thoughts about development along broadway and the streetcar alignment, both of which come very close to you; even though they set up in the 500 e pine vacant space, they are asking about vacant spaces in general throughout the neighborhood. one of their major concerns is about the number of different neighborhood groups representing different (and overlapping) interests, so i think the more areas of the neighborhood that are included, the better.

  7. Haha! Wow who could have guess that my completely broad assessment of my peers on Capitol Hill (and elsewhere) would have caused such a comment-based ruckus!

    Okay let’s just lay this out. When someone posts something referring to “young people” and in the sense that they cannot fathom them, often times a response would directly correlate to that original comment. That response would usually also offer an explanation. In the case of most youth in the 21st century it has a whole lot to do with vanity and an overwhelming need for self-definition. You really cannot look at a good amount of our peers and say that is not what is gong on. Mind you not ALL young people are like this. It’s just a great number of them.

    Honestly, you are bringing up cyber anonymity too? This is a community blog. I know people that post on CHS, and I have linked to a site with personal info in some posts. You have found my facebook and added me as a friend, Mel (?? Gotta keep those cyber sleuth skills sharp, eh?). It’s obviously not about that at all. I often poke fun at my peers (as a whole) in real life too and they sure as hell better be poking fun right back. That’s pretty hard to wrap the old brain around I suppose. It definitely makes for lively conversation though. ;)

    Thanks for the invite too, but I will pass. It’s nothing personal and has nothing to do with my comments. The point is just lost on me I suppose. You can’t win them all. It’s nice that you are activating unused space and going with the whole free hugs vibe. As social creatures humans have good times in social environments. That’s cool. I guess it’s just something that happens so often on the Hill (sharing a table at a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, etc) that I just don’t feel the need to seek it out. Have fun with what you are doing though.

    Also, Keith do you want me to post a comment on a Slog post so you can say a swear?


  8. Also, “have a real conversation.” This makes me giggle, and the bit about daring to venture outside of cyberspace too. Posting a comment on a blog automatically makes people trolls these days?

  9. i’m going to use a word rarely uttered in relation to capitol hill…heartwarming.
    the proverbial big-ups to these guys.

    hopefully it’s more than an anomaly, but a trend that catches on. such camaraderie and open display of human connectivity makes one want to re-think spending another lovely summer night watching TV, updating facebook, and hoping the anti-depressant doesn’t wear off before bedtime.
    for most of us, perhaps the first step is saying hello to strangers as they walk by us on the street.

  10. Hi Mike. There is a sign posted on the NE corner of Cal that outlines the improvements that Parks is/has installed this summer.
    And what Im hearing in your question is that you think the parks are fine the way they are?
    Regarding your thoughts on the survey, I agree that it was a bit ad hoc and a little too general. We are grad students at Antioch and this particular survey is part of our research for a project we are working on this summer. Neither one of us is trained in data collection, so any helpful suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again for helping us out. We received a lot of questions and comments from our neighbors that we will be following up on and posting on the stories fb page sometime on the next few weeks.

  11. Ref: Cal Anderson and Volunteer.

    I guess my sense of improve is major change. Tweak and tweak if it makes something work better, people use it and keeps the space community friendly. I am 100 per cent an advocate of public space, and I vote the money for it, feed ideas, and use it.

    Use both a lot, esp. Cal Anderson.

    Your tone is snarky, by the way.

  12. this thread might be a good example of the problem, even dysfunction of online communication, it’s not even based on good reporting (how do you report about a facebook page?)
    if you’re interested in experiencing a more sustainable process of conversation, storytelling and newsmaking commit a little face to face time, meet some of the folks who are there at belmont and pine,
    yes it may seem a little random at times, we do come for various motivations and interests,
    at this point there’s no “one story” or soundbite we can offer for your entertainment or consuming pleasure here, if you’re interested just come, in this case context is everything, this particular story is changing and still evolving and mostly only exists in the moment, forget trying to understand it through the collection of a few peoples second hand opinions

  13. it’s what you want to tell – whether it’s true or not – the people at Belmont and Pine will listen – that’s why they gather there

    who knows your story will be passed on – it will become a story they will tell to someone else – or not

    ho hum