Sunday, April 16, 2006

Clear Weather Coaxes Crowds

(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Looking east, the southeast corner of H and 8th Streets NE is a cacophony of crowds and cars on Saturday, April 15, 2006. Foul weather last weekend allowed the community a break from the amplified noise. (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)

Nice weather invites people to leave their coats at home and relish their day along H Street NE.

Sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s also tempted residents living in and around the 700 block of 8th Street NE to open windows, pick up litter, and tend to gardens. But gorgeous weather means a tradeoff for the people living in the neighborhood—they must endure hours of amplified speech from a blaring sidewalk loudspeaker only yards away from their residential homes.

Saturday was quite a show. In addition to their usual urban cammo clothes, the fellows from the Israeli School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) sported new, fashionable t-shirts with big, bold “UPK” emblazoned on the front. Vehicles were parked illegally behind their assembled stage on H Street—free bread distributed from one. Don’t get me wrong—free bread is wonderful, but doing it safely is also important.

(As an aside, the ISUPK guys read this blog and I know I’ll hear an earful next Saturday about making that bread statement. And to that I must reiterate: the neighbors support free speech, assembly and religion. We only want to minimize the noise. However, we also believe assembled groups should obey all D.C. laws and ordinances.)

A larger crowd also meant numerous reactions from passersby. People on the sidewalk tried to scream over the withering barrage from the electrified amplifier. The volume jumped, causing neighbors working outside down the street to turn their heads, expecting to see a physical altercation.

After several hours of the noise nuisance, most residents retreated inside to a calmer environment.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Tony (in the light blue shirt) screams in debate with Yahanna, wearing the latest in UPK fashion and holding the microphone. Tony and I have known each other for several months, mainly through conversations while waiting for the X2 bus. After his shouting match with Yahanna, Tony and I had a short chat. But the ISUPK fellows were quick to scold him—via the amplifier—for commiserating with “a white man,” an apparent reference to me. (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah i know tony too... and i saw him later on that evening asking upkers to buy him some eggs and milk which they charitably went to the store and purchased for tony. he apologized to them also for the outburst that he had.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Klav said...

Wow...Tony asks the UPKers for eggs and milk and apparently receives it. The neighbors ask the UPKers to quiet down the amplifier and the volume gets turned up.

And why did Tony allegedly apologize for the outburst in which he defended his views? Did the UPKers apologize to Tony for their outburst--with an amplifier that drowned out Tony's arguments?

Should the UPKers apologize to the neighborhood for their hours-long, Saturday after Saturday outbursts?

Where's the love, UPK?

2:24 PM  

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