Takoma Park, Maryland
“Takoma Park is known as the Berkeley of the East. Competitors, we’re more modest than that, please challenge us to greatness. DC is famous for being the most politically liberal big city, but then it’s also famous for being the nexus of the Counter-Counter-Culture (it’s actually hip to be drug free here, though you can do just about anything in public and still get elected to high office), so you may be wondering, where do hippies fit in? As it happens, Takoma Park is not the sad, commercialized, isolated enclave of hipness that you find in most big cities. It is at the geographic heart of a wreath of easygoing, progressive, really racially integrated, communities. Which is why we’ve escaped gentrification and “hip”-ization & remain a low-key, 70’s style small town. White-bread hipsters with racial jones beware.
Hippiedom here is not about commercial lifestyle. It’s part of the culture. Nobody moves here for the shopping or arts, but very large percentages of the populations are vegetarians, recyclers, renters, non-car owners, members of the two co-ops. We cheer on the annual Reel mower Brigade in their efforts to ban gas lawnmowers. To benefit our large illegal alien population, who can vote, we have a tradition of hiring police chiefs committed to not cooperating with the IMF. Bizarrely, we’re also a mecca for evangelicals and libertarians who share a similar political zeal and fondness for natural food – one of the organic co-ops is the world’s largest Christian book store, and the other is staffed by ex-Maoists. There aren’t many tensions in the community, though. Our favorite mayor was a ninety yr. old Socialist. Anyhow, we used to have two wild roosters, but one got run over. You can hear the other one crowing behind the boarding houses downtown, between the House of Musical Traditions and the Metaphysical Chapel, on the spring solstice when the Foggy Bottom Morris Men gather to dance the sun up.
Definitely a community for longtime residents & hippies-at-heart; fair-weather hippies will get bored and move to some overrated part of DC. We’ve already got too many yuppies, most of whom were still hippies before they moved here and got a job teaching at the Jane Goodall Institute or Nuclear Environmental Research group or something similar in town, so I guess they’re okay.”
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