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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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Added: December 8th 2001

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Posted by Stephanie on 2005-08-24 04:01:59
My Score:
Takoma Park is a good place for hippies to go and shop. I'm sure it has high crime, but that's what happens when you live near D.C. It's still not as bad as P.G. County, but it's still a fun, nice place to go.

Posted by TheYoungOne on 2005-03-13 23:17:14
My Score:
Well, I live in the DC metropolitan area, and I don't think Takoma Park is very different from the other towns in this area. I live in a suburb near Kensington (also a pretty high crime rate there) but it's all a pretty big liberal place. I don't think one town around DC is more hippie than the others. If I may so, the secluded neighborhood I live in is probably more hippie-ish than Takoma Park.

Posted by lil v on 2004-12-08 02:25:41
My Score:
I lived in silver spring/takoma park when I was growing up(ages 7-11) and it is a very dangerous place.Trouble is too easy for a kid to find out there.I remember getting into alot of fights there.Violence is to TP as ice cream is to dairy queen.TP aint no joke.

Posted by Roland on 2004-09-02 17:09:34
My Score:
Yes, there has been some crime but Takoma is still the grooviest place on earth to be. I live on the dc side right near downtown, and I find it amazing! Yes, we have lots of vegetarians, all of our clothing stores are thrift stores, we even have an amazing Tibetan/world culture/alternative spirituality store right next to downtown. We have a wonderful street fair every year, and I really wish they would have the new age street fair again, that was cool. Takoma has a huge population of returned Peace Corps volunteers and is also a lesbian enclave, so gay men can feel safely protected by them. Truly, there is nothing like walking down the street in Takoma, wearing tye dye and birks, munching on hummus on pita with sprouts, browsing the bead and thrift shops, and seeing all the beautiful rainbow flags floating in the breeze. And we're a nuclear free zone!

Posted by FTP on 2004-08-25 18:23:20
My Score:
This is story is a lot of BS ... Takoma Park is a dangerous place - violent crime is on the rise ... we are taxed at twice the rate of anywhere else in Montgomery County ... lied to regularly by the mayor and city government ... made to support an illegal immigrant population that has brought us a host of social problems including violent Latino gangs (MS-13) ... the city council is made up primarily of Daniel Ortega wanna-be's ... my advice - look elsewhere

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