From The Editor: Hyattsville: a year in review, a year anew

Just a sample of what happened in Hyattsville in 2017.

BY HEATHER WRIGHT — What a great time to be in Hyattsville. As I’ve mentioned, I live in Takoma Park, but more and more I like to bask in Hyattsville’s glow. The Hyattsville area saw a bevy of restaurants and stores open in 2017. Hyattsvillians could finally buy groceries at the new Whole Foods Riverdale Park right off Route 1. They could eat at the new Pizzeria Paradiso or BeClaws, or journey a bit further for an upscale experience at College Park’s Old Maryland Grill. They could throw clay and paint canvases at Art Works Now. They could buy, or learn to make their own, upcycled furniture at Tanglewood Works in its new permanent location.

For all this and more, Hyattsville came to the attention of some prominent publications last year. In August, the Washington Post featured Hyattsville in its “Going Out Guide,” calling it “D.C.’s newest suburban dining and arts destination.” Among other worthy mentions, they highlighted Busboys and Poets, Chez Dior, Shagga Restaurant and Franklins Bar, Restaurant and General Store for their eats, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Three Little Birds Sewing Co. and Green Owl Design for their arts. The city’s outdoor installations, such as the Vainglorious Bluebird in Centennial Park, garnered kudos, as well.

St. Jerome Academy (SJA), with its classical education curriculum, was featured in Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, which found its way to the New York Times’ best-sellers list. Staff from The New Yorker, with Dreher in tow, then came to town to interview SJA staff for its own article. (The highlight of the article for many in the SJA community was the description of the school’s vice principal, Michelle Trudeau, as having “an air of ironic mischief.”)  

In December, Prince Georges Mall was written about in the New York Times as one of the rare malls in which children can have their picture taken with a black Santa.

And, of course, in May, Hyattsville became the county’s first sanctuary city — and just the second such city in Maryland — which received attention around the state and the nation.

Hyattsville, its residents and businesses collected some awards in 2017, as well. In April, Chris Vigilante, CEO and “green buyer” of Vigilante Coffee Co., was rated as a top-five roaster at the 2017 U.S. Coffee Championship. In May, Preservation Maryland awarded the City of Hyattsville and Pyramid Atlantic a Community Choice Award, as part of its Best of Maryland Awards program, for the renovation of Pyramid Atlantic’s building. Also, by May, twin sisters Eleisha and Tonisha McCorkle, then seniors at Northwestern High School, had received more than $1 million in scholarship offers from some of the top arts programs in the country. And in November, West Hyattsville resident Bill Beverly received the prestigious Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award for his debut novel “Dodgers.”

What will 2018 hold in store for Hyattville? Just as the Franklins’ team expanded its reach into College Park with the Old Maryland Grille, Vigilante Coffee is also scheduled to open a new College Park location. A handful of breweries, including Maryland Meadworks and Streetcar 82 Brewing Company, plan to open in Hyattsville. Renovations at the Mall at Prince Georges will continue.  

Then there are the bigger, deeper questions: Will Robert Harper Books really cease to be a brick-and-mortar store? Will Candace Hollingsworth remain Hyattsville’s mayor, or move on to become a Prince George’s County councilmember? Will Amazon come to Prince George’s County? What will happen with the Werrlein development proposed for the old WSSC property between Hamilton and Gallatin Streets? What about Hyattsville Elementary School and its need for a new facility?

And will the saucer of the old Hyattsville library really find a place at the new library?

Stay tuned, dear readers, stay tuned.  

Click here for a more complete year-in-review article by Digital Editor Krissi Humbard.