This is a red-light alert.
Shortly before noon Wednesday, more than a half-dozen young women were strolling up New York Avenue Northeast toward Bladensburg Road in Ward 5, and they were dressed to impress — but not in the front pew of the nearest houses of worship.
These scantily clad, long-haired women could easily have led you to roll the word “hooker” off your tongue — and that’s not a good sign.
Concerned stakeholders of Ward 5 have been raising red-light issues for a couple of years now, mostly in response to a proliferation of strip and adult-entertainment establishments, shelters for homeless and wayward young adults in motels along the corridor and marijuana shops.
At-large D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange, who lives in the ward, heard those concerns and urged his colleagues to approve his legislation that proposed a moratorium on gentlemen’s clubs and the like, saying, “I definitely do not want to see New York Avenue or that area become the new red-light district.”
Well, it’s time for him and the chairman of the council’s Judiciary Committee, Democrat Phil Mendelson, to take a look-see on their own and hold a hearing that asks Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier a couple of loaded questions.
“What’s up with streetwalkers along New York Avenue?”
“What are you doing about it?”
He needs to have a powwow with other members of the committee — Democrats Marion Barry, Muriel Bowser, Mary M. Cheh and Jack Evans — and rally a consensus.
To be sure, it was not a coincidence that on late Saturday mornings in recent weeks I’ve spotted several other similarly clad young women pour out of a motel a spit and a holler from the Stadium Club off Bladensburg Road and start walking down New York Avenue — the gateway to the nation’s capital.
Mr. Mendelson needs to make sure the red lights are turned off before the woe-is-them advocates beg to have the social services spigot turned on.
The block is hot — too hot.