A tale of two Virginias

UPDATE: Bilal is now a producer and journalist for NPR's morning edition. Search for his excellent stories at NPR.org, like this, this, and this. I spoke with Bilal Qureshi, a good friend doing his masters in Journalism at Columbia, about living in Northern Virginia.

Aasil Ahmad is a Georgetown-educated political consultant and has lived in the area for fifteen years.  He says he likes the fact that as Arlington has evolved, it has become more urban and gotten better, hipper restaurants and shops. But unlike its more obvious urban alternative, New York, “it remains an easy city to manage.”

Read the rest after the jump. The Lighthouse is a charming Christian retail store in the heart of Mechanicsville, Va.  Owner Kathy Heath supplies Bibles, church decorations, and inspirational music to this small town of 30,000 residents in central Virginia. “This is a family-oriented community and people live here all their lives,” Heath said with a smile. The town’s downtown district of one-story shops harkens back to a more traditional era. It is home to a drug store diner, a family-run butcher shop, and a barber who proudly hangs a gun on his wall with the sign “we don’t call 911 here.” Seventy percent of Mechanicsville voted Republican in the last statewide election. Less than 100 miles to the north, sharply dressed professionals rush past construction cranes working on a glittering condominium complex and a Whole Foods. They are trying to catch the Washington subway during morning rush hour in Arlington, Va. Aasil Ahmad is a Georgetown-educated political consultant and has lived in the area for fifteen years.  He says he likes the fact that as Arlington has evolved, it has become more urban and gotten better, hipper restaurants and shops. But unlike its more obvious urban alternative, New York, “it remains an easy city to manage.” This suburban Democratic stronghold is less than five miles from Washington, DC and growing. READ THE REST AT BLOG-I-BILAL