The Plan to Make College Park a College Town
Washingtonian, March 2015
US Route 1 inside the Beltway in Maryland is no crummier than the turnpikes outside Amherst, Massachusetts; Bloomington, Indiana; or any other town that hosts a major state university. A traveler headed south through College Park takes in a view of Taco Bell, Burger King, and Pizza Hut; some insalubrious-looking hotels; and the Great Southern Tattoo Co.
Keep driving toward Amherst or Bloomington, though, and you’ll bump into a historic square ringed with cute bookstores, ice-cream parlors, and funky coffee shops, with leafy lanes leading to quiet, professorial neighborhoods. Route 1, by contrast, defines College Park. About the best you can do by way of downtown charm is Ratsie’s, a beloved pizzeria and gyro joint that, unfortunately, is liable to be dismantled by students in the event of a big Terrapins basketball win, as happened in 2002. A cosmopolitan hangout it is not.