Enough politics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re liberal or conservative — if you work and/or live on the Hill, you know and love the Eastern Market.

It’s much more than a Metro stop. It’s a gathering place. It’s the biggest and most lively market in the Washington area. Its Market Lunch serves the best pancakes at breakfast, and the best crab cake sandwich for lunch — both well worth waiting in line for. On weekends, it’s the home of the District’s best farmers’ market, craft fair, and flea market.

But, most of all, it’s a unique neighborhood experience. Unlike most Americans, if you live on the Hill, you don’t shop at the supermarket and load up on two weeks’ worth of groceries at a time. You shop fresh every day — at Mel’s poultry stand, Jack’s cheese shop, the Calamaris family’s produce market, Jorge’s deli, or Angie’s fresh flowers. You know every vendor, and they know you. There’s no other place like it.

But now the Eastern Market is gone. Destroyed by a fire early Monday morning. The heart has been ripped out of Capitol Hill.

Mayor Adrian Fenty, on the scene while firefighters were still mopping up, promised to rebuild the Eastern Market. It’s important that he lead the effort to do so, as soon as possible — for the vendors, for the entire city, and for the residents of Capitol Hill.

A community cannot long survive without its heart and soul. And, besides, I already miss my crab cakes!