Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
A walking tour of East Village, San Diego
Walking Tours of San Diego
2 tours will be offered, one East (includes Petco) one West (includes Seaport Village)
The East tour will be an evening walk to commence at the Civic Center
First up will be the Historic California Theatre, currently surrounded by fencing to keep people out of the structure. Note the "new" graffitti which was added by an artist commissioned by MCA apparently in an attempt to beautify this decaying, decrepit, unsafe, old building.
Continue along the C St. corridor Note the trolley system that used to have red cars. Due to financial hard times, cars are now used for advertising
Take a right on 5th, HOB is a good restaurant, they have Gospel Sunday Brunches, Happy Hours, concerts (separate from the restaurant), though if you are there during rehearsal, conversation will be difficult
Next door is the Se hotel, with Suite & Tender. This is a very odd location for a 'luxury' hotel & it is apparently having financial issues
Make a left on Broadway, noting the bus stop areas and numerous persons with their shopping carts. There are tattoo parlors and empty storefronts
Make a right on 8th. Step carefully as the sidewalks are treacherous &
the homeless persons will probably be congregating to get their sleeping
places. As we walk along the side of the downtown Library, be prepared for
an odiferous assault (human waste)
Making a left on E, please note the Post Office steps and sidewalks filling with more homeless persons. In this area you may encounter begging which can be aggressive. It is also likely that you will hear loud arguments, foul language, and notice the lingering odor of 'pot' and liquor
Turning right on 9th, we encounter a 'camping area' which is usually filled
with homeless persons from early afternoon until the 9 PM sleeping time.
Then, they move and fill the sidewalks along both sides of 9th between E & Broadway. (No I do not know why). In the back, 2nd story of the PO, is the night shelter for Rachel's Women's Center. There are about 30 beds. The women arrive about 6:30 PM and leave at 6 AM.
On F, look to the west 2 blocks where there is the Ivy Hotel, now the Hyatt Andaz. This is another luxury hotel and it sits right across the street from the Salvation Army Residence.
Continuing on 9th, one can see Petco Park. Please note the many high rise
buildings which house lots of empty condos. As it gets dark, you can see that many units are dark. These complexes were touted as "downtown living at its best" and every one has the ground floor commercial space: EMPTY. There are a few successful restaurants, but they are the exception. The ones nearest Petco have had a little more success, but many of those have closed down, too.
Turning right on K, we are approaching the Gaslamp Quarter. This is an area
of restaurants, noise, lots of traffic, panhandlers, etc. It is loosely defined
as the area from the foot of 5th (at K) clear up to Broadway, meandering over to
6th in some spots, then over to 4th & back down to K. There are restaurants
galore. Some have lasted the test of time, others have opened, closed, opened as something new, closed, etc. Be careful because there are also many openly aggressive panhandlers.
Over to 4th, with its many restaurants, we will also see the downtown shopping center, Horton Plaza. In front of the shopping complex is a lovely park area, with no benches. Someone decided removing the benches would keep the homeless away. Well, they were wrong. They still congregate. Look over at the Payless Shoe store, there is a woman with all her belongings who moves into the entrance area when the store closes. That's where she spends the night.
Making our way back to the Civic Center, we will go over to 1st, passing a major city bus stop on Broadway. Turning on 1st, there is the Greyhound Bus Station which is small for a city the size of San Diego. On the right is the Bristol Hotel with a rather nice small restaurant. Now we cross the trolley tracks and are back where we started. The trolley station here is usually busy due to the theatre traffic. The Civic Center gets a lot of homeless due to the presence of a public restroom on 3rd.
I hope you enjoyed this small look at America's once Finest City. Maybe someday you will return and the homeless will have a shelter, the people who run the City will be honest (corruption runs deep in the heart of San Diego politicking) and somebody will live in the hundreds of currently empty condos. There may even be some businesses housed in the ground floor commercial spaces of those oh so many high rise buildings. (I need to have my dreams even if they are not based in reality)
Enjoy your stay and I hope you visit us again.
Also, see: http://auntsandiegospeaks.net/Aunt.aspx