It is Thursday at 5:30pm, and it is time for my weekly run around North Park, I stretch, put my running shoes on, and pray that I can feel the North Park breeze. Though I live on the border of North Park and City Heights I never run around City Heights, mainly because I’m a pussy.

I start on Boundary St. A couple blocks down the way I pass a very random corner store amidst the houses, Chris’ Market. Chris’ Market reminds me a lot about San Francisco’s corner stores in how they are in the middle of residential neighborhoods and family owned. Anytime I am drinking on a budget I head over there for some two buck chuck.

I run further on Boundary before taking a right on Upas. I take notice of all the realtor signs. Just like most of San Diego, North Park is affected by the credit crisis, as almost all the signs are either for foreclosures or short sales. If I had enough cash I would swoop and purchase a place in this cozy neighborhood. As of now I don’t, so I just run on by.

I turn right on 30th street, where I spend most of my time eating. Once I turn I stare at opposites: Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria and Veg-N-Out. One place piles on the meat toppings, while the other place has never harmed an animal, much less cooked one. One place prides itself on being a healthy alternative, while the other would admit that its food would not be a part of a nutritious diet. The one thing these two restaurants do have in common is that they are both delicious in their own way.

Continuing on 30th I pass by the Laundromat where I once saw a man dressed as an early 1980’s middle aged mom, complete with wig, purse, and Sally Jesse Raphael glasses. Running further I spot my after drinking binge, Saguaro’s Mexican Food. Nothing feels better than a greasy, cheesy quesadilla to top off a fun night of boozing. Unfortunately the Saguaro trips are the reason I have to run in the first place.

As I get to 30th and North Park Way I’m able to witness North Park’s growth. On this block is North Park’s signature free range restaurant The Linkery, the hipster haven that is the Pink Elephant Bar, and the brand new North Park Studio where I once took salsa and was taught yoga by Simone. Namasté.

A right turn gets me to University, where old North Park clashes with new. Across the street from each other are the posh Heaven Sent Desserts and a 99 cent thrift store. The way North Park is developing the thrift store will likely turn into a Jamba Juice or Chipotle in the near future, but until then it holds the corner down.

I get by the homeless homies that make North Park their hangout. I pass them before they have the chance to ask me for change. I run along all the mom and pop shops that give North Park its flavor, and run by the transcendent clubs and lounges, like U-31 for the straight people and Bacchus House for the gay folks, that make North Park a fun place for young adults like myself.

Still on University I go by the training gym that Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran John “The War Machine” Koppenhaver calls home, Und1sputed. A couple blocks down the way is Urban Body Gym & Juice Bar. Having been in both, I know that one gym is filled with fighters looking to make a mark in mixed martial arts, while the other gym is filled with mostly North Park’s gay inhabitants getting in better shape then the hetero population. These gyms, combined with the different restaurants, lounges, and bars, show that North Park truly has something for everybody.

Running pass the obligatory Starbucks I turn on 32nd toward the 24-hour CVS. Being Thursday the CVS parking lot is hosting North Park’s not yet famous Farmer’s Market. I remind myself to buy Kettle Corn as I run through North Park Way to head home. As sweat drips from my forehead I stop to say hello to Julio, who is pushing the ice cream cart around the neighborhood. I’ve always had the ice cream truck growing up, but I welcome the ice cream cart because it’s more personable. I’ve never had an ice cream truck stop directly in front of my door and play its jingle, yet I have had Julio stop in front of my house, ring his bell, make conversation with me, then satisfy my chocolate cravings with a Fudge Bar.

I finally get home. As I grab a towel to wipe some sweat off, I recollect and smile, realizing that I live in a fantastic and diverse neighborhood.

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Comments

sdlisa92116 Sept. 2, 2008 @ 12:03 p.m.

thanks for that, I was feeling homesick for north park, I could see you running down the street past all my old stomping grounds! I grew up in north park, partying down at Morley on a friday night when you couldn't get a parking space, but that was ok with us as we were 15yrs old and didn't have a car anyway! We used to walk down there and bum a ride home from one of the "boys" in the neighborhood, that was so fun!

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GrimNoumenon Nov. 24, 2008 @ 9:22 p.m.

Out of all the blogs for this section of the city, this one is by far the most inviting window into what north park is really like. A snap shot but still a credible point of view. Is there anything else interesting that you can tell me about North Park other than the bars, gyms, and eateries?

What's the music, art, poetry(if any) scene like?

Thanks, Valentino

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