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I moved to San Diego eleven days ago. More specifically, I moved to this area they call North Park. I learned quickly to identify my neighborhood when asked what part of SD I live in. It reminds me of when I lived in New York. I said I lived on the Upper East Side, which was true. I was ten blocks from Spanish Harlem one way, three blocks from 5th Avenue the other. People could make of it whatever they wanted. The area I live apparently matters to some.

I didn't pick the North Park area. I didn't have a guide to the city that shared with me the best neighborhoods San Diego had to offer. I had a day and a half to find an apartment I could afford. I traveled all over the city and this apartment was the last (and best) I saw.

Already, I have received mixed responses when telling people where I live. Some people say it's good, if you like hipster. Some say it's a poorer area of town. Some just kind of nod their head making me wonder why they asked the question in the first place.

I don't have any stories to share yet. I don't have any thoughts as to what makes my neighborhood superior to others. Better yet, I don't think to ask that question to others because even if they told me where they lived, I wouldn't know where they were talking about.

Before I even moved here, I had a breakfast burrito at Ray's. When I expected the three bite eats that you find at McDonald's drive-thru, I got the monstrosity of eggs, sausage and potatoes stuffed into a tortilla and doused with hot sauce. I got my coffee served on a tray with real creamer and a sugar canister. It was delicious. And one thing I do whenever I move to a new city is visit the public library. My first visit to North Park's location scored me William Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch' on sale for a ten cents.

My North Park experience so far: burritos and books. Works for me.

People are in a hurry to sum me up. Whether it's where I live or where I've come from, they want to seek out any hint that we might have something in common. They have a sense of urgency to figure me out, understand what my motives are, as if I'm supposed to have some.

You want to figure me out? I live in an apartment where the manager alternates between smoking cigarettes and doing breathing treatments. She calls me darlin' and I love it. I sleep on the floor and out of a suitcase because everything else I own has been dragging its feet getting here. I've eaten Lucky Charms for dinner five days in a row and I moved here for the ocean, which I have found that when you say that to people, it's not a good enough answer.

It doesn't matter. The people will nod. They will still smile, but will silently wonder, like I do at times, just how long I'll be sticking around their neighborhood.

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Burwell Aug. 14, 2010 @ 9:47 p.m.

You will be living on the streets in six months.


David Dodd Aug. 14, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

"My first visit to North Park's location scored me William Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch' on sale for a ten cents."

You over-paid, Courtneybeth.

No one wants to sum you up, most San Diegans couldn't care less. North Park defies any intelligent attempt at definition, no need to try. Excuse Burwell, you will find him to be a very smart person, and at times quite enlightening, but his bedside manner is a little off. This is what happens.


Courtney Hartmann Tisa Aug. 14, 2010 @ 10:44 p.m.

Not a fan of the book? Was looking forward to reading it. Hope it's at least worth my 10 cents.

Scrolling through the site and see some people take their commenting very seriously. At times, I see the comments are more entertaining than the blogs. Hey, whatever works.


David Dodd Aug. 14, 2010 @ 11:05 p.m.

Actually, some of the blogs are quite outstanding. I recommend a couple of Baja blogs, noteably, Rangel's stuff. It's about as honest and real as you'll get. For San Diego, you sort of get a mixture of stuff, Bohemian Opus is a wonderful writer, SDaniels in Banker's Hill is fantastic, although she simply needs to WRITE MORE!, MsGrant has some very entertaining entries. A wonderful lady, a poetess and all-around great person would be nan, and really, I could go on and on.

So far as Burroughs, you'll be entertained, but I have issues with authors who simply write in order to challenge being banned by censors. That was the idea behind Naked Lunch, in a nut shell. You like the raw and writing straight from the gutter, read as much Bukowski as you can get your hands on. You get some of his stuff for a dime, jump on it. You won't be disappointed.


nan shartel Aug. 15, 2010 @ 10:14 a.m.

hello courtneybeth

i'm so glad u came here and joined our blogging community at the Reader


Scrolling through the site and see some people take their commenting very seriously. At times, I see the comments are more entertaining than the blogs

this is indeed true

many of us here are both passionate and persnickety...often at the same time ;-)

as u've already surmised people will want to see who u r and how u fit into their day...that's especially true of the READER bloggers...but don't let that put u off....the diversity here is infectious

blogs to read...i'd say check them all out...and don't neglect Don Bauder who has all the scoop on many things going on around the town politic..business...the stock market etc

his comments get more wild and woolly then anyone elses...they also show an excellent cross section of community thought and Opinion

Founder lives in North Park...and has a genuine ongoing love for that part of town...his blog is NP*ART

u don't have to write only about the area of the city u live in...u can write anything u want to

nice ta meet ya!!


Courtney Hartmann Tisa Aug. 15, 2010 @ 10:42 a.m.

Thanks for all the blog suggestions. I definitely have some reading to do!


nan shartel Aug. 15, 2010 @ 1:58 p.m.

i read Naked Lunch many many years ago...i bought it a Powell in San Francisco when it appeared above ground...i liked it but then my favorite books r stream of consciousness reads...and poetry

where reading is concerned i've always been captured by the subtext..hope u like it too kiddo


MsGrant Aug. 15, 2010 @ 2:13 p.m.

Hi, CourtneyBeth! When I first moved to San Diego in 1987, I wound up in Normal Heights. I found a huge apartment on 34th Street for $450.00 a month. Six months later, I moved to the beach, but I missed the funky eclectic vibe of Adams Ave. It took me about two years before I really settled in to San Diego. Come for the beach, stay for the burritos!! Welcome.

FYI: Beyond the Big Metal Fence is a really good blog to add to your list.


Founder Aug. 15, 2010 @ 3:02 p.m.

  • CB in NP -

Reply to CB13 Welcome to the North Park scene

Don't worry, you'll get used to all of their leers, I did, and it took, less than 25 years.

Your sense of place, is right on the mark, living is great, so close to the Park.

North Park, has lots of cozy, one and two bedrooms, it's easy, to find a place to, keep all your brooms.

Be sure to visit, as much of it, as you can see, then you will know just, where you'll enjoy, the most to be.

I'd suggest, keeping an eye on, craigs list, so that none, of all those great deals, get missed,

then you will soon be calling North Park, your "old" home, and be thinking of it whenever, you do roam.

Where else in San Diego, can you live your art and make your own mark, you'll discover why, all the cool folks, that love to live, live in North Park!

So please keep doing, just what you like to say and do, in no time at all, you'll find what I have said is true,

because North Park, is made of up of, Real folks of all kinds, that is really Special; and not just because, it Rhymes!


Courtney Hartmann Tisa Aug. 15, 2010 @ 4:11 p.m.

Thanks for all the welcomes! As for the book, I'm reading the preface which is Naked Lunch on trial. Already, I'm intrigued.


Founder Aug. 15, 2010 @ 5:52 p.m.

A Haiku for You Illustrating the Way Reflecting the day

Making Improvement Sage advice from a sage is Redirects Ones Quest


Joe Poutous Aug. 15, 2010 @ 8:11 p.m.

Crazy books and burritos. I like you.

  • Joe

skipcarufel Sept. 26, 2010 @ 11:08 a.m.

Flicker was a wonderful read. Tight, bouncy, a twist here and there, and some surprises. And toned with optimism and a sense of adventure. I liked the piece a lot, and look forward to more.


Donald Sept. 28, 2010 @ 8:28 p.m.

Just read this in the print version of the Reader. It's well done, and congrats on your 2nd place prize. Hope that you post more entries soon, I'm curious how you'll compare SD to NYC.


JBaloney July 15, 2012 @ 9:33 p.m.

Hi CB! Welcome from another North Parker. Great first choice with Ray's. If you get a few folks over to share, Ray's will deliver (and you can order online too). Also, check out Para's News Stand (30th and University) for one of the best browsing anywhere. Take a day or evening and explore the Lafayette Hotel with martinis and steak afterwards at the Red Fox Restaurant attached. The Hollywood era of the 30's never tasted better. The North Park water tower with its sports facilities are a must-visit. And for that retro fix, look up Ms. Vintage on University near 30th.

But...take your time. North Park isn't going anywhere. :)


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