Mysterio and Alvarez
On June 19, some San Diegans celebrated Juneteenth, while others paid homage to San Diego County’s circa-1982 area code
“ ‘619 day’ was more of an unspoken holiday, but it didn’t come to be until recently,” explained Ruben Torres of south San Diego. “The thing with the numbers ‘619’ back in the day, it was more of an underground street code and it evolved in the streets.”
On social media, San Diego heads posted ‘619’ memes and photographs of our street signs, graffiti art, 619-clad tees, selfies and tattoo art, and captioned the “flicks” with #happy619day.
“I miss the beaches and Robertos,” commented a former local. Another said in part: “On 6/19, get the word out about our love for America’s Finest City. Honor the people, places and things you love about San Diego by posting a video or photo using the hashtag #619day.”
Another commemoration is Rey Mysterio Day, which was proclaimed by the city of San Diego in 2018, and the city of Chula Vista in 2019.
In 2006, Rey Mysterio, a 5’6” tall Montgomery High alumnus, toppled the 6’5” standing Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 22 to garner the WWE World Heavyweight championship title. More recently, he became a grand slam champion winning every belt in the WWE organization. Throughout the Lucha Libre-styled wrestler’s career, he’s been witnessed on accounts giving back to our communities on the downlow, and makes occasional guest appearances.
On June 28, 2018, Torres linked up with local R&B singer Frankie J and Mysterio, who Torres has been referring to as Oscar Guitierrez since they were Montgomery High classmates. The trio, with other community leaders and residents, presented 36 new bikes to Smythe Elementary School third grade students as prizes for their essays regarding the “how they would change their community, serve the elderly, and help the homeless” subject matter.
Shortly after the San Ysidro school giveback, “David Alvarez pushed to make June 19, Rey Mysterio Day,” explained Torres. “I then approached Chula Vista’s Mayor Salas and our city council about giving Mysterio the day in Chula Vista, because he lives in Chula Vista and it made sense.”
The champ’s been championing our area code since the 1990s. “He emblazoned 619 on all his merchandise and everything he would wear in the ring. And his finishing maneuver in the ring is called the ‘619’: it’s where he grabs the two ropes and he spins himself and kicks his opponent in the face.”
Wuv Bernardo, drummer of local rock band P.O.D., grew up with Torres and Mysterio.
“Wuv and his group were walking in Italy and he was wearing shorts and a bunch of kids ran up to him pointing at the tattoo on his calf saying Rey Mysterio, Rey Mysterio,” Torres recounted, “they weren’t even tripping that it was P.O.D., it was the ‘619’ and how they related it to Rey Mysterio. Rey’s got a 619 tattoo on his forearm.”
Reggie Bush, former Heisman Trophy winner and running back for New Orlean Saints when they won the 2010 Super Bowl championship game, was photographed when playing for USC, sporting “619” insignias within his eye black, paying homage to his Spring Valley roots and his Helix High School in La Mesa.