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Where to park downtown San Diego, loiterers at the library, high-rise top floors

Poignant life at the Coast and State hotels, prisoners of Luther Tower and Cathedral Plaza, black street life south of Market, management of Symphony Towers, life on a building crane

Sonia: "Even guys who usually swear will say when they hear someone cussing, ’Watch your tongue. There’s a baby around here.’" - Image by Craig Carlson
Sonia: "Even guys who usually swear will say when they hear someone cussing, ’Watch your tongue. There’s a baby around here.’"

Adult Orphans

A Wednesday afternoon, hot. Half the stools at the State Hotel Deli are taken. Talk is quiet, desultory. Mama Sofia perches on her stool near the cash register, her daughter — mending again — in her chair by the window. No one's seen Carlos lately. Chris is at work. Bobby’s driving. Johnny, who hasn’t yet moved from the State, and Sonia, with her six-pound, three-month-old infant asleep in his portable bassinet beside her, share a table near the crucifix, the portraits of Jesus.

By Judith Moore, Oct. 13, 1988 | Read full article

I’m approaching the Third Avenue bridge crossing over 1-5; the time is 7:25. I see other walkers crossing over the freeway, its eight lanes of traffic snaking noisily underneath.

Any Trouble Finding a Place to Park?

At Grape a left turn, heading west to Second. This area often proves fruitful: parallel parking on the left, angled parking to the right. But packed solid today, probably by those pesky people from Sixth Avenue. At Second another left again, heading back toward downtown, though this block seldom delivers; too many apartment buildings on the right, houses on the left, driveways, red curbs, even a bus stop. But up ahead, there on the left — a space!

By Michael Ziskin, June 28, 1990 | Read full article

"Most of us librarians are very protective of these people."

Loiterers in Heaven

“Most of us librarians are very protective of these people. We have a lot of respect for whatever information they want, no matter how weird we might think it is. It satisfies some need for them. When people come in and start dumping on them, saying, ‘Get the homeless people out of here,’ we’re the first people to go, ‘Wait a second! They have every bit as much right to be here as anyone else.’”

By John Brizzolara, Oct. 31, 1996 | Read full article

Symphony Towers. “If you find that you’ve come into the stairwell by mistake —every fourth floor here, we have a little box that you can push and call security and say, ‘I’m on the 34th floor, stair three, come and let me out.’"

600,000 Square Feet

We head for the opposite side of the building, which affords a view of Balboa Park and Hill-crest. An orange and red Southwest airliner glides past at eye level. “We’re probably standing about 485 feet above mean sea level right here,” Dietrich says, “because the building itself is 500 feet. There’s a code here in town, a restriction that you can’t be over 500 feet above mean sea level. That includes our aircraft warning lights.

By Ernie Grimm, Oct. 2, 1997 | Read full article

Tower crane at Horizons, downtown. My fingers started to ache from exertion.

Swing the Boom

“I’ve been working downtown 12 or 13 years now. I’ve worked on about six buildings — the Hyatt, Great American.” He worked in rigging, binding loads and hooking them onto the crane. “You learn the crane down there — how it moves.” From there, he moved into ground-based hydrocranes and then into tower cranes. Now, he served as the connection between the equipment and supplies on the ground and the workmen dotting the top of the building.”

By Matthew Lickona, June 28, 2001 | Read full article

The 1931 ordinance changed all the names, from First through Twelfth, from streets to avenues.

Why are First through Twelfth called avenues and the rest called streets?

"Eleven San Diego streets may attain to whatever distinction rests in the name of 'avenue' under plans set on foot by the city council yesterday... Fifth already rejoices in the avenue title... Manager Gregory added that if First [and Fifth were] to be avenues, he would recommend that all streets from First to Twelfth be called avenues." One councilman huffed about 13th and the rest being left out. so they promised to look into it later.

By Matthew Alice, Jan. 16, 2003 | Read full article

DeWitt Higgs/Home Tower: “Originally there was a Top of the Tower restaurant here. It had a thriving luncheon and cocktail hour but it was dead after five. ”

On Top of the City

Higgs is seventy-four, has been practicing law since 1934, and was president of the San Diego County Bar Association in 1940. His voice is raspy but his sentences are clear and strong. “On a clear day,” he says, “l can see the streets of Tijuana. This is the most desirable office, and I have it because I’m the oldest. I’ve watched everything go up around here from this spot since 1963 — the high-rises, the bridge, the freeways.”

By Stephen Simpson, April 15, 1982 | Read full article

“Horton Plaza is a whole different world, the real world. It’s the world the people in the suburbs have run away from.”

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now

These people here in the Golden West are the real people you are going to have to worry about relocating if you chase ’em out of downtown. The Golden West is supposed to stay, but there are a lot of hotels which won’t. Some people will hop a freight up to L.A., but the older ones can’t do that. They’re the ones to worry about. Those guys have been here 15, 20 years in some hotels.

By Richard E. Reed, June 23, 1977 | Read full article

Cathedral Plaza. Until Pat arrives, no one opens the door for me. No one acknowledges that I am at the door.

Prisoners of Nightfall

A resident of Cathedral Plaza, a senior citizen’s residence at Third and Cedar, half a block up the street from Luther Tower, was on the phone. She told Louise Lawrence that her husband was looking out his tenth-floor window with binoculars and saw a man climb onto the second-floor balconies of Luther Tower and try to open the row of locked windows. The neighbor was watching the prowler move along the balconies as gracefully as a cat, climbing from one story to the next.

By Kathryn Phillips, April 15, 1982 | Read full article

Rosie says her sister stole a police car, and for that police officers beat her. Since then she’s done little more than stare.

Down at the Coast

The car she was driving on February 22, 1968, was a stolen 1957 Oldsmobile. She was cruising on Interstate 5 at about eighty miles per hour; the cop notified headquarters that his car was stolen, and when other officers caught up with her near Oceanside, Margaret was clocked at 115 miles per hour. She was stopped near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, where she missed a curve and crashed the vehicle into the center divider.

By William Olsen, Nov. 6, 1986 | Read full article

Four of us walk toward Market. Outside Los Panchos Taco Shop at Ninth Avenue, forty men and a dozen women mill around the street and parking lot. A stream of men — one by one — approach me. I explain: Jerome, not I, is looking to buy.

Black on the Street

“I’m always in a good mood. Learnin’ how to deal with life. I can take a man down, though, if I get angry. A guy came up to me today and asked me for money, and I told him I ain’t got any. Then later he saw me eatin’ food, and he got angry ’cuz I told him I didn’t have no money. He tried to hit me, and I had to take him down.”

By Abe Opincar, Nov. 10, 1988 | Read full article

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A reminder of what a concentrated collision of tastes a taco can be
Sonia: "Even guys who usually swear will say when they hear someone cussing, ’Watch your tongue. There’s a baby around here.’" - Image by Craig Carlson
Sonia: "Even guys who usually swear will say when they hear someone cussing, ’Watch your tongue. There’s a baby around here.’"

Adult Orphans

A Wednesday afternoon, hot. Half the stools at the State Hotel Deli are taken. Talk is quiet, desultory. Mama Sofia perches on her stool near the cash register, her daughter — mending again — in her chair by the window. No one's seen Carlos lately. Chris is at work. Bobby’s driving. Johnny, who hasn’t yet moved from the State, and Sonia, with her six-pound, three-month-old infant asleep in his portable bassinet beside her, share a table near the crucifix, the portraits of Jesus.

By Judith Moore, Oct. 13, 1988 | Read full article

I’m approaching the Third Avenue bridge crossing over 1-5; the time is 7:25. I see other walkers crossing over the freeway, its eight lanes of traffic snaking noisily underneath.

Any Trouble Finding a Place to Park?

At Grape a left turn, heading west to Second. This area often proves fruitful: parallel parking on the left, angled parking to the right. But packed solid today, probably by those pesky people from Sixth Avenue. At Second another left again, heading back toward downtown, though this block seldom delivers; too many apartment buildings on the right, houses on the left, driveways, red curbs, even a bus stop. But up ahead, there on the left — a space!

By Michael Ziskin, June 28, 1990 | Read full article

"Most of us librarians are very protective of these people."

Loiterers in Heaven

“Most of us librarians are very protective of these people. We have a lot of respect for whatever information they want, no matter how weird we might think it is. It satisfies some need for them. When people come in and start dumping on them, saying, ‘Get the homeless people out of here,’ we’re the first people to go, ‘Wait a second! They have every bit as much right to be here as anyone else.’”

By John Brizzolara, Oct. 31, 1996 | Read full article

Symphony Towers. “If you find that you’ve come into the stairwell by mistake —every fourth floor here, we have a little box that you can push and call security and say, ‘I’m on the 34th floor, stair three, come and let me out.’"

600,000 Square Feet

We head for the opposite side of the building, which affords a view of Balboa Park and Hill-crest. An orange and red Southwest airliner glides past at eye level. “We’re probably standing about 485 feet above mean sea level right here,” Dietrich says, “because the building itself is 500 feet. There’s a code here in town, a restriction that you can’t be over 500 feet above mean sea level. That includes our aircraft warning lights.

By Ernie Grimm, Oct. 2, 1997 | Read full article

Tower crane at Horizons, downtown. My fingers started to ache from exertion.

Swing the Boom

“I’ve been working downtown 12 or 13 years now. I’ve worked on about six buildings — the Hyatt, Great American.” He worked in rigging, binding loads and hooking them onto the crane. “You learn the crane down there — how it moves.” From there, he moved into ground-based hydrocranes and then into tower cranes. Now, he served as the connection between the equipment and supplies on the ground and the workmen dotting the top of the building.”

By Matthew Lickona, June 28, 2001 | Read full article

The 1931 ordinance changed all the names, from First through Twelfth, from streets to avenues.

Why are First through Twelfth called avenues and the rest called streets?

"Eleven San Diego streets may attain to whatever distinction rests in the name of 'avenue' under plans set on foot by the city council yesterday... Fifth already rejoices in the avenue title... Manager Gregory added that if First [and Fifth were] to be avenues, he would recommend that all streets from First to Twelfth be called avenues." One councilman huffed about 13th and the rest being left out. so they promised to look into it later.

By Matthew Alice, Jan. 16, 2003 | Read full article

DeWitt Higgs/Home Tower: “Originally there was a Top of the Tower restaurant here. It had a thriving luncheon and cocktail hour but it was dead after five. ”

On Top of the City

Higgs is seventy-four, has been practicing law since 1934, and was president of the San Diego County Bar Association in 1940. His voice is raspy but his sentences are clear and strong. “On a clear day,” he says, “l can see the streets of Tijuana. This is the most desirable office, and I have it because I’m the oldest. I’ve watched everything go up around here from this spot since 1963 — the high-rises, the bridge, the freeways.”

By Stephen Simpson, April 15, 1982 | Read full article

“Horton Plaza is a whole different world, the real world. It’s the world the people in the suburbs have run away from.”

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now

These people here in the Golden West are the real people you are going to have to worry about relocating if you chase ’em out of downtown. The Golden West is supposed to stay, but there are a lot of hotels which won’t. Some people will hop a freight up to L.A., but the older ones can’t do that. They’re the ones to worry about. Those guys have been here 15, 20 years in some hotels.

By Richard E. Reed, June 23, 1977 | Read full article

Cathedral Plaza. Until Pat arrives, no one opens the door for me. No one acknowledges that I am at the door.

Prisoners of Nightfall

A resident of Cathedral Plaza, a senior citizen’s residence at Third and Cedar, half a block up the street from Luther Tower, was on the phone. She told Louise Lawrence that her husband was looking out his tenth-floor window with binoculars and saw a man climb onto the second-floor balconies of Luther Tower and try to open the row of locked windows. The neighbor was watching the prowler move along the balconies as gracefully as a cat, climbing from one story to the next.

By Kathryn Phillips, April 15, 1982 | Read full article

Rosie says her sister stole a police car, and for that police officers beat her. Since then she’s done little more than stare.

Down at the Coast

The car she was driving on February 22, 1968, was a stolen 1957 Oldsmobile. She was cruising on Interstate 5 at about eighty miles per hour; the cop notified headquarters that his car was stolen, and when other officers caught up with her near Oceanside, Margaret was clocked at 115 miles per hour. She was stopped near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, where she missed a curve and crashed the vehicle into the center divider.

By William Olsen, Nov. 6, 1986 | Read full article

Four of us walk toward Market. Outside Los Panchos Taco Shop at Ninth Avenue, forty men and a dozen women mill around the street and parking lot. A stream of men — one by one — approach me. I explain: Jerome, not I, is looking to buy.

Black on the Street

“I’m always in a good mood. Learnin’ how to deal with life. I can take a man down, though, if I get angry. A guy came up to me today and asked me for money, and I told him I ain’t got any. Then later he saw me eatin’ food, and he got angry ’cuz I told him I didn’t have no money. He tried to hit me, and I had to take him down.”

By Abe Opincar, Nov. 10, 1988 | Read full article

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