Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

The heart of San Diego

Jerry Stratton, August 24, 2005

One night several weeks ago I was on my way back from my semi-weekly writing night at Nunu’s, and noticed the sign in Off the Record announcing their move out of Hillcrest and into North Park. For some reason this hit me more than all of the other changes in the area since I’ve moved here.

It has moved me to become a bloggy old man.

When I first moved here in 2000, there were four general music stores in walking distance. When the Wherehouse chain went out of business, that left three; almost immediately the other chain, Music Trader, moved to Pacific Beach. I have some idea that Wherehouse dumping music on the market may have strained the rest. I know I spent over a hundred dollars at Wherehouse’s going out of business sale.

But the two that remained, Record City and Off The Record, have been great. Off the Record also sold tickets to local events; it was great to get tickets for artists such as Southern Culture on the Skids and El Vez, without having to go through Ticketmaster or drive down to the venue..

With the loss of Off the Record, that leaves only Record City in Hillcrest as a place to go for general music, and that slightly off the beaten path. (I recommend you make that trip slightly off the path, however.)

In 2000, there were three independent movie theaters, admittedly all owned by Landmark. The Park Theater is now a condominimum. The Guild, which once ran midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is now a tiny shopping mall.

In 2000 Apparel Zone sold quirky surplus clothing from Structure, X-Large, and others. They later changed to RoosterGear, raised their prices and dropped their diverse line, and then later still moved somewhere else, I don't know where. As I write this, their web site still lists the non-existent Hillcrest location as their “Corporate Office And Flagship Store”. Where the Apparel Zone and the Gap once stood across from each other there are now dueling realtors.

Half my wardrobe consists of shirts I purchased at the old Apparel Zone. If I don’t find a new place to shop for clothes soon, I’m going to be one of those old men in faded clothes reminding them of glorious pasts.

We still have bookstores; in fact, we have all the bookstores we had when I moved here, though some are under different ownership. Their quality remains high, and Hillcrest has for a few years been the new home of The San Diego Open Air Book Fair. The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild is still in Hillcrest. It’s a great place for writers and readers.

And we have great restaurants. But the loss of Off the Record is more than a bit jarring to me. Fifth Avenue is the backbone of Hillcrest, and Off the Record was the pillar of cool on Fifth Avenue. I hope they do well in North Park, and I promise to still visit.

That’s it. I’m not really going anywhere with this. Blog out.

  1. <- Napster Tricks
  2. Cops on tape ->