Downtown Diaries: In which DPJ’s inside man makes the move downtown and documents the details. (See the whole series.)

We signed the lease, we purged our lives, we parked the car, we did all that, every bit. We gave up a front yard, a backyard, a view up and down our street. No more cocktail sunsets on our Coronado porch. No more waves and hellos to the dog-walking neighbors. Would we miss all that? Would the trade-offs be worth it?

downtown diaries

Photo: Robert Hoekman Jr.

Our next step in the downtown core was a step out the front door, the lobby door, out into the world, the open street, into all of downtown. A step left and another right, and then you’re walking, and the walking is good. A mile in the burbs is a year’s worth of steps, all parking lots and half-mile stoplights and dashed lanes full of speedy too-big trucks. A mile here, you don’t even notice.

The buildings, they touch the sidewalks, they give you their windows, they show you their insides. They offer up bars and food and shops and all those things that used to be so far away when you lived in a house full of house things and had to get in the car just to get to Circle K, had to drive everywhere and back in total isolation, no chance to bump into an old friend, have an encounter, meet an interesting person. And oh, it was all such a hassle and Well, let’s just stay home, you always said. Let’s just stay here. It’s not worth it.

Now, it’s all just right out the door, just right outside, every last bit. It’s a good walk everywhere you go, with the emphasis on good.

Restaurants with patios, parks with festivals, a shop for anything you want, everything you need. Vegan, sushi, coffee, and pizza, oh, there is pizza everywhere, pizza for Best Of lists, #3 with a bullet. Public art, events, and CityScape for tourist-watching.

It’s all here, right outside the door. Get out. Take a walk. Get there. Get everywhere.

We sacrificed a front yard. We gained a city.