Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lonely downtown

Downtown Downey

As I walk the streets of downtown Downey, on a cool night in January, I notice something.

I'm alone.

As in, no one is around, anywhere.

This is downtown. The place where everyone is supposed to hang out, drink coffee, browse the shops, check out what's playing at the dollar theater, or other night life activities. Except, there isn't really anything to do.

There is a billiards a couple streets away and a few coffee shops across town and the Krikorian is farther away than one would like to walk.

I feel Downey is like a compilation of good intentions thrown together without any kind of organization or true planning. Like we boomed in the middle of last century and now are kind of stuck there, adding a few new pieces here and there.

We need some new ideas for all the vacant shops surrounding downtown.


  1. I really like this shot--it reminds me of the cute little downtown near my home in the US, and the one near my sister who lives in Kansas. You're right that these areas can become contemporary social hubs if it is planned right. I hope it will happen for Downey.

  2. I have to agree about the empty streets in Downey. I've lived here since 1962 and I've seen a lot of changes and not all for the better.

    There was a time that we were known for having some of the best restaurants with quaint little lounges and small jazz trios or other small bands playing background music while you dined.

    Remember Silver Saddle where Hollywood Celebs would dine. Or The SandPiper?

    Now Downey won't allow dance floors, unless they're grandfathered in and the only music they have is Karaoke and really, who wants that going on when you're dining. Or you might find an occasional Salsa, Rock or some other NOT FOR DINING type of music.

    We were once a jumping place because of the clubs and lounges. Look at the beach areas, Santa Monica, Brentwood and other places around. They have crowded sidewalks at night but they also have little places to stop for a drink, to eat or listen to music.

    All the people on my street as well as all my friends and almost all my schoolmates have moved out of Downey because they change what isn't broken just to have something to spend our tax dollars on. It's a shame..... Pixie Bavle-Nolin

  3. I agree with you Pixie- I have lived here for 24 years and go to Long Beach or Fullerton to hang out. It's sad that I can't bring my friends to my town because there isn't anything to do here.

  4. That shot is magical. I love the way the lights shimmer through the trees. The colors are night colors -- softly lit with silver and gold. And I think the lines are beautiful. The straight trees are mirrored by the straight lamp posts, but the posts are topped with a symmetrical aura, while the trees burst into celebration, whether full of leaves or bare. The curved lines of the building on the right draw our attention to the tree tops. I could say much more. Even though you are alone on this street, it is somehow vibrant. The cars and window lights suggest that there is something more. . .

  5. I also keep waiting with fingers crossed that I'll drive by one day and see a book store has popped up or something that keeps people there for a while; not a clothing or shoe store where you're in and out. I like the 3rd Street coffee shop and would love to see a bigger version of this on the avenue. I think the city is moving in the right direction with places like the Stay Gallery, but there is still too much "white noise" with store fronts of places nobody would ever frequent. Finger crossed...

    1. A book store would be so much fun! But still, there have been a lot of positive changes since Allison took this picture 3 years ago. There's hope!


Thanks for your comments! Due to the constant spamming, we can no longer accept anonymous comments, but we hope you'll log in and let us know what you think.