Bleak and Scary “J” Street


A few days ago, I picked up a few friends from Boston and drove them from Airport to their downtown hotel. . This was their first visit to Sacramento.   From the airport, I was peppered with questions about my city.  They were in town to attend a workshop and worried about having options in the evenings.

In the car, they were taking the in city, asking about undeveloped areas in Natomas near the Sleep Train Arena.  In Boston, there aren’t any large  undeveloped parcels.   There were smiles, as we crossed over the American River looking downtown. “Ohh this is nice and bright”   “What’s that?” pointing at Old Sac, more ooh’s.

As we exited onto “J” street, the car became silent.   I slowed down so they could see the Golden One Center and someone said, I see you have homeless here too.   The car was silent as we arrived at the Sheraton.  We’re having dinner tomorrow right?  Yes.

After dropping them off, I drove back to 3rd and J streets and looked at the area after dark  as if it was my first time.

J Street ,is the Gateway to downtown Sacramento. Everyday, thousands of people visiting Sacramento for the first time enter via J street.

As you enter J street , to the right, there is the bright Holiday Inn, to the left was a closed (at 10pm ) resturant.  Next to the Holiday Inn  is the rear of Downtown Commons which is very dark. Across from it ,is The Pier Lounge which is bright.

As  you cross 5th Street, the brightest building is not the New Sawyer Hotel and Condominiums, its the new Kaiser Permanente building.

From 6th to 7th Street everything is dark.

On the left side of “J” street, between 7th and 8th there is a series of vacant buildings with homeless people sleeping in front of them and one  Subway Resturant and a bail bondsman.

Between 8th and 9th Streets is modern apartment building with a few closed restaurants. Across from it is an office building.

9th and 10th  Cesar Chavez Park on the Left Side and on the Right side are a few closed businesses and on the corner of 10th is the Citizens Hotel. 

The block between 10th and the 11th Street is the worst block in Downtown Sacramento. With the exception of a Liquor Store across from the Citizens Hotel, every building on both sides of the street is vacant.

Thing begin to get better beyond 12th Street near the Sheraton Hotel. The areas is bright, with restaurants and activity.  With the exception of the crowds outside the 7/11 the area feels safe.

For the first time since moving here, I saw the city through the eyes of a visitor. After a driving a few mostly vacant blocks on J Street, I’m not sure if I would want to continue.

“J”  is Sacramento’s welcome mat. It is the first thing visitors see off  Interstate 5.  It is the exit, drivers wanting a break from the road on route to San Francisco or Los Angeles  from  Portland and Seattle or would take.  The first few block on “J” street might  determine if the visitor wants to see more of the city.

 Sacramento often forgets ,”K” is just one street in Sacramento.  Millions has been spent on Kay Street   To get to K street one has to exit onto J Street.

Sacramento is a wonderful and beautiful city filled with amazing trees and historic areas.  The midtown area is vibrant day and night with something for everyone.  One could spend a full day touring our wonderful museums.

Unfortunately, the first time visitors have to drive through a seedy and scary mess to get to get to the beauty.

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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