Alex Hughes — May 23, 2018 …On an early day off of school, I was able to take a walk down West San Marcos Blvd. I am not too familiar with the San Marcos area and wanted to get to know more of it. I put on my Sherlock Holmes eyes and analyzed the area around me. What did I notice going on at this moment? What was something that people tend to glaze over when they were out and about? That was when I came across the newspaper stands across from Patron Market on Pico Ave!
Photos by Alex Hughes
I usually like to take a look at a local area’s paper. The most interesting part is you get to learn about a city in the midst of twenty pages or so and for free! Some of them you do have to deposit a few coins at about a dollar. I decided to take a peek at some of the papers offered in this neighborhood. Depending on where you are, you can tell the target demographic. In this area, it was a Spanish speaking audience as I could tell from titles such as El Clasificado and the San Diego Union Tribune’s Enlace. These types of papers are also common along North Santa Fe and some parts of East Vista Way where I have seen papers such as Hoy, El Latino and El Impacto. I noticed that the sun had done some damage to the exterior paint of the stands because of how faded the color was. Along with this were the peeling and chipping of what used to be plastic labels. One stand was completely blank, and it was a wonder what newspaper it used to house. The inside was the scariest part.
Creaking up the door flap, I peeked into a horror movie of scrunched, wrinkled papers that looked like they were dug up from the ground. Cobwebs covered them and spiders must have lived amongst this clump. I was not going to touch this even though I was curious to know how old these were. Considering the dirt in the stand and grayed out, water-damaged paper, I could only imagine. I picked at some of the papers and saw a date of 2011! Think about that! This stand has not been touched for almost seven years! This was the blue stand that had no labels on the front. I took a look at the Enlace stand and saw that it was empty. A fine layer of dust had settled on the shelf, but I could still see some papers underneath it. I pulled one from the bottom and saw a paper from March 29 to April 4, 2014. Those papers had yellowed out for four years!
This is old news, but it does appear that blight is in many areas of the community. We see it in various forms such as litter, shopping carts, broken payphones and graffiti. It appears that even newspaper stands can be added to the list.