Thursday, March 31, 2016

Things I'm really gonna miss about working downtown

In 1999 when I started working at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Alamo Area at 202 Baltimore, it wasn't the greatest part of town. On the periphery of downtown, the street itself was lined with falling down and boarded up homes. Staff worried about walking to and from their cars after dark. The homeless routinely slept, urinated, and defecated on our front steps. There was a severe lack of happy hour bars or lunchtime restaurants anywhere around.  It was dismal, but we owned the building and that was an awesome advantage for a nonprofit.

Our space, fondly referred to as the "Little Building That Does Big Things*" has been wonderful for our organization. Purchased after a board capital campaign around 1994, it propelled us to grow from serving 500 kids a year to well over 3,000. But it's time to move on now because we are bursting at the seams. So, while I am SO EXCITED to move into our new space, and my morning commute is gonna be epically improved, I am really going to miss a lot of things about working downtown. I've been taking a lot of nostalgic pictures lately. 

The Riverwalk:  First and foremost I will really miss being on the edge of the famed Riverwalk. Over 11 million people visit the Riverwalk every year and its economic impact is $3 billion dollars! It's pretty awesome.  It's my favorite thing in San Antonio, and only a 15 minute walk south to the heart of the hopping downtown scene, or 20 minutes north to the Pearl along the new museum reach from the BBBS office. There's even a Rio Taxi stop a block from us at the Brooklyn Bridge. It's been great parking at the office all these years to go downtown for crowded events like Fiesta, or for any of the river parades or at Christmastime.  Sigh. I'm gonna miss that.

The Trop: When there was no other place to get a beer after a long day or week, there was the El Tropicano Hotel Tiki Bar right across the street. It was our Cheers Bar for years before places like The Brooklynite and Paramour started popping up all around us. And it was on the River! But even more importantly, when we began to grow out of our space The Trop really stepped up and allowed us to do trainings and staff meetings and mixers and board meetings in their space, for free! It's been almost like an extension of our building. I need to give them an award or something when we leave. They are much under appreciated. 

Guillermo's: I've had everything on the menu. Several times. It used to be housed in the YMCA, when that was right across the street from us, but now it's a block over on McCullough. Great food and a nice happy hour patio in the new location. 

The Cityscape: The lit up cityscape at night when I leave work late after dark will be missed for sure. I've taken so many pictures like this one as I'm locking the front door late after working late. 

Walking to meetings: I will miss the choice to walk to downtown meetings although in all transparency I didn't make that choice as often as I could have. ;) 

Driving by the Alamo:  Maybe I wont take it for granted any more.  :)

 *By Little Brother Justin