Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

I’m pickin up good vibrations. Good, good, good, good vibrations. – Lyrics from Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, 1966


Earlier this century, a new wave of residential buildings began sprouting up, filling our city skyline. New residents soon flooded Downtown, eager to share in the urban experience.

Discovery at Cortez Hill, a modern steel and glass building sitting proudly on the Hill, was one of the first buildings to receive dwellers in June 2002.

When an invitation was extended to attend their upcoming sixth annual summer party, I quickly accepted.

Emerging from the elevator, a murmur of summer joyfulness punctuated by quick laughter swiftly encircled me. A smile turned the corner of my lips. Sounds of summer, quintessentially sung by the Beach Boys, permeated the festive surroundings.

As I walked through the community room, I was met by long-time friend Joyce Summer, who returned my smile with a hug.

Their pool deck had been transformed into a beach party. Under the perfect summer sun, brightly colored inflatable balls hung from the trellises, red sand pails dotted each table, and the delicious smell of barbeque wafted through the air. The only item absent was the actual sand, though I seriously doubt the gritty stuff was missed!

On the way to the adult refreshment table, I surprised Boyd and Rita Collier with a quick greeting.

It was enjoyable to see long-standing friends; even more delightful to meet new ones. I asked my host, Jerry Schad to introduce me to members of the book club. There was an immediate sense of familiarity upon meeting Helen Otis, her husband Rick, and Becky Rivera. They began sharing thoughts on their latest read.

With my camera posed I began to document the summer gaiety.

Are there other buildings that have created an inviting atmosphere that is so embracing of each other and a new guest with a camera? Are there further good vibrations out there? And, how long does it take for a community within a building to form?

I wonder…When does a vibration become good?

Social Chair Morgan Simpson creates exciting venues for residents to get together and build connections.  She believes whether in small groups or at larger building functions, the sense of comradeship is evident, and residents feel proud to live at Discovery.

Cortez Hill reminds me of a little piece of San Francisco. People walking their dogs lend a sense of safety and camaraderie around here. And, now we at Discovery have Tweet Street Park nearby for pets and people, relays Board Member Jerry Schad.

Though they come from diverse and varied backgrounds, members of the Book Club have the chance to meet others who share their love of books and love for their community. We’ve become good friends, says Chair Helen Otis.

Let’s expand beyond our buildings and neighborhoods, out into the community. As a way of spreading the good vibrations, I invite Downtowners to join Viva-city’s LinkedIn group. Send me an email at Sandra@viva-city.info. -August 2008

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