Welcome to San Diego Blog | September 14, 2011

San Diego Blackout

Powerless in Downtown San Diego

September 8th was another day in the real estate business in San Diego (we closed The Mark 1204–congratulations to my clients Eddie and Adriana), showed a few properties and dealt with the usual calls and e-mails.  Until about 3:35 when the lights flickered, the computers let out a final gasp and silence descended on the office.

Not the first time power went off in our office at Renaissance Condos.  However, over the next few minutes as people began milling outside of Ralph’s across the street and traffic became gridlocked on all of the surrounding blocks, it appeared that this was going to be something quite different than a blown circuit breaker.

Downtown Living during a power failure

Being a bicycle commuter in San Diego is convenient and time saving every day–literally half the time door to door.  Not so for colleagues and co-workers who drive.  For some who normally have a twenty minute drive home, they reported being stuck on the road for 2-3 hours.

All of the Downtown highrise condos built after 1990, including my condo in La Vita, have generators.  So although lights and power were off in our units, elevators and emergency hallway lighting continued.  I ran into many of my neighbors, and we talked about both the surrealism of the moment and the uncertainty of what to expect.

Then we made arrangements to meet in Little Italy for dinner!  Always fun, the power failure only added to the adventure.  There was a lot of wine drinking going on, baskets of bread and antipasto!  To our surprise, the hostess at Davanti Enoteca, a brand new restaurant that opened last month was offering free cocktails and small plates. 

No food was going to waste there–and we didn’t let the ice melt!  The atmosphere is perfect urban/Little Italy; thankfully light and bright and open.  What a classy move that was for a new business. 

Then darkness came

September in San Diego.  It’s easy to take for granted the clear sunny days.  But on this clear night the real “eureka” moment came with seeing stars in the sky.  I had never noticed the absence of stars until seeing them when the lights went out.  I’d like to schedule a power failure every few weeks to enjoy more starry nights.

Blackout in The Gaslamp

It’s only 9:30, still up for a walk and seeing a little more of what’s happening in the dark.  Horton Plaza, the hotels and the Marina are all completely quiet.  San Diego’s Gaslamp however, is full of people and empty of cars. 

Although subdued by the lack of music, entrepreneurship is alive and well.  By candlelight, the Gaslamp is serving its clientele.  There are also a lot of observers, just like me, interested in what the experience of life in downtown is like on a day like this.

In retrospect, knowing that the lights were back in the middle of the night, the San Diego blackout was a riot.  There is consolation in knowing that in spite of the “human error” that caused the power outage, the system worked and the engineering of this huge infrastructure was repaired in such a short time.

September 9th dawned like every other day in San Diego.  The coffee pot percolated at 6:30 and the phones were ringing at Urban Real Estate by 8 o’clock.  Life goes on in America’s finest city.


Written by: Dannecker & Associates

Categories: Culture, Downtown San Diego, Uncategorized

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