Learning From South Phoenix

A Moment In Time

            It is 1:58pm on a Thursday afternoon, and I am standing on the corner of Central and Broadway. It is beautiful day out, the sun is shining and there is only one small, thin cloud in the never ending sky. I am amazed by all of the beauty that surrounds me. It seems that no matter what I look at, there is some kind of life bursting out of it.

            Straight ahead of me is the main transit station of South Phoenix. Giant, silver buses all seem to wait in line for their turn. The building itself is silver and for the most part very unappealing. The door that should be welcoming to employees looks cold and heavy. Across the street is a Church’s Chicken that is full of people having a quick lunch, maybe before they head back to work, school or just their everyday life. This restaurant however does not seem to fit in with the Latino culture that surrounds it. The building appears to have been built recently. Another corner has a family owned burger shop on it. A burger shop,  something that you would not typically find in the heart of South Phoenix. The small sign displayed in the window advertises for fish and chips and also shrimp. There doesn’t seem to be anyone inside. The parking spots are empty and most of the curbs are cracked and stained. Except for one lonely car, an old, beat up, red, rusty ford.

            Behind the Church’s Chicken is a colorful shopping strip that had stores such as Botaz Juarez Western Wear, Rancho Grande Super Market and many more. The building itself has a western look to it, but the color is an amazing bright orange with a green trim. All the windows of the shopping center have cold brown bars placed over them, possibly for security. This center is clearly a very popular place. Almost all of the parking spots are full, the cars range anywhere from older to brand new cars. The people coming in and out of the stores all appear to be very laid back and almost worry free. A mother who is carrying a crying baby has a smile on her face as she talks to a fellow shopper. Kids all run free, chasing each other to see who can get to the gum ball machine first.                  

            Next to me is a bus stop full of anxious people all waiting for their ride to arrive. But what shocks me about all the people waiting is how friendly and vocal they are to one another. In other parts of town people waiting for the bus, do just that  wait, not talk or smile, just wait. The people here all speak Spanish so I am unable to understand what they are talking about. Behind the bus stop is an empty field. The field is full of dirt and absolutely no sign of any plant life. This field could soon become the home to a modern restaurant, shopping center or even a Walgreen’s, because it seems like those are on almost every corner now a days.

             Overall the life of this corner is a mix with new and old traditions. It is full of Latino culture but then also has a kick of main stream life. What I wonder most about this corner is what will be built in the empty field. I hope that it is a place that represents the people who live in this particular area, people with children, families, pets and many friends. But most importantly I hope it is a place that fits in with their culture.



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Contact: jmpeterson@firstam.com