Conventional thinking says that Valentine’s Day reminds us of what we love most. But for some, it can have the opposite impact. For every (greeting) card-carrying Cupid enthusiast, there’s someone else who’d rather skip the hearts and chocolates and embrace their inner misanthrope. So, for our “Love and Hate” issue, we thought we’d give both camps their due. We asked people from across San Antonio — writers, politicians, musicians, bartenders and academics, to name a few — to write about what they love and hate about our fair city.
Here’s what they wrote:
Sexologist and Executive Director, Sexology Institute and Boutique
Having recently transplanted myself from the rural suburbs into the heart of Downtown, I must say that I absolutely LOVE that central San Antonio is on its way to becoming uber hip! Downtown is now where I work, live and play! I’ve enjoyed touring the new Henry B. González Convention Center, the Hemisfair park redevelopment, Yanaguana Gardens and the Rivercenter Mall expansion. Everywhere new condos are popping up, and it seems like new restaurants are opening up faster than I can experience. Southtown is becoming a major foodie destination and is still growing. And even while all this is happening, the cultural traditions that make San Antonio unique still remain. I can definitely testify that this is the decade of Downtown!
City Councilman, District 8
My city weeps
For neighbors around the world
We are compassion.
Burlesque Dancer and Producer
<3 San Anto
You are the embrace of an old lover,
familiar and firm, being held in ways that
feel like home.
Returning after four years, to all the things
that make you feel connected to the place
where you were born.
Familiar scent of Texas Mountain Laurel,
and smoke billowing into the air from
barbecue pits at Brackenridge Park.
You are warm flour tortillas, releasing steam
from the little red plastic container on
a table at Taqueria Chapala Jalisco.
You are old school freestyle bumping from the
open windows of an old Honda Civic
cruising down Military Drive on a Sunday night.
You are neck tattoos and the taste of
cilantro and cebolla on the lips of a cute
boy at the taco truck outside of Hardbodies.
You are the old pecan tree outside of
grandma’s house, branches yearning to grow
stretching as far as the eyes can see.
Pianist and Bandleader, Doc Watkins and His Orchestra
Dear San Antonio,
You know I love you, baby. But I’m a married man, so let’s do this in the third person.
San Antonio drew me in over a decade ago, during a weekend getaway from Austin (don’t hold it against me). I’d love to say it was the brisket taco from Garcia’s that sold me. Or the soulful musicians. Or the Spurs. Or the Majestic Theatre. Or the panang curry at Thai Dee. But the reality is, I wouldn’t encounter any of those things until several years later when my family and I moved to San Antonio. So it must have been something else. To this day I can’t place it.
It has been said that we admire things with reasons, but love them without reasons.
Community and Media Engagement Coordinator, KLRN
My birthplace and area of salvation — my precious South Side. You’ve wrapped me in your warm, sun-filled embrace as I ride bikes side-by-side with my father down the Mission Reach. You’ve fed my soul with mother-daughter outings at SoFlo Market, where we bond over handmade wares and run into relatives and neighbors. You’ve kept me safe while walking alone to my car after many First Friday art strolls. And, you provided the scene as I fell in love at the Friendly Spot.
You’re genuine. You’re imperfect and your scent is that of freshly made tortillas mixed with hints of jalapeño. And, as I leave you after a day-long escapade, I’m always reminded of my roots as I’m greeted by an elderly woman, who interchanges the sweet terms of endearment of mijita and sweetheart as she bids me farewell and prays for my safe return. My heart swells, and I know that I’m home.
Writer, Hip-Hop Historian and San Antonio Native
Dear San Antonio,
I love you. I suppose I always have, I’ve only just now realized it. I love playing basketball at Miller’s Pond and getting into fights while playing basketball at Miller’s Pond. I love eating breakfast tacos at Mendez Café off south Military. I love that every time I see a city bus I think of my dad because he’s driven for VIA for nearly three decades. I love driving by my family’s old house in Valley Hi and also Southwest High School and also Ingram Park Mall and also those ladies who sell candy apples for $1 at stoplights and also everything else that reminds me of being a non-adult. I miss Stoney D’s. I miss the Alamodome. I miss Vinny Del Negro and Avery Johnson and Willie Anderson. You’re beautiful. You’re a beautiful place and I hope you never ever change any of your parts.
Jacob Burris Bar Manager, Stay Golden
“Go Spurs Go!” and “Race for Seis!”
Please beat Golden State
Author and Public Policy Profesor, University of Texas at San Antonio
It’s not San Antonio I love. It’s San Antonians. There is a sense of community and neighborhood here, one unlike most other large cities. It’s the warmth of the audience at a Noche Azul concert at the Esperanza, or the turnout for a session there on water policy. It’s the spirit of the MLK Day march, and the joy of the crowd at "A Night In Old San Antonio." It’s the independent spirit of a host of individuals who have gone their own way and seen things to change, from Adina De Zavala and Emma Tenayuca to Maury Maverick, Roddy Stinson and Carlos Guerra. It’s the spirit of Bill Sinkin, who fought for public housing in San Antonio and later founded Solar San Antonio, and Fay Sinkin, who led the effort to improve local public health in the 1950s and then pressed for protection of the Edward Aquifer and the recharge zone in the 1970s and 1980s. Those people have made San Antonio.
City Councilman, District 4
I love the smell of Barbecue that wafts through the air on Saturday afternoons on Spurs game nights.