Wednesday, February 26, 2014

City Guide Ambassadors: North

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 11:13 AM

We asked a couple of cool Northsiders to show us around their neck of the woods. First up: Danielle Cunningham
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Occupation: Graphic designer/owner, seriousmedia.net Neighborhood: El Dorado Years lived there: 10 years; 35+ years in the same area Why did you choose that neighborhood? It was close to my mom, has great houses, a paseo, a greenbelt and a lake—pretty cool! Say your close friend or family was visiting your neighborhood for the first time, where would you be sure to take them and why? In my neighborhood, there’s a paseo that winds through it, a greenbelt, and a lake populated by ducks, egrets, turtles, and fish. The northeast side of town has some gems—some known, some not so well known. We have plenty of green spaces and bike trails. If you start at Lady Bird Johnson Park, to the right is McAllister Park. To get there, you have to cross one of my favorite bike/pedestrian bridges. It spans a couple miles of what CAN be flood land. McAllister has paved and unpaved trails, a driving range, soccer fields and a dog park. If you take a left from LBJ, you go through Los Patios. Los Patios is a beautiful piece of land filled with native plants and majestic trees, and most of them are labeled with their scientific names—genus and species—which is cool for plant/botany nerds. I think people forget Los Patios is over here, or maybe they only go there when they have friends visiting It has some cool shops, and lunch there is always good and surprisingly affordable. From Los Patios, the trail goes to Tobin Park and then all the way to Ft. Sam/Rittiman and John James Park. That last bit is under construction right now, but it will eventually be connected to the East Side and on into Downtown. If you go on the weekend, you’ll see a horse I’ve named “Mortimer” grazing in the grass. He likes when you bring him apples. At the base of the recently constructed Semmes Library is Comanche Hill. It was an old fort in the days of the Alamo that used to have several ruins on the peak. Now only the lookout tower remains, and you can no longer go inside of it. Back in the '80s, kids used to go up there to party, and there were tales of devil worship and satanic rituals happening on that spot that can’t be discounted. (Side note—there’s even a Facebook group dedicated to old scary/haunted places in San Antonio, and this tower is mentioned, along with stories of what took place there, it’s called “Friends of Midget Mansion.” I love that shit ) So, there are three different levels up to the top, the hardest being straight up a rocky slope. At the bottom of the hill, the City installed exercise equipment along the Library Loop Trail. The swings on the playground are sturdy enough for us adults, too. Deep within the same neighborhood I grew up in is one of the coolest Buddhist temples in town, Bao Quang. It’s really spectacular. It has a reflecting pond with koi and a huge statue of Quan Yin watching over it. The temple’s architecture is fitting, and they are very welcoming to everyone. A monk from Vietnam runs the place. She speaks only Vietnamese but is a very good communicator. Indian food restaurants are scarce on this side of town, but on Friday nights at the Asian Grocery on Starlight Terrace and 410, the owner’s wife makes homemade Indian food from scratch; pani puri, tikka masala, potatoes biryani, samosas and more. You definitely want to make it a point to go there at that time. They also have exotic produce, Indian and Halal products, and an entire wall of freezers offering any kind of naan, kulcha, and paratha you can think of. On Saturdays, there’s a great farmer’s market off of Eishenhauer and 35. Naeglin Farms started it, and they offer organic produce, eggs, chicken, pork and beef; raw milk and raw cheeses; hand-made toiletries; and sometimes BBQ, depending on the time of year, so we don’t have to travel all the way to the Pearl or Blue Star for fresh, organic, and seasonal produce (not that those aren’t great ) Of course there’s the beautiful McNay Museum and its newest modern art edition; it’s still part of what I consider my hood, I love it. One day while riding my bike up Nacogdoches heading towards Broadway, I found the Robber Baron Cave. It’s a fenced-in sinkhole that leads to one of the largest mapped cave systems in Texas. Part of it is lit, too. The history of the cave is quite interesting.
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Speaking of caves, the Bracken Bat Cave off of Nacogdoches heading towards New Braunfels, TX, is the largest colony of bats in the world. I am glad that developer didn’t start building houses right next door. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the newest addition to the northeast side, Toyota Field. It is home to San Antonio’s professional soccer team, the Scorpions. Y’all know we have a professional soccer team, right? Morgan’s Wonderland is right next door to that. I know all the back roads and woods 'round these parts. When it floods, as you know it does from time to time, I can always make it home using one route or another. Just one more reason I love the Northeast Side

Read how Cunningham's neighbor, Rosedale Highs singer and guitarist Jason Trevino, spends his time. >>>

Jason Trevino
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  Occupation: High School Teacher Neighborhood: Woodstone Why did you choose that neighborhood? My wife and I chose this neighborhood to be close to family. Also the neighborhood is quiet and inexpensive. Say your close friend or family was visiting your neighborhood for the first time, where would you be sure to take them and why? Four Kings - Best sandwich shop in Bexar County (Read more about Four Kings here.) Thai Chili - amazing Thai that rivals any of the inner city favorites Tiger Pop - Great Korean/Mex fusion
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502 Bar -  For drinks and music  (Read more about 502 Bar here.) Comanche Lookout Park is also a great neighborhood park.

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