I’m currently sitting in a booth at Playa Azul, the corner Mexican joint in my neighborhood; the remains of my order (cabeza enchiladas, asada tacos) to the right of my laptop, an empty bottle of coke to the left. Playa Azul is housed in a Taco Bell from the 1970s, covered in shrubs that threaten to enclose the arched windows. Today’s scene is not irregular, and in retrospect it leaves a smirk on my face.
A little over a year ago I moved to Carson City hoping I would have a snowball’s chance in hell at being accepted for a position with the City a friend had suggested I apply for. I could never have imagined it would turn out for the best, but here I am — a far cry from the water-logged and corn-beset acreage I grew up on in the midwest.
Carson has a strange way about it; like most cities that have a history of opposing socio-economic groups, it has its neighborhoods. I live on the edge of what would probably be considered a “rough” neighborhood; a few blocks in any direction puts you into rundown low-income apartments, commercial buildings from the last century containing tattoo parlors, quick-lubes, and industrial/utility yards as tenants or strip malls and houses that need some upkeep.
A news-worthy item as of late in Carson has been a project to redevelop portions of the downtown area. I don’t have many opinions on it, except to say I hope that we get more mixed-use housing out of it. When I was younger, I knew that cities existed, but not what was entailed in living your day-to-day in the heart of one; now I can hardly imagine living anywhere other than smack-dab in the middle of a city.
I suppose my takeaway a year in is this: Carson is conflicted, and can’t decide what it wants to be; Capitol, Old West Town, Vacation Spot, vibrant cultural center, or urbanized large city and I kind of like it. In time I hope we can find a balance between the many adjectives one could use to describe Carson City so that it can continue to be a great place to live for many future inhabitants.