Normal Heights Gazetteer 6 : Night Train Singing

Kensington bridge over the Fifteen looking north.

Kensington bridge over the Fifteen looking north.

Chalk right from the alley at Wilson, then another quick right and head west on Adams. One block down is the Adams Avenue Bookstore, known as much for its pages as for its napping window cats, quiet as the stars.

On clear nights, the Avenue’s streetlights overpower all but the brightest stars in the sky, and never mistaken for those stars are the choppers that whump the air above. There are other sounds, too. There is the street peddler pushing his cart up the streets and down the alleys calling, “Tomatos y bananas!” You feel peace when you hear the bells ringing from St. Didacus at Felton and Collier, and you know distress when the rigs from Firehouse No. 18 are on a wailing run.

… and if you stop to listen with the right kind of ears …

Once in a great while, when the air is still, you can hear a night train singing like a migrating whale, and if you stop to listen with the right kind of ears, the hum of the enormous freeway triangle that surrounds Normal Heights becomes the rush of a giant waterfall. On foggy nights, around 3 in the morning, you can’t hear it at all.

 

Normal Heights is located on a triangular plateau between the 8, 805 and 15 freeways about five miles northeast of downtown San Diego. This story first appeared in San Diego City Beat.

 

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