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Original post made by Joe Wash, Old Palo Alto, on Jan 2, 2007

Dont drag all the culture out of downtown. Downtown was the only place teens could come to entertain themselves in this city and you took away all stores geared toward teens and culture. Footlocker was put out for satura cakes, copelands for a rug store, these are all prime examples. You are ruining downtown.

Comments (13)

Posted by Mayfield child
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 3, 2007 at 12:18 am

Joe, your right, there has been an influx of higher priced places to eat, catering to the business world and those (obviously the over 21 crowd)who enjoy high priced wines,etc.....If this is all the tens are seeing nowdays downtown, I can only think of the phrase of "monkey see, monkey do" that comes to mind. That is why right now there is a debate going on in the Police Dept. about charging adults with a crime if underage drinking happens in their homes~ even if they are gone................
The teens in this town are being ignored now and have been for quite some time. The only outlet is the Palo Alto Recreation Department, but those programs are usually on the weekends and far and few between. They do offer a Drop In Center at the other end of town at Mitchell Park for after school, but other than that, NOTHING for socialization. How about some ideas???? Lets work on it and maybe come up with a plan.............your voice needs to be heard..ever hear of "the squeeky wheel gets the grease"?!!

Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 3, 2007 at 8:50 am

I think it is great that there are some teens out there who are watching out for each other but I want to ask them a question. Do you know that there is a Palo Alto Youth Council that meets regularly to address just some of these issues. I think the person co-ordinating this is Kim Parker and she can be contacted through the Mitchell Park Community Centre. This council is available for any interested teen to join and the details are in the Enjoy Catalog or can be found at the Community Centres.

The Drop in Mitchell Park is for middle schoolers only, but is fun and free for those who attend.

I think it is true to say that the younger teenagers are catered for much better than the 16+ age group. I know that things have been done for them in the past but this group seem to find it more difficult to get involved in programs because they are afraid of commitment. I don't know if it is because of school pressures or just not wanting to appear to be un-cool (whatever that is), but this is the group that needs to have safe hang-outs where they can go and just hang out.

Posted by joe walsh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 3, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Its too bad not everyone can drop in at a teen center at the other side of town, how about a boys and girls club near the downtown/addison area. The only thing they want to put in is stores geared toward young adults with daddys bank accounts and bored housewives.

Posted by Tango
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Who are you addressing this post to? Is there some governing body that decides which store goes where? Maybe Footlocker left because they weren't making any money.

I also take issue with your statement about "daddy's bank account and bored housewives." Why all the sexist cynicism? Successful people seem to be flocking to Palo Alto. Maybe the kids are using mommy's bank account. Maybe some of the shoppers are stay-at-home dads. How do you know they are bored? If they are shopping, it seems like they are occupied.

Posted by gordon
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2007 at 9:48 am

I think the original post was trying to say the city's downtown has lost some of its charm for young people, and I think it's true.

Look at the other thread on Town Square about people remembering all sorts of cool things from Palo Alto's past. . . what are today's kids going to remember? Going to Spago with their CEO parents? Having their yard blown spotless by a stranger with a gas-powered leaf blower? Being chauffered to school in a car the size of a tank?

Posted by Tango
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2007 at 12:51 pm

I think individual kids will remember all sorts of cool things about their childhoods regardless of the stores that are here. Things change - that's part of life! We can't stop time.
In the 50's 60's and 70's, may kids were probably driven to school in cars the size of tanks or boats - Lincolns, Cadillacs, Chevy's, Fords, etc.
How many kids in Palo Alto have CEO parents? And even if they do, why assume that they won't have a fun memory going out to dinner with their parents at Spago? Do you think that humans who have lots of money necessarily have less character?

Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 4, 2007 at 12:58 pm

I grew up in Palo Alto. I experienced many of the wonderful things that were listed in that other thread about old Palo alto. My kids are growing up here, and here are some of the things that we do (whether or not these make big, important memories for them):

Going to Greenmeadow Pool and Rinconada in the summer

Riding our bikes together around our neighborhood -- and their getting to explore independently on their bikes

My daughter's wonderful neighborhood Brownie troop

The Junior Museum

Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream

The Mitchell Park dog park (where we let our on-leash dogs off leash for a little free play)

Summer concerts in the park

Stanford Memorial Church on Christmas Eve

AYSO soccer

Living near and seeing their grandparents often

Foothills Park

Children's Theater


Stanford Women's Basketball

Riding the train to SF

lots more, but you get the picture. We are not a CEO family, but we are thrilled to be able to live in Palo Alto, where I grew up very happily. And you can make a lot of memories with your kids here still, even if it isn't the small town it was when I was growing up. On the other hand, my kids are not teenagers, so I can't speak to how they will entertain themselves when they get to that age.

I wonder if any teens who read this post could tell us what they remember about their earlier childhoods here. Might give all of us some ideas.

Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 4, 2007 at 1:43 pm

I have teenagers and these are some of their memories

Mitchell Park Wading Pool

Feeding the ducks at the duck pond while the big birds (planes) fly in

Hiding under the turtles at Seale Park

Gym classes, ballet classes and Tae Kwon Do at Twisters

The lake at Shoreline

Flying kites (or attempting to) at Skyline

Basketball at the Y

The day that Palo Verde was closed due to a loose snake

The day that school was closed all over Palo Alto due to floods

Bergmans closing down sale

Pasties from Alma Plaza

Riding the horse at the Children's Library

The childrens zoo and museum

Foothills Day camp, with sleepover and singing on the bus

Squirting water at Rinconada Pool by peddling the water guns

The mole tunnels at Mitchell Park

The toy shops at Stanford - Exporaium, Sesame Street, Disney Store.

The Old Mill theatres in Mountain View, much cheaper than shoreline

Many are still here, but it is surprising how many have gone, and my kids are still in their teens!!

Posted by BIl Jones
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Well thats nice about there memories but what are the majority of teenagers doing now. Do you know what yours is. Why dont you sit them down around their friends to talk about their memories and they will tell you that you are embarrassing them.

Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 4, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Yes, I do know what my teenagers are doing. I have one doing homework, one watching tv and pretending he is doing homework and one in her room, bored, because she is a college student and doesn't start back for another couple of weeks and it is below her dignity to spend time with her family. But, yes, you are right. It would be inappropriate of me to remind them of their memories in front of their friends, which is why I don't. I know what their memories are because we have been talking about them lately, over Christmas when more family memories are made.

I also remember what it was like to be a teenager and it doesn't seem that long ago. I wanted to spend time with my friends, not in my home or theirs, but somewhere fun. I didn't have much money and what I had I chose how to spend very carefully. A youth club was my hangout, but unfortunately it was only available on Saturdays. Nowadays teens need to have $$$$ to hang out with their friends. Most places expect you to vacate your table after you finish what you have bought and don't like to see you hanging out in the parking lots or outside tables. I hear that In N Out is obliging letting teens hang out there, but that is only one place and most Palo Altans need a car to get there.

How about some constructive ideas on where teens can go and what they can do?

Posted by Another parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 4, 2007 at 9:40 pm

There used to be a Teen Center on Bryant St near Lytton. It was taken down in order to build the parking garage there. I recall there was a promise to build another place for young people, or to replace it somehow. Anyone know what happened?

Posted by Dewey
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 5, 2007 at 10:15 pm

There is an exciting new plan for teen space and activities in the proposed Library/Recreation Center rebuild at Mitchell Park. I can't wait for this to happen!

Posted by better times
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2007 at 2:14 pm

It's called change. I would hate my daughter to grow up in the same town that I grew up in. Although I have fond memories, I also now see how little opportunity I had. I also see how much better things are now.

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