Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween 2023! 🎃🦇👻

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween tonight! If you have a favorite neighborhood for trick-or-treating please post it in the comments or on X (Twitter).

Also, please be sure to check out our "wishlist" post for Halloween in the Park!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween in Japantown San Jose

Japantown is also throwing a major Halloween event tomorrow. They have actually been doing a Halloween event since 2003. In 2017 it became so popular they closed off major streets.

Trick-or-treating starts at 4:30pm with most of the SJ Japantown businesses participating. Then you have San Jose Taiko performances, dancing, a haunted house, and arts & crafts.

There should be no shortage of options tomorrow to celebrated one of the most fun holidays out there.

Trick or Treat in Willow Glen

Downtown Willow Glen is hosting their annual trick-or-treat event tomorrow from 11am-12:30pm for toddlers and 3pm-4:30pm for school-aged kids. Several stores along Lincoln avenue will be handing out candy at this time and will be fully decked out for Halloween.

Then after 5pm, you can take your kids into the Willow Glen residential neighborhoods which are one of the top areas to trick-or-treat in San Jose.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Three county offices relocated to North San Jose

A former Cisco office off Tasman in North San Jose will now provide a variety of Santa Clara County services in North San Jose. These include the Assessor's Office, the Department of Tax and Collections, and the Clerk-Recorder's Office.

These services used to be at 70 W. Hedding Street and 8523 North First Street and could be inconvenient when it comes to parking (which was mostly metered). It could also be a long walk from parking to the County offices, which are next to Courthouses and the San Jose Main Jail. On the other hand, the new offices have plentiful free and convenient parking yet are also still close to VTA bus routes and VTA Light Rail.

The new campus also has a special surprise for couples that are getting married--a brand new indoor and outdoor wedding chapel!

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Green energy startup opening 50,000 SQFT factory in San Jose to turn bricks into batteries

A battery can be a lot of different things. One form I didn't expect was a brick. Antora Energy found a way to store heat inside of carbon blocks and then storing them while the brick stays at temperatures of 1,500 degrees Celsius or higher. When energy is needed, the system can leverage that heat for industrial uses or convert the heat back to electricity.

The 50,000 SQFT manufacturing facility will be built in North San Jose and should be completed in 2024. The first brick batteries are also expected to be manufactured and delivered to customers in 2024.

Source: BayAreaINNO

Friday, October 27, 2023

Tamien Station broke ground

A 555-unit midrise project just broke ground in the Tamien neighborhood just south of Downtown San Jose. It's a partnership between the VTA, Core Companies, and Republic Urban Properties and will cost around $270 million to build across three phases.

Phase one is 135 affordable housing units with a 3,000 SQFT daycare. It'll have 20 studios, 44 one-bedroom, 37 two-bedroom, and 34 three-bedroom apartments.

One of the highlights of this project is it will have immediate access to a Caltrain, VTA Lightrail, and multiple VTA bus lines.

Source: SF Yimby

Thursday, October 26, 2023

64 affordable homes coming to South San Jose

Earlier this week the San Jose City Council unanimously approved a 64-unit affordable housing project at 2388 S. Bascom Avenue near the border with Campbell. The project will replace a single-story 2,228 SQFT Kirk's Steakburgers with a 6-story building. 

63 of the 64 units would be reserved for affordable housing. The one market rate unit would be for the property's manager. 44 of the units will be two or three bedrooms while the rest will one bedroom apartments.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

San Jose Wishlist - Halloween in the Park (Part XV)

As Halloween approaches, it is time to resurrect one of my top event wishlist items for San Jose. "Halloween in the Park."

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. It's the one day where you get to interact with your neighbors and the wider community. The level of creativity in decorations and costumes is also the most eclectic and interesting out of all the holidays for me--whether that's for trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, or work events.

In October it's tradition for The San Jose Blog have a wish-list post for Halloween in the Park. The idea is to build on the momentum that Christmas in the Park brings to San Jose each year and create something of similar scale for the month of October. A lot of the infrastructure such as wiring, lighting, and booths might even be able to be shared between the events. The goal would be to make Downtown San Jose the epicenter of October Halloween experiences, much as it is today with Christmas in the Park.

Below you will find brainstorming ideas we have collected for this concept so far over the years. Please have a look and provide your feedback and suggestions in the comments or on X (Twitter). Thanks!

The largest draw to Downtown San Jose for many years now has been Christmas in the Park. It has continued to grow year after year and brings in visitors from all over the Bay Area. It's economic impact is substantial and helps keep many Downtown businesses and restaurants alive.

What would you think about a similar event for Halloween? Picture Downtown lit up in orange and purple with elaborate Halloween displays assembled by local artists. Perhaps infrastructure could even be shared with Christmas in the Park (e.g. retail booths). A strong event in October would help maintain traffic between the summer months and Christmas in the Park. 
Here are the ideas we have so far:
  • Animated Halloween Displays
    • Created by local artists
    • Analogous to the Christmas displays that attract many families during Christmas in the Park (almost half a million visitors)
    • Family friendly so that everyone can enjoy it (PG/PG13, perhaps around the same level as Great America Halloween Haunt)
    • Halloween Lighting
      • Orange, purple, and green LED lighting on trees
      • May be possible to use programmable LED lighting that can go from Halloween colors to Christmas colors with the push of a button, allowing the lights to stay up for Christmas in the Park as well and reducing setup/take-down costs.
    • Halloween Food
      • Booths with candied apples, chocolates, candy, pumpkin seeds, etc.
      • Food trucks
      • Trick-or-treating station - a free piece of candy to anyone wearing a costume any day in October (could also be used to hand out promotional flyers for Downtown events/businesses/resources)
    • Retail Booths selling Halloween items, for example:
      • Artwork (paintings, glass pumpkins, etc.)
      • Home decor/crafts like candles
      • Light-up hats/necklaces/bracelets
      • Costumes
      • Zombie/Halloween make-up station 
    • Halloween-themed Carnival Games
      • Pirates of Emerson and Candlelighters (Fremont) do a good job of providing family-friendly games themed around Halloween
      • A handful of children's rides could also be added to the Paseo and reused for Christmas in the Park
    • Interactive Art
      • Subzero/ZERO1-style, but with a Halloween spin.
      • Halloween-themed video game kiosks and/or arcades
    • Pumpkins
      • Instead of the sponsored Christmas trees in Christmas in the Park, how about decorated Pumpkins (can even be Styrofoam so there is no mess/decay)?
      • Pumpkin carving station for families. 
      • Pumpkin carving contest.
    • Costumed Entertainers
      • Walking around the area, not necessarily scaring people but adding to the ambiance and providing photo opportunities for families
    • Haunts / Mazes
      • Would be ideal if these were nearby, perhaps in vacant retails spaces, surface parking lots, the San Jose Convention Center tent, or at SJSU.
      • Could partners with one of the established San Jose haunt providers such as the Winchestor Mystery House or The Bernal SCREAM.
    • Potential Events
      • Zombie Crawl / 5k Run
      • Dia De Los Muertos Events (already quite a few today)
      • Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos Bike Party
      • Horror Movie Trivia Contest
      • Weekly horror movie screening (perhaps in the Circle of Palms area?)
      • Costume Ball
      • Pet costume contests and pet-friendly events

      Tuesday, October 24, 2023

      Project for 900 homes moves forward near Little Portugal and San Jose's next BART station

      The city of San Jose just completed the environmental review for a mixed-use project close to Little Portugal at 1325 East Julian St. The project would have four 10-story buildings with 633 apartments, 127 reserved for affordable housing, an 11,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. There would be a six-story building with 49 affordable homes and 2,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. Lastly there is a six-story apartment building with 235 homes, all affordable housing plus 820 SQFT of ground-floor commercial space.

      This is certainly a huge improvement over what is in the area now (see 2nd image below). However...

      ...this is a huge lost opportunity to build interesting buildings that tie into the Little Portugal neighborhood and BART station. This does not have to be expensive. Simple changing the color scheme and adding a little mosaic tile will add character and give San Jose a much needed dose of vibrancy.

      You can find Portugese-influenced architecture interviewed all around the world. This is Senado Square in Macao (China):

      Again, something is better than nothing but there are not many empty parcels left in San Jose. We'll be looking at these buildings for the next 50+ years, so we should make sure the design reflects the direction San Jose is headed as opposed to being another beige box.

      Source: SVBJ

      Monday, October 23, 2023

      Groundbreaking for San Jose City College Career Education Center

      San Jose City College just broke ground on a futuristic looking building that will centralize student programs and services as well as providing a community space. It's a four-story net-zero building with 90,000 SQFT of space.

      This has to be one of the nicest buildings I've seen at a community college--outdoor terraces, biophilic gardens, and a rooftop deck. The $112 million building is being paid for from San Jose/Evergreen Community College Measure X funds.

      Construction should wrap up by October 2024.

      Source: SF YIMBY

      Sunday, October 22, 2023

      De.coded - A Human Atlas of Silicon Valley

      De.Coded is a portrait of Silicon Valley’s Diversity and Impact using multimedia by artist Marcus Lyon. De.Coded is an exploration of 101 change makers from Silicon Valley, nominated by local grassroots leaders and activists for their extraordinary contribution to the region and beyond. The project features photographic portraits, app-based image-activated oral history soundtracks, and ancestral DNA mapping to create a deeper understanding of the valley and its communities.

      The project aims to honor the exceptional diversity of the valley and tell a deeper narrative about one of the most influential regions on earth. The 101 individuals represent a wide range of backgrounds, professions, passions, and causes. They include entrepreneurs, educators, activists, artists, scientists, engineers, athletes, politicians, and more. 

      De.Coded is not only a celebration of Silicon Valley’s human capital, but also a challenge to rethink our assumptions and stereotypes about the region. If you are curious to learn more about De.Coded and the stories behind the portraits, you can visit the official website or download the app on Google Play or iTunes App Store. There will also be a book signing on Oct 29th at Books Inc. in Palo Alto from 11am to 1pm.

      Saturday, October 21, 2023

      The Bernal Scream Haunted House in South San Jose

      I've posted about a lot of family-friendly Halloween events this year. If you’re looking for a more thrilling and terrifying way to celebrate Halloween, look no further than the Bernal Scream, a haunted house attraction located at 620 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA 95123. The Bernal Scream is the creation of father and son duo Mike and Abel Barrera, who started it as a free show in their backyard in 2013. Since then, they have grown it into a commercial attraction that has attracted thousands of visitors and rave reviews.

      Unfortunately co-founder Abel Barrera passed away from pancreatic cancer as they were working together on their next haunted attraction. Now, seven years later the dream of finishing what was started by the duo all those years ago is coming to fruition.

      The Bernal Scream is not your typical haunted house. It is a high-endurance attraction that is intense. The theme for this year is Lucifer’s Wrath, a dark and twisted journey through the underworld. You will encounter demons, zombies, clowns, chainsaws, and more as you try to escape the wrath of the devil himself.

      The Bernal Scream is open every day up to October 31 from 7pm to at least 10pm (Midnight on the 27th, 28th, and 31st). Tickets are $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP admission, which includes front-of-the-line access and a souvenir photo. You can buy tickets online at their website or at the door. The attraction is recommended for ages 13 and up, as again it is very intense and scary.

      Friday, October 20, 2023

      Little Portugal San Jose Mural

      San Jose's Little Portugal has been in the news quite a bit lately since it will be one of the four new stops in BART's $12 billion extensions to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara. I'll have some updates (and criticisms) on a large development project for the area sometime next week. The neighborhood is also known for ADEGA, San Jose's first and only Michelin Star restaurant which is about to convert to a more casual concept to mirror it's sister restaurant in Downtown San Jose, Petiscos. 

      Heading into a beautiful weekend, I thought I'd share a mural that I just found out about from a cousin that would like to stay anonymous. This is near Bacalhau Grille, a casual Portuguese and Brazilian restaurant at 1555 Alum Rock. It prominently features Five Wounds Portuguese National Church which has been around for 110 years. You can't miss the church's two red peaks driving along 101, Santa Clara Street, or Alum Rock. 

      Towards the top it features the flags of the United States, Portugal, Brazil, and the Azores (autonomous region of Portugal). It's a cute little neighborhood that will get a whole lot busier after the BART station is built.

      Thursday, October 19, 2023

      Signia by Hilton supporting local San Jose artists as part of Dia de los Muertos events

      Signia by Hilton (former San Jose Fairmont) is getting into the Dia de los Muertos spirit with a two-week celebration from October 21st to November 4th built around three different events.

      On October 21st the party starts at AJI Bar & Robata in the beautiful lounge in the middle of the hotel. Signia partnered with local artists to create a paper altar display, posters, and feature Aztec dancers, musicians, and face painters. There will be tequila and mezcal tastings in the lobby.

      From Oct 21 to November 4th, the AJI Bar & Robata will feature a special menu of Mexican shared bites and new tequila and mezcal craft cocktails.

      On October 27th they will have a costume party headlined by Chicana artis La Doña.

      To learn more about all three of these events, head over to the Signia Dia de los Muertos Celebration site. Oh, and if that wasn't enough Dia de los Muertos for you, then the 26th annual Dia de los Muertos Festival and Procession takes place on October 28th at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

      Wednesday, October 18, 2023

      Pellier Park Grand Opening today in Downtown San Jose

      Today, San Jose gets a new park. You might have noticed a large construction area in front of City Heights, Downtown's first high-rise residential tower. This will be Pellier Park, named after a nursery founded and operated by Louis and Pierre Pellier. They planted grape seedlings and became famous for growing prunes. By 1870 more than 19,000 prune trees were planted.

      Pellier Park is 0.54-acres and has a central area in the shape of a plum with a community grove in the very center. It features a variety of flowering trees, sloped lawns, lounge seating, a storytelling wall, and a flowering tree drift. There is also a walkway beside a new set of townhomes that were built at the corner of the block.

      The park is immediately accessible by anyone at City Heights, is across the street from the 188 West St. James residential towers (formerly Silvery towers) and two blocks away from the San Pedro Square Market.

      The grand opening takes place today at 5pm.

      Tuesday, October 17, 2023

      San Jose's Evergreen area is getting a Chick-Fil-A 🐔

      Normally this wouldn't be news, but one of the most popular posts of all time of this blog was about a Chick-Fil-A opening in North San Jose. Soon, Evergreen residents won't have to go far for their controversial chicken sandwich fix.

      Chick-Fil-A paid $4.5 million dollars for a parcel that is currently a parking lot in front of the Target on E. Capitol Expressway and Silver Creek Road. It's in the same shopping center as a Chevron, The Boiling Crab and Pho Papa (or for any San Jose OGs, where Beef Noodle #1 used to be).

      The land is about 3/4 of an acre and it's unclear whether it will be a traditional single story building or one of the fancier designs that Chick-Fil-A is building starting in 2024. One variant even has the drive-through going through the middle of the building with in-restaurant dining on a 2nd floor.

      The new Chick-Fil-A could be open as soon as next year, but there doesn't appear to be an official ETA yet.

      Source: The Merc

      Monday, October 16, 2023

      New hotel proposed across the street from Santana Row

      KT Urban has submitted new renderings and an environment review for a hotel that is right across Winchester Boulevard from Santana Row. And by right across, I mean it's facing Maggiano's and Olin Avenue. This is perhaps the single best spot for quickly getting to the center of Santana Row without actually being inside of Santana Row.

      The new renderings show a blue brick facade, metal panels, and textured cement. It's 85-feet tall, 7-stories, with an underground floor for parking. There will be 176 guest rooms total, a 4,270 SQFT pool deck and fitness center, and parking for 45 cars and storage for 20 bikes.

      On the parcel today is an anachronistic-looking gas station. With most people switching to EVs and 200+ charging stations at Santana Row, I don't think it will be missed.

      Construction is expected to last 21 months, and they are hoping to open the project in 2026.

      This is a great improvement for this key corner. My complaints are that it could have been much taller, they should have pushed for the maximum height allowable by the FAA. Also the amenity deck with the pool could have been on the roof as opposed to the podium on the 2nd floor. I'm sure this will be a very expensive hotel with a premium brand. Having the pool on the roof with a view of Santana Row or the Santa Cruz mountain would have helped justify the price for weekend guests.

      Source: SF YIMBY

      Sunday, October 15, 2023

      San Jose author explores the dark side of love in poetry book "My Heart is a Ghetto"

      One of my favorite things about this blog is getting to promote local artists. I don't come across a lot of poetry that is centered around events taking place in San Jose, let alone written by one of our locals. 

      San Jose native Little Tank has always been fascinated by the complexities of human relationships. In “My Heart is a Ghetto” he explores the dark side of love, sex, and betrayal through the eyes of a young man who struggles to find his place in the world.

      The novel follows the protagonist, who goes by the nickname Tank, as he navigates his way through a series of dysfunctional and abusive relationships with women who use him, cheat on him, and manipulate him. Along the way, he also deals with his own issues of low self-esteem, addiction, and depression. The novel is based on Little Tank’s own experiences and observations of the dating scene in San Jose and beyond.

      Little Tank says he wrote the novel as a way of coping with his own trauma and healing from his past. He hopes that his novel will resonate with readers who have gone through similar situations or who are curious about the darker aspects of love.

      “My Heart is a Ghetto” is available for purchase on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Bookshop. The full press release is also below.


      Local Poet Little Tank Releases Groundbreaking Poetry Collection: "My Heart is a Ghetto"

      San Jose, California - [October 13th 2023] - Local resident and acclaimed poet, Little Tank, is set to take the literary world by storm with the release of his powerful collection of poetry, "My Heart is a Ghetto." This thought-provoking anthology delves deep into the themes of abstaining from destructive vices, dreaming big, and the courage to pursue one's loftiest aspirations. It is a celebration of transformation, resilience, and the power of the human spirit to rise above life's darkest moments.

      At the heart of "My Heart is a Ghetto" is the poem "RAFI 21," which masterfully encapsulates the collection's core themes. In "RAFI 21," Little Tank paints a vivid picture of life in the slums, juxtaposing the desolation of abandoned buildings and the chaos of a race riot with the yearning for a better life. Through his words, he explores the depths of longing, the struggle for escape, and the ultimate hope for redemption. The poem serves as a poignant and evocative introduction to a collection that grapples with the complexities of existence and the quest for self-improvement.

      Little Tank's poetry is a raw, unfiltered reflection of the human experience. He invites readers to join him on a journey of self-discovery, where the heart serves as a battleground for liberation, and the soul is set free. "My Heart is a Ghetto" encourages readers to break free from the shackles of routine and embrace the courage to believe that their most significant aspirations can indeed become a reality.

      What sets "My Heart is a Ghetto" apart is not only the compelling content but also its unique origin. Hailing from the vibrant and diverse city of San Jose, California, Little Tank brings a fresh and authentic perspective to the world of poetry. His work is a testament to the creative talent and unique voices that emerge from San Jose, a city known for its cutting-edge and innovative contributions to the arts.

      This collection is an anthem for those who have faced adversity, demonstrating that hope can rise from the depths of despair, and a brighter future is possible, even in the most challenging circumstances. "My Heart is a Ghetto" is more than just poetry; it is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of words to inspire and uplift.

      About Little Tank:

      Little Tank is a local poet hailing from San Jose, California. His poetry is a reflection of life's raw and emotional moments, exploring themes of transformation, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams. "My Heart is a Ghetto" is his latest poetry collection, an evocative journey into the depths of the human experience. He has been published in several online magazines, from Metazen, Housefire, and The Scrambler, to Elizabeth Ellen's Hobart. You can follow him on Twitter: @xlittletankx and find more of his work at his personal website: www.heavyathletics.us

      Saturday, October 14, 2023

      27th Annual Pumpkins in the Park in Downtown San Jose

      Are you looking for a fun and family-friendly way to celebrate the fall season in San Jose? If so, you won’t want to miss the 27th annual Pumpkins in the Park festival, hosted by the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy. This event is a family-friendly harvest festival that brings thousands of visitors to enjoy a variety of activities and entertainment, while also raising awareness about one of our region’s unique natural resources, the Guadalupe River Park.

      Pumpkins in the Park is a free event that takes place on today from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Discovery Meadow in downtown San Jose. The festival features a giant pumpkin patch, where you can pick your own pumpkin and decorate it with paints and stickers. You can also enjoy live music, dance performances, puppet shows, and storytelling on two stages. There are also plenty of games and crafts for kids of all ages, such as pumpkin bowling, ring toss, bean bag toss, and face painting. You can also bounce around in inflatable slides and obstacle courses, or take a ride on a trackless train. If you get hungry, you can visit the food trucks and vendors that offer a variety of delicious options, such as pizza, tacos, burgers, ice cream, and more.

      The festival aims to promote the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, which is a nonprofit organization that manages and advocates for the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. The Guadalupe River Park is a three-mile ribbon of parkland that runs along the banks of the Guadalupe River in the heart of downtown San Jose. It offers scenic views, recreational opportunities, environmental education, and cultural attractions for the community. The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy works to preserve and enhance this natural resource, as well as to engage people in its stewardship and enjoyment.

      For more information head over here.