Another one of the my great recollections and landmarks in El Paso were the Alligators in San Jacinto Plaza.  I went downtown often when I was a kid, sometimes with my parents and sometimes on the Government Hill bus by myself.  They taught me to ride it when I was quite young, catching it on Rosewood and Montana Streets and getting on and off at the Plaza.

We probably all did the alligators in by making a wish and throwing pennies into their pond.  There has been many controversies regarding the removal of the alligators and the desire to bring them back.  They have actually been venerated in the form of a public art piece by celebrated El Paso artist, the late Luis Jimenez.

My parents let me go downtown on Sunday afternoons to watch movies at the Crawford Theatre. The movies were usually what I like to call "Sunday Sagas," sword wielding knights and pirates on horseback and wooden ships.  It was cheap, with a quarter I could get on the bus, go to the movie (they always put the kids in the balcony with the horny teenagers making out), walk back toward the Plaza and get a Coney Island Foot Long Hot Dog, throw a pennie in the pond and get back on the bus to go home.

Crawford Theatre 1905

Coney Island
Besides Coney Island you could also get a foot long at the Barrel House Liquor Store.  My Dad often took me there to on his liquor runs and treated me to their tasty dogs.  I think it was on Montana in Five Points.

There are so many spots from my boyhood when I still hung around with my parents that bring back fond memories, the Clock Diner, Lucky Boys, Elmer's, Prices Dairy when it was in Five Points, the drug store near Washington Park where they sold snow cones with custard on top, the little hash tacos from Ben's and the Gorditas.  Getting Cajeta and a Grapette at the mercado in Juarez, the burritos at the Bronco. I think it was Florida's where every time we walked in they made me a cheese sandwich with a slice of cheddar cheese that must have been a half-inch thick with lots of mayonnaise on white bread. I don't remember the name of the bakery but it was near Texas and Piedras streets and it's where we often picked up some Maranitos!


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