Your guide to Albuquerque’s terrible neighborhoods (and what’s awesome about them)
The Neighborhoods of Burque
A guide to the cities within the city
History in the Houses
Downtown sector plan aims to preserve Albuquerque’s beginnings
H/G Fashion & Art Boutique
Funky Midtown fashion boutique H/G (or Hallowed Ground, to those in the know) packs its San Mateo Pavilions storefront with new and recycled fashion. The style is a mix of cool club wear and '80s fabulous—everything a retro-minded fashionista could want. Twenty bucks seems to be the break point for most items. Two of the store's walls are lined with Hallowed Grounds' own paint-spattered, graffiti-covered T-shirts—which bring to mind Malcolm McLaren's legendary punk boutique SEX by way of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Several tees are adorned with cassette tape imprints, furthering the '80s aesthetic. And yes, H/G also features a gallery of reasonably priced paintings and drawings from area artists.
LMGG: Nob Hill
The people that brought us Zap ... oh! children's boutique opened a sister shop, Besitos—which means "little kisses"—in October. Babies ages 2 and under will appreciate soft, plush blankets and clothes made from organic cotton. Practical pieces abound, with the occasional luxury item—rattles, books, toys and fancy little shoes—mixed in.
LMGG: Old Town
Nestled in the Poco-a-Poco garden patio, Tinhorn Toys offers merchandise that couldn’t be more different from the touristy souvenirs that pervade Old Town. This old-fashioned, battery-free store specializes in reproduction tin toys from the '40s, '50s and '60s—there are tops, trains, tea sets and a wide variety of robots. Tinhorn also carries classic toys such as Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, marbles, jacks, tiddlywinks, pick-up sticks and blocks. Bobbie, Tinhorn's exceptionally friendly co-owner, will help you find a gift, be it zombie action figures for an adult child or a sock monkey for a baby.
LMGG: Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
The Fat Finch
The Fat Finch calls itself a “Boutique for Birders,” but it’s so much more. Sure, the two-year-old shop owned by lifetime bird enthusiast Roberta Beyer is stocked with seed, feeders, baths, houses and an impressive array of bird-watching books. But you could find something for most anyone on your holiday list here. Its three rooms are dotted with games, puzzles, jewelry, T-shirts, locally hand-painted silk scarves, bath and body products, finger puppets, baby clothes, and some of the best cards we’ve seen in the city. Almost all of the inventory is bird-themed, in styles that range from the more mature to the decidedly hip.
Galeria de Corrales
The vibe at Galeria de Corrales is pleasant. It's nestled behind a yarn store on Corrales Road and easy to miss if you aren't looking. But once you find it, an artist on duty will take you on a tour of the newly expanded gallery, which features about 25 artists. Wildlife and landscape paintings abound, but there’s also a good deal of pottery, art clocks, stained glass, quilts, handbags, sculptures big and small, a futuristic metal kachina, and lots of metal working. For those on a budget, there are relatively cheap prints of paintings and greeting cards. Good gift idea: the mirror lined with beer caps. Another has googly eyes.
Should you become lost, just remember: The mountains are to the east.
For the truly new-to-Albuquerque, some explanation of how this town is laid out is necessary. While I was doing my research, I found there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the Trumbull and La Mesa neighborhoods, an area that’s been rebranded the “International District” in recent years. Locals once referred to it as the “Warzone.” I used to deliver pizzas in the neighborhood and never had a problem, so I’m sentimental about it and understand why residents of these neighborhoods resent the label. Of course, only the truly sub-moronic criminal element would mess with the pizza man, and here’s why: Pizza joints comp the local police with free pies. Anyone who screws with the pizza guy also screws with the boys in blue.
Clearing the Air
The saga of North Valley residents battling a cement company in their neighborhood may have come to a close. On Wednesday, March 10, the city’s Air Quality Control Board approved a settlement agreement between the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association and American Cement.