Temperature, and floors, rising

Now is the time to venture out and soak up the summer of this place. Before the white-hot heat hits. There are delights awaiting in the area, and we spill lots of ink on paper this week telling you all about them in our annual Summer Guide. Our esteemed guest editor and assorted writers show you how to work up a sweat, escape the swelter when needed and get the kids out of your hair.

While it’s still relatively temperate here, strolling through the tree-lined streets is delightful. Flip-flopping through the grid, we can see roses blooming and neighbors lounging on porches. Just pick a neighborhood and go.

In what is left of Japantown, you can walk past Ouye’s Pharmacy and check out the fliers in the window promoting community events. There’s another flier next-door in the window of June’s Cafe on V Street, announcing the annual Nichiren Bazaar. With its homemade food and atmosphere, there could be no more of a neighborhood joint than June’s (see “Flavors of the month”).

And what will happen to the downtown neighborhood when the 50-story high-rises start sprouting up? No need to convince us that it’s time to tear down that aging and empty bastion of conservatism, the old Sacramento Union building at 301 Capitol Mall. On a recent afternoon, the only thing occupying that monument to bad 1950s architecture was five transient/homeless people. But what will this sudden surge in height envy, called The Towers on Capitol Mall, bring us, the citizens of Sacramento, who will only gaze up at half-million-dollar-plus condos? (See “Height advantage.”)

City planning officials and the council members are big promoters of the idea, with one councilperson saying that if we go up, there will be more land below for open spaces. Yet, we don’t see a new park emerging to create a neighborhood feel.

The Towers project promotes itself as “being for the privileged few,” and it will include high-end shops and gourmet restaurants. We hope this new high standard won’t be the end for neighborhood restaurants like June’s.