Push to clean up Cathedral Park raises tricky questions

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 9:00 pm | Updated: 11:38 am, Mon Jul 21, 2014.

In the shadow of Santa Fe’s iconic Roman Catholic cathedral sits an idyllic, beautifully manicured park festooned with bright hanging pots of purple and magenta flowers and lined with stately metal benches. The city calls it “Cathedral Park.”

Most young people in Santa Fe call it “the drug park.”

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Donald Sure posted at 6:08 am on Thu, Jul 24, 2014.

    Older and wiser Posts: 461

    Judy, in what was left of Santa Fe's heyday, the 60's and early 70's, there was not a street musician to be found on the plaza. No fajita stand, few tourist oriented shops, just local businesses catering to local people. Kids then, like today complained about nothing to do. The difference was that most teens worked, or had family obligations that "gave them something to do."

    There is not much motivation for many of our young to do anything but "hang out and get high." If they, or others want to perform they should sharpen their skills at warehouse 21 or elsewhere, then invite others, adult and youth to join them in mini-concert settings. This way they could play and not disturb others who don't wish to be exposed to poorly played "music"

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 8:43 am on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 2981

    "...we've made it harder for local youth to play music in the Plaza than to do drugs in Cathedral Park!" - And the solution for that should be that we make it easier for local youth to play music in the Plaza, instead of making it harder to do drugs in Cathedral Park?

  • Judy Cornier posted at 7:32 am on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    judy Posts: 7

    You haven't noticed the absence (or severe reduction) of street musicians during the day since the new law went into effect? Sure, we have the bands imported from Texas on stage at dinnertime, but we've made it harder for local youth to play music in the Plaza than to do drugs in Cathedral Park!

  • Carolyn Garcia-Martinez posted at 10:30 pm on Mon, Jul 21, 2014.

    CarolynDM Posts: 715

    "Purged the plaza of local music",???

  • Joseph Sanchez posted at 12:45 pm on Mon, Jul 21, 2014.

    Joseph Sanchez Posts: 69

    [thumbdown]When visitors come to our city and even locals; it nice to see a plaza with its rich history that’s personable! I'm a local and when I visit the plaza it's depressing to see individuals hanging out at their worst condition; not good for the atmosphere, it’s an eye sore and some music played are disturbing to even listen to, it's not appealing at all!
    Cathedral Park another beautiful site now being tarnished by druggies, its equivalent to drunks and the homeless lying around with no purpose in life! These people could easily contribute to the city instead of trashing it with their low-life presence!
    There are other parks they can surely hang out!
    I’m glad something is being done about it!

  • Billiam Rodge posted at 10:51 am on Mon, Jul 21, 2014.

    SleepawayChamp Posts: 6

    Pearl-clutching journalism.

  • Judy Cornier posted at 7:38 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    judy Posts: 7

    Now that the city has successfully purged the plaza of local music, they feel emboldened enough to go after drugs and vagrancy...

    To be honest, I expected them to stamp out Art next! [wink]

  • Elijah Poet posted at 7:14 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    UnbiasedPlazaRat Posts: 1

    Look, I don't know if you as the community of Santa Fe already know what really goes on in that park. The "Plaza Rat" counterculture of Santa Fe has been a culture for the past 30 years. It is a safe haven for the street kids. Sure, some of them don't have jobs, sure some of them don't do anything to further their life, but this article has created a lot of slander and propaganda for the city of Santa Fe, and hopefully you can all be smart enough to know that the news has been misconstruing stories and lies for generations. It's there to further there business and key in the drama point of views that we all have as human beings. I have been a proud member of this counterculture for 6 years now, and sure, a lot of the things that have been stated in today's paper are fact indeed. But most of it has been slenderized for many obvious various reasons.

    The main topic of today's discussion and the main reason they have been trying to get rid of us is because we "ruin" tourism. And without the tourists, Santa Fe would be a dead town. You can find more on this discussion thread.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/SantaFe /comments/21vtwy/what_are_your_views_on_all_of_those_plaza_rat/

    Thank you.

  • Michael Grimler posted at 5:51 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    shooter Posts: 307

    Get a frikkin' job, for God's sake.

    Become a productive member of society, for God's sake.

    And, for the sake of the community and society in general.

  • Peter Neal posted at 5:06 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    PeterNeal Posts: 752

    And before the usual suspects attack me for being heartless and insensitive, I am not referring to those that receive government assistance because they are (through no fault of their own) in a situation that makes it necessary. I am referring to those who choose not to work, or have become dependent on government handouts because they made dumb life decisions.

  • Peter Neal posted at 4:53 pm on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    PeterNeal Posts: 752

    Actually, Vincent is typical of the entitlement culture that is nationwide. There are plenty of jobs for those that want to work- sure you may have to move to another town or state, but that will give you a broader life experience. Having lived in 22 countries, served 11 years in the military, and been unemployed for a total of 7 weeks since I was 15 years old, I will say that having a job and a sense of self worth beats collecting welfare any day.

  • Emilio Gonzales posted at 11:19 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    ERGxmas Posts: 5

    Law enforcement could provide active monitoring and mangement of illegal activity in the park and deter disruptive activity that impedes foot traffic and the tranquil enjoyment of the park by visitors.

  • Carolyn Garcia-Martinez posted at 11:01 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    CarolynDM Posts: 715

    Oh, now that the fancy hotel is about to open they're clearing out, "the seedier looking teens and adults". Good gawd, forbid that the tourists see our dirty little secrets.

    Vincent Lujan is typical of the local, entitlement culture in this town. Kickin' it with the homies while collecting food stamps. Disgusting.

  • peteboy1 posted at 10:19 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    peteboy1 Posts: 4

    The problem has moved from the plaza to the cathedral park! These people are not innocent kids. I have watched them in the past dealing hard drugs and panhandling, urinating etc. if I was planning a vacation in Santa Fe, I would not stay at the Drury hotel. These kids are not only the cities problem. They are everybody's problem who works near the plaza. We are living in a time when everything has got to be politically correct and entitlements! The American Dream has become a Handout ! Put them all in a van and drop them outside the city and warn them NOT to come back period !

  • jd7739 posted at 9:41 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    jd7739 Posts: 5

    It's not ok to have an open air drug market in the middle of a city or anywhere for that matter. I am sympathethic to the homeless and we should help provide shelter, food and a way out of that life if they choose. But I don't think it is ok to turn over an important piece of property to a bunch of stoners, vagrants, and squatters just because that want to hang out with their "homies". Are you kidding me? Clean up that place and make it a safe place for families, tourists, locals, businesses. The vagrants can go somewhere else or perhaps they could clean up their acts and get a job at the Drury or somewhere else. That should not be a foreign concept to the people in their 20s and 30s who loiter in that park.

    The article is well wriitten and balanced.

  • Ron Ortiz posted at 9:36 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    zitro10 Posts: 3

    Get a job, start paying taxes and then they can hang at all parks. But if they had a job, they would not have time to hang at the park. Just saying.

  • Alfred Padilla posted at 7:53 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    Xenoace32 Posts: 508

    “We want the park to be nice for when the inn opens because there are going to be more people in the area,” she said. “We don’t want to give the impression that there’s always illegal activity going on there.”

    In other words locals stay home so the tourist can feel safe from us the citizens who are constantly looked down upon because well we are Hispanics and its perfectly kosher to profile us. When are you folks going to take the hint you are not wanted there because you do not support them financially.

  • Roger Thrick posted at 7:35 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    Roger Posts: 4

    This is an excellent piece of journalism. Kudos to the New Mexican and the reporters who write this story.

  • Judith Beatty posted at 7:06 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    Judith Beatty Posts: 6

    Well researched, well written -- a fine job of reporting. Thanks.

  • Donald Sure posted at 6:33 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    Older and wiser Posts: 461

    "Nothing to do." Heard that since the 70's in almost evert city and town in this state (country).

    I have an idea, get a job, go back to school, volunteer and advocate to the homeless, for those abused, for those in recovery, for those still addicted.

    Having two children ( 20 and 18 ) I have never heard them say, "there is nothing to do." They work, go to school, visit their grandparents regularly, go to church, and hang out with friends. They also have dinner with mom and dad often where they can talk and share what is new and important in their ever changing life.

    There is nothing special about my kids except an expectation that they do the right thing for the right reasons.

    It is about growing up, really.


Follow The Santa Fe New Mexican

Click to read the digital edition of Pasatiempo

View an exact replica of the latest edition of Pasatiempo magazine.