Sunken City is a hidden place in San Pedro. A town built too close to the edge that in 1929 slowly slipped into the ocean. Built during a time when they were still figuring out how to do such a thing and through many tries eventually giving up and gating the place off. Probably a reaction to the architects failures and a long life of living in shame and exile.
Shoes are a requirement here considering the fact that there’s rocky terrain and constantly stepping over broken beer bottles and syringes. Yeah, it’s a dirty place that garbage people hang out at. It’s a strange place that attracts strange people but I’ve, personally, been there numerous times and never felt threatened. It is possible that I may be one of those garbage people but the fact is, it is a place where you trespass and usually people are drinking and getting high. But, nonetheless, it is a very peaceful and calm area.
The view is spectacular and reminiscent of California’s central coast with the sheer cliffs and crashing waves below. It overlooks the vast Port of Long Beach and cargo ships rolling in and out. The graffiti on the concrete gives it a charm that reflects the type of people that mostly hang out here. It’s a place for youth and for the most part teenagers and 20 somethings are the majority of the people who hang out in this forbidden place and the graffiti is an expression of that.
I personally, love this place and had many exciting times here. Once, Fermin Park had Shakespeare’s Hamlet playing but a friend and I were too drunk to keep focus so we walked nearby to Sunken City.
Walking down the trail there were people with a guitar that had a small fire below that we eventually talked to and turned out to be really amazing. Another time I brought a girl there on our first date and it was her first time there. She was nervous about trespassing at 2 in the morning through the gate and really took a leap of trust on her part. The scene was perfect, though. I had a blanket and two beers and the moon was large and directly above the ocean and sea lions were barking in the distance.
The point is, romance happens here. It was a failed experiment that turned into something greater and has been enjoyed by many. One of the last remaining places that have been unclaimed and for the people that have been here feel that it is sacred. A place that seems dangerous and gives you that thrill and is entirely what being young is truly about.