Colorful gifts and history at The Black in OB.

Windows at The Black contain all sorts of sights that fit right in with the laid-back, alternative OB lifestyle.
Windows at The Black contain all sorts of sights that fit right in with the laid-back, unconventional OB lifestyle.

Walk through Ocean Beach, particularly down Newport Avenue, and you’ll pass all sorts of weirdly wonderful shops. Look into some windows and you might think you traveled by time machine back to the 60’s.

I paused for a moment in front of The Black, a store that sells stuff that fits perfectly with OB’s alternative lifestyle. Coming down the sidewalk were surfers, retired hippies, free-spirited youth and sandal-wearing professionals. I looked into one window filled with dragon figurines and small toy robots.

My eye was then caught by a nearby historical sign. It explained that The Black’s rather plain-looking building, dating from 1918, has been home to a variety of more traditional grocery stores and markets selling meat, fruit and fresh produce. But that was decades ago. Long before the counterculture’s rise in the 1960’s.

One fascinating thing about history is that a community can change in ways that seem rather unexpected!

The Black in Ocean Beach occupies a building with a unique history. Greeson Hardware was once here, as were various markets, and the USO.
The Black in Ocean Beach occupies a building with a unique history. Greeson Hardware was once here, as were various markets, and the USO.
Old photo on the building at 5017 Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach shows a couple of local markets. The Black's owner won the right to lease in the building after winning a card game across the street.
Historical photo on the building at 5017 Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach shows past markets. The Black’s owner won the right to lease in the building after winning a card game across the street.
In the window of The Black I see Gumby, Mr. Bill, some drums, guitar strings and a Grateful Dead baby onesie.
In the window of The Black I see Gumby, Mr. Bill, some drums, guitar strings and a Grateful Dead baby onesie.
All sorts of cool, unconventional stuff can be seen in a store window at The Black.
Smoke shop items and other diverse gifts can be seen in the front windows of The Black in Ocean Beach.
I see some fun, nostalgic robot toys!
I see some fun, nostalgic robot toys!
I also see a Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band tin tote and a Super Mario figure.
I also see a Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band tin tote and a Super Mario figure.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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