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Geneva Towers

By Mark Johnson

The Geneva Towers Complex was a two-building, 22-story high-rise that sat at the center of the Sunnydale Projects, approximately four blocks from the Cow Palace.

I lived on the sixteenth floor of B Building in a two-bedroom apartment from about 1979 to 1988. At that time, my apartment offered me a beautiful view of the rolling green hills nestled in the backdrop of the Cow Palace and the Geneva Drive-in Theatre. I would crank up my stereo, put on some Rick James music, grab myself a joint, and step out on the balcony to enjoy an often breezy, but sunshiny day.

I would light the joint, take in a deep breath of the smoke and slowly release it, experiencing a pleasant high and thinking to myself: “What a beautiful place to live!” This was because I was 16 stories above the crazy drama that was playing out in the next complex or on the basketball court below me.

It had become a challenge to reside at Geneva Towers. Even walking from the parking lot to the lobby was sometimes as scary as walking in the surrounding areas after dark. You never knew when you might be bombed by a shitty diaper or a bottle filled with piss falling from one of the floors. You had to keep your head to the sky if you wanted those despicable items to miss you. People even threw mattresses off the balcony.
On one particular day, I walked out on the balcony to enjoy the sun with a joint and I glanced over at A Building and saw what appeared to be a large blue bundle falling from a balcony that was at a lower level than my apartment. The blue bundle finally made contact with the ground and splattered like a large watermelon. I stood stunned and in disbelief. I thought the joint was playing tricks with my mind.

I saw a crowd gather around the bundle. I had the urge to go over to the complex to see what was in the blue bundle that had made such a splatter, but thought again. After about 10 minutes, I saw police and ambulance personnel arrive and cover the bundle with a white sheet. I knew then that the Geneva Towers complex was no longer a place for me to reside.

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