As CdM emerges from lockdown, the battle scars are hard to ignore


I walked up and down East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar recently, stopping to take photos and wave to people I recognized despite their face masks. It was a strange walk, filled with scenes that were frustrating or sad or just a little off kilter, like when I saw a group of police officers and civilians sitting at the café tables outside Pain Du Monde, chatting and drinking coffee as if things were normal, even though pdm is not even open for business these days.

As CdM emerges pdm

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Photos by Amy Senk

Pain du Monde is still closed for business

In general, it has been good to see people out and about and more businesses starting to open, or hearing about their plans for reopening. But on my walk, for every hopeful sign, there seemed to be several ugly ones.

Some parts of Corona del Mar were trashy, literally. Containers of food, empty bottles, bottles stuck inside paper bags, broken bottles, all kinds of junk liberally dotted the streets and sidewalks. I felt sorry for business owners who have to clean up after the slobs who couldn’t be bothered to use a trash can. There also were two businesses with boarded up windows.

As CdM emerges CDM Drugs

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The boarded up CDM Drugs was a result of a smashed window and looting

Later, I asked the Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman about those, and she told me that on April 17, CDM Jewelry Consignment at 3617 E. Coast Highway had someone smash its window – no property loss, however. Then on May 5, a burglar smashed the window of CDM Drugs at 2865 E. Coast Highway, and there was a loss of cash and medication.

As CdM emerges Derma Spa

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Derma Spa hopes to open its doors soon

There were many businesses closed – Pain du Monde, Teuscher, nail salons, hair salons, flower shops and more. One business had a sign in the window that said, “We will reopen again in early May if everything is under control.” It was difficult to tell if businesses were closed permanently or temporarily. 

As CdM emerges Wee Loft

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The Wee Loft, a children’s toy store, is open for business

There were some bright spots, too. Businesses that are open also have signs, announcing delivery or takeout services. El Cholo used colorful spinning pinwheels to draw attention to its signs. The Crown Cove assisted living facility had signs that read, “Heroes work here.” The Tutu School dance studio had windows filled with children’s drawings of rainbows, with a notice explaining their Rainbow Challenge encouraged children to create rainbow artwork at home, and email it to them for display in an effort to thank essential workers.

I had missed my walks through town, but I hope next time I see more businesses open, less trash and a more “normal” CdM.

• • •

In other news, earlier this month, Harbor View Elementary School scheduled a drive-through for families to pick up belongings left at school and to return things like library books, and also to check out the school’s lost and found. Teachers had been in classrooms earlier and organized their students’ belongings, then set them up alphabetically. Families arrived on the Goldenrod campus, gave their names and picked up their stuff. It was a surreal end to the school year, as far as being actually at the school, and it made me nostalgic for the last weeks of school when my kids were little – Field Days, hikes to the beach for Earth Day, last-day-of-school parties.

Harbor View families will be able to stop by the school next week, however, for a more uplifting celebration. As part of the Parent Faculty Organization’s staff appreciation plans, staff has been asked to park on campus and stand by their vehicles while community members drive through with signs and cheers. The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, May 29 and will be a chance for the Harbor View community to be reunited, COVID-19 style.


Amy Senk has lived in Corona del Mar for 20+ years and was publisher of Corona del Mar Today, an online newspaper that ran daily for seven years. Senk, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is involved in the Corona del Mar Residents Association and the Corona del Mar High School PTA. She and her husband have two children.