Monday, February 6, 2012

Iconic L.A.: Flower and 5th Street

AS I sat in front of the Citi Bank building, passively waiting for my father to come down from his office to have lunch, I looked around and realized just how contrary everyone was to me. I felt out of place, like a child in an office building, surrounded by all these grown ups in suits and ties, holding briefcases and Venti Starbucks coffees. I waited at an empty bench that looked like it had hardly been sat on, directly in front of the 48-story tower, and watched businessmen and women shuffle in and out of the building. Oddly enough, there were about ten palm trees that surrounded me, in this concrete jungle, with not other trace of plant life around. I wondered to myself where each person was going, and even tried to guess. One man had a silver snake skin suit and a metallic briefcase, with grey hair and beard to match. He had a hurried and deliberate pace, as if he knew exactly where he was going and what he planned to do when he got there. I then saw a woman, dressed in a black skirt suit, frantically typing away on her blackberry as she sped walked out towards the city, seemingly entranced by the glowing screen. Everyone I made eye contact with seemed concerned or preoccupied with the next task at hand, and not a single smile was returned.

Downtown Los Angeles has always intimidated me, even going back to when my father used to take me to work with him as a child. Perhaps it was from being surrounded by these behemoth buildings, seemingly blocking out the sun and sky that created such a feeling. Even as I grew older, and would go to Lakers’ games, I still felt that if I were to wander around Downtown Los Angeles alone, I’d get chewed up and spit out. Just driving there and finding parking was a feat in and of itself, and there’s good reason for that, it was deliberate. Before the 1984 Olympics, the streets were normal, not a bunch of convoluted one-way streets and cramped driving lanes. The goal was to alleviate traffic and congestion that was anticipated with the coming of the Olympics, but it didn’t quite turn out that way, and today’s streets are the end result.

A city still trying to find its identity to this day has worked at expanding and making its name known, sans city promoters of the early 20th century. I saw these buildings as a sign of progress, and over the years I have seen the city grow exponentially, building magnificent cathedrals and music halls along the way. Downtown Los Angeles is a thriving city with thriving people in it, but they must remember not to get completely consumed by the city and their endless tasks, because it will chew you up and spit you out.

--Julian Portera
Photo Credit: Myself

No comments:

Post a Comment