Sunday, March 4, 2012

Getting Lost: The Connective Tissue

I HAVE always been interested in intersections -- literally and metaphorically. One of my fascinations about L.A. has been how the city "connects up" and which throughfares are the ones that can lead you through many different faces of the city: It's many moods, rhythms and preoccupations.  When I was a kid,  many of our family Sundays incorporated a late-afternoon, stress-free leisurely drive (unheard of nowadays!) down one of the major throughfares.
Back then, my favorite journey was along Wilshire Boulevard as it wound all the way from downtown Los Angeles to the sea.  Moving gently along its curves was like watching a movie montage through the window: architecture, signage, colors,  traffic, churches, museums, department stores, apartment buildings, boxy steel and glass office highrises, then the colorful divey beach motels, the fancy hotels and finally it all petered out -- you'd reached the end of it all  -- the ocean unfolding endlessly before you.

This morning, I did a mini drive north/south exploration down San Gabriel Boulevard as it connects Altadena to Pasadena to San Marino to San Gabriel to Alhambra to Rosemead and so on and so on ... This is some of what I saw along the way:

What I kept thinking about this morning, as I moved through this "collage of place", was that you see old and new San Gabriel Valley the "new" bowling lanes, which aren't, but the telephone pole with it's pull tab phone numbers tells you so much about how a place like Los Angeles swiftly and radically changes: the many languages spoken, the many stories waiting there, unfolding.

-- L.G.

(Photo: San Gabriel Boulevard
Credit: L.G. )

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