I’M ALWAYS struck by the fact that with the advent of the “new” Metro, that Los Angeles still needs to rise to the occasion.
I have been taking the Gold Line more and more because, frankly, the claustrophobia and stress of driving has drained me. Behind the wheel you see the city in a certain way, which in many ways means you don’t see the city anymore — just a route that gets you from here to there and back again. Riding along the old and new rails that zipper the city give onto different city views. They are snapshots of neighborhoods that you glimpse as you pass quickly through.
It’s still disarming to find little street life near some of these stops. We’re still in our cars, the rhythms and rituals haven’t changed yet.
Here in Boyle Heights, the Mariachi Plaza stop along the Gold Line, there were only a half a dozen folks milling around the station businesses. The bookstore/lending library was closed. The wine bar above, Eastside Luv, shut too. Only one mariachi, in his charro suit, stood in the inky shade talking with two friends, his hat draped behind his back, as he rapidly moved through a fast-food lunch. (Too dark for a photo.)
The spot is historic, the site where since the 1930s mariachi musicians gather for hire– at restaurants, parties, social and cultural gatherings. The brick building across the street from the bandstand in the foreground, is known as the Mariachi Hotel, which has gone through various remodels and retrofits — all of them controversial.
L.A. still seems to be a “lonely” crowded big city, in some parts still.
The bookstore, as it turns out, was closed for “vacation,” reopening today, but I loved the adjacent banner (below). It expressed my thoughts precisely, like a big yellow thought bubble:
The view of Dowtown from across the Bridge:
Click here for some great retro images here with views of the old street cars