Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The Revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles is beginning to take effect. The results at first tenuous grow more evident each day. Not so much on 5th Street, but Spring Street between 5th and 6th is responding like a plant getting watered after a drought. It’s a subtle feeling in the atmosphere, the very air seems fresher and more vibrant. Gone for the most part are the sidewalk sleepers and box dwellers that used to inhabit the vicinity outside the hotel – relocated a block to the east to the tent city on Main Street. The heroin dealers are fewer now too, and the ones that remain are less rowdy and more discreet. Everywhere new sidewalk cafes are springing up, and in the afternoon sun you can actually glimpse the green leaves of trees. Even the sidewalk cement seems cleaner as if with a little nourishment the city squalor actually cleans itself. Across the street renovated lofts are opening up, and here and there empty buildings in bad repair have been torn down the way a dentist removes bad teeth.

Some things have not changed. The purple shirted bicycle gestapo still swoop on unsuspecting drug users, street vendors still vend their wares. Wheelchairs, amputees, mentally ill, and unshaven homeless in filthy rags talking to themselves still populate the street. But within the brisk sidewalk traffic are a significant number of well dressed business people, attractive young women and men, good looking office workers in stockings and high heels, shoppers commuting from out of town patronizing local businesses that were not in evidence a year before. In that one block you can almost feel confidant of not getting robbed, make us feel like dressing better ourselves instead of dressing down for protective coloration and safety..

And lo, across the street from the hotel, a new little store , a 99¢ and More Store featuring food items and sundries, has opened up. It seems like such a momentous occasion because for so many years here there was nothing!


Blogger tracie said...

When I think of Downtown LA, the words "fresher" or "Vibrant" ever come to mind. More along the term of...War Zone! It almost sounds civilized. I wonder where they will drop the old, the sick, and the homeless people from the jails or hospitols now?

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