Went to the old Farmer's Market next to The Grove (in Los Angeles) this past Sunday. It was a great day. Full of sun and idleness. I've gone a few times the past month - really something wonderful. It's been maintained since the 50's and still captures the warm communal atmosphere you feel that decade should have offered. This is me in front of my favorite Crepes place. Deeelish...
My pictures don't do the place justice - if you live in LA and haven't been, seriously check it out. Much better than walking down Hollywood or Sunset in my opinion. If you want historic Hollywood, I really think you find it there (and downtown). Sunset and Hollywood are tourist traps - make the city feel farcical, plastic, and tawdry. The farmer's market gives a truer glimpse into what old Hollywood felt like in it's glory days. I can't help but feel that James Dean hung out there regularly.
Had a strange incident today. Ended up chatting with a homeless guy this morning - not the stereotypical image that often gets conjured up when you say "homeless." There are a lot of people that do a fantastic job of assimilating into society fluidly, so they don't get harassed by cops, etc. I sometimes don't know how much truth I am getting when I get their life story - but I felt there was quite a lot in his.
Regardless, I have been really interested in what is going on behind the scenes on skid row lately. I live a few blocks away from it. When I first moved in, 5th street was seriously packed with people. You could barely drive down the road at times - there were so many people on the streets... A lot of crack addicts of course. The place was dramatic and heart wrenching as hell. You would literally watch prostitutes dragging 2 year olds by the arm and heroin addicts (with heaven in their eyes) drooling in rat infested gutters. Driving down skid row around 2 am is something that changes you. You start to understand how bad the situation really can get. How much harder life actually IS.
How people can simply be swept away.
ANYWAY. The THING is... skid row is a ghost town now. The police have really cracked down on the area because of all the new lofts and construction projects. A lot of money is moving in - and with it - a new exodus must take place. What is striking is that when I drive down 5th now - it is barren. And you begin to wonder where everyone is being put... things don't add up. Shady business, if you know what I mean.
Well - this guy I talked to today told stories of police brutality. How they are forcing everyone south into Compton and further. How they have arrested thousands upon thousands of people. How twenty plus police cars block off whole streets at night and raid. Violate the 4th amendment. Break into tents, pillage belongings, beat up, intimidate... further destroy people's already destroyed lives. The whole bit.
And I completely believe all of it.
He said the mayor hired the same guy involved in the clean up of NY under Rudy Guiliani in the 80s. Which makes a lot of sense. Need to fact check that...
These stories will most likely never see the light of day. Most people in Los Angeles have no idea skid row is in their city to begin with. And all this amazes me.