My new day job has taken me back to where it all started for me in L.A.: the Miracle Mile. My first apartment here was behind the Petersen Automotive Museum
(site of Biggie Smalls' assassination
, possibly by an off-duty LAPD officer). I used to rub elbows with the tourists at the tar pits
, pay late fees to the Blockbuster at Wilshire and Detroit (now torn down for new apartments), and wish that there was a coffee shop in the neighborhood that stayed open past 5 p.m.
The Mile has changed a little since then (a Baja Fresh and an IHOP), but it's still a 9 to 5 neighborhood. That's good in a sense, because development pressures that affect other parts of the city skip over the great Art Deco
and Moderne buildings that line Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax.
Sure, there are ugly boxes sprinkled in amongst the shells of old department stores, and that huge fenced-in hole still takes up a whole city block across the street from Ralph's, but if look down Wilshire at just the right angle (and maybe squint your eyes), you can get a feel for how the street looked
when it was the premiere retail center in L.A.
All in all, it's good to be back here. The sidewalks are wide, the tar pits swarm with school children, LACMA
is free after 5 p.m., and there's a Coffee Bean right up Fairfax at the Farmer's Market
. Now if they would just extend the Red Line
down to Fairfax...