Friday, August 17, 2007
i can see your loft from here
One of the many things I love about the loft I share with my husband, Jim, and our puppy, Wonton - besides the view of the downtown skyline - is that I can see the streets and sidewalks. When I lived at the Alexandria, I couldn't see the street unless I went on the roof and leaned waaaay over. Great view of the skyline and neighboring buildings, but no street. Jim used to live above Pete's Cafe in the San Fernando Building and I think we spent most of our time there because of the great views of the streetlife at the corner of 4th and Main. Well, that and my place was haunted and it was starting to freak me out, but that's another blog entry.
“Think of a city and what comes to mind,” the urbanist Jane Jacobs once said. “Its streets. If a city’s streets look interesting, the city looks interesting.”
From here I can see onto 5th, 6th, Main and Los Angeles Streets and let me tell you, those are interesting streets. I especially like the drama that unfolds at the bus stop and the mid-block crosswalk just north of 6th and Main. I've seen dogs fighting, then a few minutes later, their owners. I haven't witnessed any racist exchanges on Main, just participated in one. I see cops pulling cars over, shaking down speedsters, dealers, thieves, loiterers, and jaywalkers. I see bloggers, artwalkers, and tourists and new-to-downtown residents wielding cameras. I hear the loud, repetitive beeps before I see the bus loading a handicapped rider. I hear the buses, oh boy do I hear the buses - the robotic voice identifying the streets and route as it hisses to a stop, and the high-pitched screech as it pulls away.
Almost all the violence in downtown Los Angeles that I've witnessed or was impacted by personally happened on Los Angeles Street. Before I moved into this loft, I parked my car across the street and had my car broken into late one night. We didn't find out until after we moved in that Adam was held up at gunpoint in front of our building. I think we read it on his blog after we unpacked all my shoes and CDs. I can see the automated pay toilet on 5th and Los Angeles from our patio. Unfortunately, that's not the one that blogs.
I hear the sirens from the police, the fire department, and the paramedics. I hear the sirens differently now. Once, it meant an actress had OD'd while filming a movie at the Alexandria. Another time it meant a domestic disturbance where a man threw his wife out their 5th-story window and onto Spring Street. But after riding in the ambulance driving Laura to the hospital, hearing that siren from inside the vehicle-- well, it's different now. When I came back from Hawaii after burying my sister, I cried every time I saw a "Los Angeles" street sign. Now, I see "Los Angeles" and though I still sometimes cry, I know I'm home.