Broadway: The Hard Way

About ten years ago we had some family come out for a week or so. On their last day here we needed to run them down to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles because, adventurers that they are, they were taking a train out of town. Okay.

So to get there, we decided that we’d take them up Broadway, something we did once or twice a month on our way to Chinatown for some Sam Woo’s Barbecue Restaurant, probably the best Chinese I’d ever eaten up till that time.

Anyway, Broadway, is a trip all its own. And this busy hot Saturday was busier and hotter than most days we’d taken the drive. This is a part of L.A. that doesn’t look like L.A. at all. It looks like New York City, but in another era, certainly in another century. It is the home of a historic commercial and theater district.

But the Broadway of old is not the Broadway of today. It is close and very real.

The old giant office buildings and theaters that line the street block out the sun except for the middle part of the day. People line the curb and it almost seems like they could reach into your car. They’re almost exclusively Latino. The merchants blaring Mexican pop music are as loud as the people are close.

Needless to say, we knew this was going to be an experience for our small-town lily white relatives.

So down Broadway we moved at a crawl. The smell of garbage, car fumes, meat cooking. People practically breathing on us as we slowly made our way up the crowded street. The tension in the car was incredible. Fear, even. Oh yes, there was fear.

No one made a sound. When we stopped at a red light, I thought people in the back seat might piss their pants in our nice leased automobile.

Finally, a break in the traffic right at the point where the business end of Broadway, well, ends, and things open up, with City Hall off in the distance to the right.

The explosion of relief coming from the back seat at that moment is something I will never forget but can’t adequately describe. It was as if people had just bungee jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was uproarious. After sounds that aren’t words, I’m sure I heard ‘Oh my God!” and “I’ve never experienced anything like that before in my life!” and some actual squealing.

Anyway. lol. Enjoy the pictures.


  1. Reblogged this on 50'Lux and commented:

    Time to revisit some of my better efforts that were posted before anyone knew this place was here. Hope you all enjoy them and thanks to smilingtoad and Vincent Bolly for reminding me of this by liking it all these many months later.

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