Walking in LA: What's the score?
They even write songs about it.
'Cept it ain't necessarily so.
I live in a section of the city where people do walk. We sally forth, strut our stuff and occasionally sashay.
That's because I live in a section of the city where it's often easier to walk than drive. Living close to major shopping and tourist destinations means that the streets round here are not only clogged with the usual dose of LA traffic—starving students and the permanently impoverished are the only people who partake of what passes for public transportation here in the City of the Angels, so our traffic problem is worse than most major cities—they're also filled with a steady stream of Starline's double decker Sightseeing buses, TMZ tour vans, taxis and Uber/Lyft drivers.
Parking is at a premium so there's a world of stuff I just don't bother getting in the car for. If I need a quart of milk I can wander up to the drug store two blocks north. Organic bananas? There's a bunch at the Whole Foods right next door. If I don't feel like paying Whole Foods prices, there's a Trader Joe's another three minutes up thattaway. Thattaway which is right next door to my bank. Need something to read? Both Barnes and Noble and my local branch of the LA Public Library system are a ten minute trek from my front door. Every Wednesday the library hosts its used book sale and because this is Hollywood I've been able to pick up, not just decent copies of best-sellers, but thanks to some writer with an overstuffed book shelf, dozens of screenplays at about fifty cents a pop. Who knew that during awards season, the studios package the screenplays that are up for an award in paperback book size, complete with glossy covers, and send them out to the Academy and Writers Guild voters. You can't vote for a Best Screenplay if you haven't read it. So they say, anyway.
At the original Farmer's Market you can find lots of crappy tourist stuff like mugs that scream Hooray for Hollywood and t-shirts with Marilyn's picture on them but you can also find candles, kids toys, French doormats, exquisite patisseries and a couple of really good butchers. Take a peek at the tables and squeezed in among the tourists you'll spot writer and wannabe writer types, actors in training, and the folks who work the shows at the nearby CBS Studios.
There's always something or someone to see when I go on a walkabout in my hood. Sure, along the way I can expect to see someone sprawled on the ground, legs splayed out on the sidewalk, or maybe rifling through the trash can outside the CVS door. And it's just as well so few people take the bus as most of the covered bus benches seem to be the permanent residence of one homeless man or another. Shopping carts, loaded with a jumble of what look like trash bags, are festooned with an array of neat bundles of more trash bags filled with what look to be, even more trash bags. Sometimes it's scary, I steer clear of a shizophenic homeless man standing on the corner, hurling garbled insults at the cars, but mostly it's just sad.
For all that, I like walking in LA. I like seeing how the rest of the world, not just the suburban-living and Suburban-driving folks live. I'm happy to wander the streets in a place where even with my lack of athleticism I could throw a stone and hit a bar or a restaurant. I like that I can walk to the Ray and Stark bar at LACMA and pound down a Krainerwurst Cronut before checking out the newly donated Two Marilyns by Andy Warhol. It's nice to know I can get a look at David Hockney's: Mulholland Drive, The Road to the Studio anytime I want without going anywhere near a car.
The website WalkScore.com which ranks neighborhoods in terms of their walkability, gives my hood 88 points. Walking in L.A.? Yes, some of us do.
Another LATE! entry into the #AtoZChallenge. The letter is W.