Wednesday, April 21, 2010

pico boulevard near vermont avenue, byzantine-latino quarter

Thanks to Nirad Gupta at SIFTAngeles for the location request.

I came here to shoot photos at 9am on Easter Sunday, and even at that early hour the streets were already filling up with 50mph traffic. But during the periods of silence in between packs of swiftly moving cars I was able to focus on the human face of the neighborhood's soul: its considerable foot traffic. Foot traffic which, on a narrower street, feels more at ease.

On paper, the Byzantine-Latino Quarter has a long, rich record of ethnic ebb + flow; a neon sign and inspirational mural on the corner of Pico + Normandie give clues to those origins. Otherwise, it's tough to get a sense of any of its history at street level. The BLQ is crying out for a public square to physically mark its center and give the neighborhood a sense of permanence — its official center at Pico + Union only features disappointingly typical stripmall carchitecture. But streets this wide + fast defy public space. Like most designations in LA its identity seems temporarily written, an abstract construct of the mind marked only by blank rivers of asphalt; a figment poised to be gentrified into oblivion without even a statue to mark its passing. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

Got a location idea or photo submission? Send it to I'll post it to the blog or even run out to shoot it myself.


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