Today I went down to Hollywood for a meeting at Paramount Studios.
I parked at the Orange Line lot, near Sepulveda and Erwin (2/3 of which is now leased by Keyes to store unsold new cars), bought a $7 Metro pass, and took the bus, which connected to the Red Line subway at North Hollywood. I rode three stops and disembarked at Hollywood and Vine.
Compared to other times on the train, there was definitely a boosted security presence. Some cops were checking passes at North Hollywood and four LAPD cops boarded a train at Highland and rode it for a few stops.
The pathologies of LA are now deeply embedded in the transit system. Many homeless were riding the train with their belongings, and at Vine I heard jostling and two men arguing with “fuck you” screamed loudly. Other times I’ve ridden the train and with smoking, eating, feet on seats, loud music, and absolutely nobody doing anything about it.
But considering how much might go wrong, the ride was all right, and I walked, for a few miles, along Vine and arrived on time for my 11am appointment at Paramount where everyone smiles and says thank you.
In black and white, editing out the poverty, Vine Street presents itself as a neat and tidy noir place. There is Stein and Vine Drums, the DWP Service Building, erected 1924; Bogie’s Liquors, the Army/Navy & Earthquake Supplies, and Camerford Avenue, a street I never heard of until today.
Back in Hollywood, there are hucksters and con artists all around Vine near the W Hotel.
One guy came up to me with a hunk of cash in his hand and said, “You got a $20 for a ten and five and some ones?”
I said, “Let me see what you got.”
But he refused to unfurl all the cash. Then he said, “C’mon man. I just interviewed for a job at Starbucks and I got to get to Oceanside and I’m short six bucks!”
I said, “I’m sorry,” and walked off.