One Day, Soon.


  One day, soon, there will be a revitalization of Van Nuys Boulevard. Gone forever will be the hopeless days when people laughed to mock it, or ran away in revulsion. All the central gathering places that should be occupied by civilized things, all the lots that hold parking, all the empty buildings along Van…

Four Days After the National Cataclysm.


Four days after the national cataclysm, uneasy inside, tentative, mourning for my nation and its political immolation, I took advantage of a partially overcast Saturday morning and walked on those quiet, well-kept streets north of Valley Presbyterian Hospital. Tom Cluster’s emails had introduced me to the area, and I wanted to see for myself what…

The Big, Empty Foreground


On Flickr, where I sometimes spend my time, there is a group of photographs called “The Big Empty Foreground.” These are urban places, usually wide-open spaces, without people. Many of the contributors come from Europe, a place one does not often think of as empty. Soccer fields, parking lots, office plazas, old factories, these are…

The Incarcerated City.


  On these winter days, when the streets are emptied of cars, and the skies are filling with rain clouds, our neighborhood of Van Nuys cools down and empties out, revealing a strange amalgam of enormous parking lots; as well as businesses and homes surrounded by iron gates and fences. In its entirety, these fortifications evoke…

The Local Sweeties and Public Safety.


Courtesy of a community minded neighbor, we folks gathered tonight in a computer lab inside Casa Loma College on Kester to hear Senior Lead Officer Erica Kirk, Gang Officer DeLeon and a man from the Los Angeles Department of Building Safety speak about property crimes, prostitution and gangs. The people were mostly older, largely white,…

Hart Street, Firmament Avenue, Sherman Way and Sepulveda.


Yesterday, between the rains, after the air had been washed, the skies were radiant. And enormous cumulus clouds towered above, bottoms gray, tops white. The sun came and went. Streets of dark shadows ended in blinding light. I walked in the wind up Sepulveda, north of Vanowen, and went left along Hart Street. This is…