“What’s your problem!?” the woman pushing violently by asked me, blowing smoke in my face.
This is how girl fights start, I thought.
Somehow, on one of the happiest days L.A. has ever known, I managed to have a run-in with the one person with a bad attitude.
Taking another puff of her cigarette, she turned and pushed her way to the curb, knocking a couple of smaller women out of the way as she went.
Thankfully, she was the only sour note I encountered over the four hours I spent chasing the Shuttle down Crenshaw.
It was supposed to have reached King Blvd. by around 1:30, so I parked my bike at the Crenshaw Expo Line stop and walked the few blocks to King. The crowds around the mall were huge, but the street was empty.
“Where is it?” people asked each other.
It was the question of the day.
I figured it must be close, so I took some side streets, crossed King Blvd., made my way back to Crenshaw, and headed south.
The streets were empty.
But the sidewalks were packed.
So much for closing off the streets, I thought.
Kids were out in full force, and excited.
Everyone seemed pretty happy, actually.
Others got creative with their choice of viewing spots.
Street fixtures, often looking like dinosaurs in repose, offered people a place to lean while they waited.
Others took the opportunity to ride their bikes up and down the closed streets; South L.A.’s own impromptu CicLAvia.
After walking south along Crenshaw for almost an hour, I finally spotted it.
Even police officers were excited.
It was fun to see residents and other Angelenos all enjoying the day and sharing the experience together. Secretly, I was kind of glad for the delay — I was happy to see so many new faces getting to know Crenshaw Blvd. I am probably not the only one who had that thought cross their minds. As I walked south from the intersection of Crenshaw and King, I heard choreographer Debbie Allen (or at least someone that sounded an awful lot like her) tell the crowd that Crenshaw Blvd. was no longer the forgotten spine of the city, as the L.A. Times had called it. Today, people would see it for the vibrant source of life and culture that it is.
And, if nothing else, we learned that although Jesus may not care much for South L.A.’s trees, he does love gangsters.
All photos (c) sahra, 2012.