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Late to Its Own Party, Endeavour At Least Has Decency to Put On a Good Show

Two-year old Levi, a Buzz Lightyear-in-training

"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 most unique days L.A. has ever known, I managed to find 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.

She definitely wasn't from around here.

And she was the only sour note I encountered over the four hours I spent chasing the Shuttle down Crenshaw.

Catching up on some reading while waiting for Endeavour.

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.

No Shuttle.

"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.

Parents, too.

Everyone seemed pretty happy, actually.

Some folks were even dressed to the nines, waiting to greet it in style.

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.

And 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.

Everyone was 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. And I am 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, she said, people would see it for the vibrant source of life and culture that it is.

All photos (c) Sahra Sulaiman, 2012.

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