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Downtown: Then, Now

August 05, 1990

Charles Lockwood's points regarding "L.A. Heart's Failure: . . ." (July 29) are well-taken.

My first job, almost 50 years ago, was with the Bank of America at 7th and Olive Streets. The department stores were decidedly distinct, one from the other, rather than the present homogenization.

Though times appeared safer than now, there also were more safeguards. Before Pershing Square was ruined by the underground parking construction, pedestrians could crisscross the park from corner to corner/side-to-side. One area, chained off, was designated "For Women Only." Police officers were at every intersection and officers walked the beat as well.

During my last visit, earlier this year, around and west of the Biltmore, the lack of small, interesting shops was obvious. Cities become homogenized when the Golden Arches are allowed into every shopping area.

I seldom go into downtown Los Angeles these years. Gone are the days when I took my children into Bullock's alley for a cappuccino. Or stopped for a quick nostalgic round-trip ride on Angel's Flight.

And who wants to stroll around the outdoor mausoleum that is downtown around the west side of the Biltmore, when one can sit for hours watching in wonder the elegance of its parking entry? But as a young office worker, I did prowl during my lunch hours, shopping around 7th and Broadway, up 7th Street, with a bag of cookies from the dime store next to the Loew's State Theatre. And then there was Clifton's. . . .

It would be gratifying to know that as a result of articles such as Lockwood's, something might be done. I wish I could feel that someone developing a project downtown might make some change, alter some plan, rather than responses from letter writers as myself.



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