Within the concrete heart of downtown Los Angeles, an area three blocks long and two blocks wide fills with daily shipments of blossoms in every color, size, shape and fragrance imaginable. Bold sunflowers. Delicate baby’s breath. Boisterous red roses. Pastel snap dragons. Golden orchids flecked with red. Fluffy white carnations. This is the Los Angeles Flower District…
“What brings you downtown?” the waitress asks as she seats me on a patio shadowed by the skyscrapers on Bunker Hill.
I hear this question often. “Actually, I live here,” I say, trying not to sound smug. “Just down the hill.”
“Oh!” the waitress chirps in surprise. After all, most of the restaurant patrons work in the neighboring office buildings on Grand Avenue or Hope Street. They may stop in for a drink before heading home to a house on a grassy lot fringed with oleander and bougainvillea, but they don’t live here….
As the Metro Gold Line’s sleek train approaches Union Station, the east-bound passengers waiting on the platform come to attention. Giggling teenage girls with studded lips and bright fuscia hair stop smacking their chewing gum. A young guy, shaking his head to the sound of his earphones, grips his skateboard more tightly to his chest. Another man, jeans splattered with white paint, firmly guides his bicycle. A woman in an electric wheelchair moves forward down the platform. They are all headed East….