Saturday, July 12, 2008

So Long, Traction Avenue, and Thanks For the Good Coffee

On Traction Avenue, east of Little Tokyo and downtown, sits Groundwork, an independent cafe catering to an artish crowd. The young folks working the counter are tattooed and multiply pierced and oddly attractive, every one of them. It has been such a nice place to hide from work for a while, nurse a cup of strong coffee (my favorite was "Bitches' Brew") with the Weekly or whatever book I've been reading. Up in the loft they have for seating, there are usually laptops open. The brick walls exhibit paintings by local artists and the art changes monthly or so.

This place is one of the comforts of living in L.A. Looking around this week, I wondered how the neighborhood will change. It is an industrial area in metamorphosis, with more retail and housing occupying the lofts and garages. ArtShare, a performance and living space similar to Providence's AS220 (where I lived myself, 1994-6), is nearby. There is a general store and a cheap Mexican restaurant. Now there is a wine bar and a more upscale restaurant. The offices and rehearsal space of Cornerstone Theatre are here as well.

So what will become of this street as it changes and gets ever more popular? Will these kids and this cafe get priced out of the neighborhood they found and made so interesting - they, who made it a neighborhood? It has happened elsewhere, time after time.

Hands together: Traction Avenue, thank you for all the good coffee and good times.


Pam said...

I'm sure you are leaving much that you cherish and will miss as you begin this new journey in your life.

I have cherished pockets of memories filled with wonderful nuggets I will always keep-- Places I've lived and loved, friends that were made or lost along the way.

Donna said...

Wow. Beautiful tribute. I wish I had a place like that here. I hope you find a new place just like it.

I guess time will tell how (or if) it will change.

Hal Johnson said...

Nice tribute indeed. I've loved living in northern California, but when I think about what I miss most about living down south in Ventura County, three or four dining establishments come to mind.