A long cruise on a short street First Site

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A long cruise on a short street

A long cruise on a short street

First Site : 2017-06-07

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Nobody would pretend that Selma Avenue in Hollywood is one of the great walking streets, nor one of the great places for urban exploration - it runs for about a mile and a half, east/west, between and parallel to Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. But its not without interest, because nowhere is.

Back in the day Selma used to a be a place where young men, inspired perhaps by Midnight Cowboy, hung out and plied their trade. Theres still a YMCA in the street, but you cant stay there these days however much fun it might be. This is John Rechy below on the steps of the First Baptist Church of Hollywood, which has stood on Selma in its present form since 1935.

Currently Selma is the site of all kinds of development and redevelopment, and I dare say a truckload of gentrification. Restaurants close and are replaced by new ones that dont necessarily look any better than the old ones, but presumably they have a better business plan. Theres a stylish barbers shop, a store that sells only vinyl, and there used to be a tent city of homeless people, but they were recently moved on by the cops.

Theres some curious stuff on the sidewalk:

Some curious window treatments:

And theres this, which may be the best reason for walking along Selma an amazing example of scarcely improvable, ramshackle, improvised urban infrastructure. It may possibly be a Thomasson (op cit) although possibly not because this thing, however ramshackle and improvised, is actually functional.

As I hope you can see in the above pictures (one mine, one from Google), and I know it's not easy, its essentially, two telegraph poles stuck together. Theres one big, tall, fully-formed pole, supporting wires that run high across the street, and then theres a shorter pole attached to it, accommodating wires that run in a somewhat different direction at a lower level.

Two big, tall, fully-formed poles might have seemed the way to go but apparently the powers that be couldnt find an extra pole of the required length. They ended up with one that was shorter than the other, that wouldnt even reach from ground level to the required height of the wires running crosswise.

So what would you do? Well, what they evidently did was attach the short pole to the big pole but they had to hold it three or four feet off the ground. In order to do that they used brackets and then a length of lumber for support. But even the length of lumber proved too short and so they put a lump of wood underneath that as a shim.

Its wonderful. It works, I guess. And frankly this is the way I personally do handyman projects ham-fisted but functional. You might imagine the powers that be in Hollywood would operate with more style and skill. The fact that they dont is somehow charming but also unsettling. Is the whole of Hollywood held together with wire and string? I think we all know the answer to that one.

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