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Sunset Boulevard Traverse

Los Angeles city is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Whereas there are many cities with various differences, Los Angeles stands out as a city with unique landscape that denote the social variation the characterize her. In Los Angeles, the city is astounding scenery that makes it to have one of the breathtaking sceneries, malls, and house among other structures that people have built to reveal their taste of life. With the recent bus ride across Los Angeles from Bel Air and downtown LA, the physical landscape demonstrated the social different that marks the city as one of the diverse areas. Robert E. Park once mentioned about cities being little worlds with no connections between each other, yet they touch one another. Indeed this statement is true and Los Angeles is a demonstration of the social disparities that would exist in any city. Without a doubt, a ride from Bel Air and downtown LA revealed the diverse physical landscape the demonstrated Los Angeles social various from one part of the town to another. Indeed, the physical variation of Los Angeles city give credence to Parks statement that cities can have small worlds that display significant amount of difference.

The bus route from Sunset Boulevard within Los Angeles city, leads to Hollywood Street evading a densely packed streets. This street is succeeded by Hollywood Street leads us to a more elegant street in Los Angeles, even though it did not have much zeal. In this part, of Sunset Boulevard, hospitals and larger prime commercial outfits replaced the ethnic mini-malls and funky stores. The turns along the Hollywood Boulevard and Silver Lake’s streets revealed a sociocultural feature of the intriguing ethnicity of Los Angeles city. Indeed the two sections of the two displays a clear difference with one side being densely populated, while the other less occupied. During the bus ride that ended at Vine, I alighted from the bus and headed to Hollywood Boulevard following the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’. As I turned right, I walked headed towards the Capitol Records Tower where on the contrary, to my expectations Hollywood turned out to be untidy. In addition, the large mural adjacent to the tower showed a huge Nat King Cole displaying a row of flashy teeth. This difference indicates the social disparities that make Los Angeles to have different social variation in areas such as Beverly Hills and Silver Lake streets. This social variation reinforces the relationship between physical planning and social variation of Los Angeles city life (Becker and Vanclay 13).

In between the two hilly neighborhoods of Los Angeles—Echo Park and Silver Lake—I noted with satisfaction that in addition to their fame in artistic movements, these two places were inhabited with a wide array of social economic groups. Restaurant signs, sundry services, and cleaners exhibited the diverse cultural features of Vietnamese, Latin Americans, and Thais in these neighborhoods. These areas exhibit social diversity just by taking a glance at the diverse types of stores on the street, the public gallery, the signage, and the eating-places. Certainly, the beauty of this unique city from the landscape—street signs that identified areas such as Silver Lake and Echo Park—that clearly indicated that this side of the boulevard had no legal status. In addition, this became one of feature of discrimination based on the social classes as city council members merely granted favors to the well-organized neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills or Hollywood businesspersons’ groups as they had a lot of interest in identifying themselves with these areas.

One amazing feature in this attractive scenery featured city was a building next to Capitol Records Tower that bears imitations of the Fab Four. Just as carvings of saints which are subjects of pilgrimage, these replicas served as icons for those who visit Hollywood from all corners of the globe. Turning on to Hollywood Boulevard, I could not help noticing the countless souvenir shops that endlessly dotted this section of the street. In this part of Sunset Street, a sign of the Hollywood Car Wash with exceptional calligraphy signaled my entry to Hollywood. In Hollywood, a number of magnificent theatres and monuments cannot escape anybody passing through this street (Caughey and Caughey 289). Most significantly, these landmarks sharply contrasted with the shabby stores that were defined by outrageous wares like pompadour wigs and studded straps, which clearly signified a difference in the social class stratification. On the other side of the street, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre had been stripped of its authenticity and repackaged to be in tune with the settings of the contemporary world—and renamed Mann’s (Margolin, para 8).

My next destination was towards West Los Angeles that is one of the auto-dependent communities of Los Angeles. Literally, anybody residing here requires a car to make it to Hollywood and back as the scenery was evident from the entertainment industry. In this part of Sunset Boulevard Street, the landscape and cultural aspects of life are defined by among others, flashy billboards, and streams of top of the range cars driven by young people who endlessly flow in and out of fancy hotels indicating their high social class background. Clearly, Sunset Boulevard serves as a buffer between two contrasting landscapes—the lavish Beverly Hills homes from an uprising area of high class envron and the old shell low class background that marked the social lifestyles of Hollywood. Moving along the city, it was apparent that this place is a home of diverse social class majorly characterized by those who are rich. This is clearly featured as residents of this place sit outside on the sidewalks of fancy hotels and restaurants, enjoying the afternoon. It is in Los Angeles that one locates the headquarters of Wolfgang Puck—marked by gaudy ornaments and gargantuan graphics on the facade of its building (Fine 265).

Unlike Silver Lake and Echo Park, the landscape of Beverly Hills and Bel Air depicts affluent homeowners. As I approached Beverly Hills, aspects of commerce fade slowly as landscaping takes over. In this part of Sunset Boulevard, houses are replaced by walkaways and green grass. In fact, all the houses are located on the side street. I continued as I pass the Beverly Hills Hotel—found at the back of the street. Although looking from the streets one cannot visualize anything, I had no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, and that I was traversing through one of the richest communities in the United States. Reflecting on where I had started, I could not help to note the shocking contrast in this section of the boulevard. At Silver Lake and Echo Park, one could easily tell what transpired in place, and if need be, become a participant like stopping for coffee or buying anything from the shops as they were expensive. At Bel Air and Beverly Hills, the environment is disoriented. The serene nature of these places is emphasized by the fact their streets have no sidewalks (Margolin, para 9).

In sharp contrast, the two social classes of the boulevard from the extreme ends seem to interact. Map selling Mexican boys sitting on street corners are the only visible human presence in these neighborhoods. These maps are purportedly for giving direction to the homes of the many movie stars that reside in these gated communities. Although I located about four boys in this business, the low enthusiasm they exhibited made me doubt whether anyone had stopped to buy a map from them for the whole day. The end of Beverly Hills marks the beginning of Westwood. Sunset Avenue leaves me at the north end of the UCLA campus. After passing through uncountable lawns in Beverly Hills, sidewalks re-emerge as I enter Westwood. The UCLA athletics fields could be seen on my left as I headed upscale Westwood. In this part of Sunset Boulevard Street, the architecture of some of the houses dates back to the 1920s indicating a lack of social advancements. Traversing on, I came across the Westwood area is dotted with dramatic houses—large volumes, white finish and large windows (Fine 123). These features greatly indicate the affluence of the wealth status of the individuals residing from these places. The symbolic status of these private settings, unlike a good number of other places in the boulevard, translates into a great deal of financial and emotional investments in styling.

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A more varied terrain takes shape as I leave Westwood. On a Los Angeles map, I could figure out how this section of Sunset left a curvy line as it twisted around in the hills. As I entered Brentwood, I spotted a Lebanese cafe that clearly indicated the presence of diverse cultures. Compared to the colorful sidewalks of Echo Park, Brentwood town is rather small and less compelling. Nevertheless, it stands out as one of those few places between Pacific Palisades and West Hollywood where one can come across something to eat. One cannot talk of Sunset Boulevard as a gourmet’s paradise—despite its wealth of gastronomic opportunities when approaching it, the last fifteen miles of this street offers literally nothing interesting.

As sociologist Richard Sennet put it, city residents are always ‘people in the presence of otherness’ (Fine 186). Some few miles to the Pacific Ocean, some apparently marginalized communities start cropping up. In sharp contrast to Beverly Hills, these communities built their houses right on the streets. Across the architecturally undefined houses, there were signs warning intruders against attack by security guards. I decided to climb a nearby relatively steep hill and walk through a wooded area from where I could get a splendid view of the houses below (Fine 129). Tramping on dirt and dried brush for some distance, I noticed numerous palatial residences that were set back from the street in the woods. Descending into Pacific Palisades, shops emerge again after a long moment of traversing through the residential neighborhoods and my desire of observation gets inclined. The shops in this part of Sunset are boutiques and pretty eateries typical of a wealthy suburban community. Apart from the less attractive shops, the landscape of this part of Sunset has several hills appearing all the way up to the end.

Koreatown is another part of the boulevard that defines its own life in terms of structures and the routine activities that take place in this region of the boulevard. The dense population of this population translates to a challenge in driving along and as thus, one is drawn to the attention. Koreatown is located on the western backyard of downtown Los Angeles, and since the day was not smoggy, I could visualize downtown Los Angeles from this place. This particular side of Sunset Boulevard is evidently hectic. Most of the stalls in Koreatown are two-story with their parking lots in terms of lanes, space, and exits. A look at somee of the drivers entrapped in the traffic makes me compare their character with the one who is steering the eastbound bus I am riding in (Kinerw, para 3). Probably due to the aspect of trying to turn to an unprotected left within a remarkably short time limit on a busy street, these drivers are aggressive on the road—a character not in our bus’ driver. Apparently, flaring tempers between drivers and pedestrians are common in this past of Sunset Boulevard.

Clearly, the landscape of Korean town reflects business among the local and hectic deals cutting thus, signifying the city’s economic activities. A comparison of this town with a place like the Sunset Strip underlines the assertion that Los Angeles is geography different as Sunset Strip is defined by entertainment and wannabes. Korean influence is widespread in this town—from shopping malls to restaurants, not to mention that even the signs in this part of sunset are written in Korean. Truly, Korea town is a demonstration that Los Angeles is a mosaic town. A restaurant without an English menu or individuals conversing with difficulty in English is not a surprise on this stretch of Sunset Boulevard. The high population and its proximity to downtown makes most of the establishments in Korea town run round the clock, making it an excellent metropolitan. A good illustration of this aspect is Hodari—a decent Korean restaurant located along Vermont Avenue.

While the fame, of Sunset Boulevard is not debatable, as the mile and a half stretch between Hollywood and Beverly hills, dubbed ‘The Sunset Strip’, is arguably the best-known potion of the boulevard. The strip has a prime collection of the best rock clubs, restaurants, Hollywood night sports, and boutiques. A stop at Sunset Strip gave me an intrigue of this section of the boulevard. A few minutes into the night, this strips turns into a lively slash of flashy neon, as young cruisers pile up on a traffic jam signifying the diverse lively culture. Excited celebrity fanatics and people make the Sunset Strip to have an eccentric character of its own. The trademark of the Sunset Strip are huge, handmade billboards carrying colorful advertisements purportedly to catch the attention of Hollywood deal-makers and producers as they drive to work in Hollywood from their palatial Beverly Hills homes. Today, these billboards play a different role—they are there to boost the egos of the stars they promote (Seeing-stars, para 5).

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A look at some of the attractions sites along Sunset Strip paints a picture of a society living a life on the first lane. Laugh Factory, near the east end of the strip, is one of Los Angeles premier comedy clubs. A brief look at the background of Laugh Factory indicates that major American comedians sharpened their skills from this place. Household names like Steve Landenberg, Stephanie Miller, and Richard Pryor among others once featured in this place. In short, most of the entertainment spots in this place are frequent by who is who in the society (Seeing-stars, para 3). The Comedy Store is another comedy club located on the north side of Sunset. House of Blues is a multipurpose outfit at Sunset Strip—it comprises of a restaurant, a bar, and a concert house. In particular, the owners of this business complex give a vivid picture of the major business players in this part of boulevard. Dan Aykroyd, a prominent actor who featured in the phenomenon movie, ‘The Blue Brothers’, is one of the owners of House of Blues (Strip, para 4).

A social class of young and rich Hollywood wannabes flooding the Sunset Strip exhibits geography of an entertainment culture. Without doubt, typical night experiences at Sunset Strip are the cause of its global fame. Indeed, I concur with the popular school of thought that the ultimate party destination in Los Angeles is the Sunset Strip stretch of the boulevard. The major activities at night in this part of the street range from birthday celebrations to stag nights—men-only celebrations for a soon to be married bachelor. Some of the Sunset patrons, however, are only interested in a drink or a chat just for the enjoyment and relaxation. Nevertheless, social extremism is as well a cultural aspect of Sunset Strip. Scenes of young beautiful girls curled around poles with barely any clothing are a common phenomenon. Clearly, the human nature of desires and fantasies drives the patrons of Sunset Strip (Strip, para 2).

In light of the above observations, my view of the Sunset Boulevard social difference is evident as it is exhibited in its landscape. There is no doubt that the popular assertion by Parker that Los Angeles is a mosaic town of little worlds that do not interpenetrate is partly evident through the features along the Sunset Boulevard Street. Parker’s assertion is evident in Silver lake and Beverly Hills; Korea town and the Sunset Strip. However, to argue that diversity in terms of culture, social class, among other lines of segregation completely blocks the interaction among the numerous groups is not conceivable as the different social classes blend together in unison as one community. This is because even the rich at some point requires the services of the lowly in the society, for example, in the elevation of the numerous billboards. While class differences exists among the residents of Sunset Boulevard, my traverse through this street informed me that nobody can rule out interaction along the social classes.

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