An ode to an once anti-urban neighborhood
It's fascinating to read about how you kept to that part of DTLA, and all the areas you didn't go were sort of the areas I loved and adored (Little Tokyo, Old Bank District, Toy District, Arts District, Fashion District, Broadway). Granted I was an adult, so it was less of an issue for me.
I too remember when the Ralph's opened and how things changed rapidly after, although the part struck me was when Anime Expo moved from the Anaheim Convention Center to LACC in 2008, and suddenly had started seeing cosplaying attendees tentatively wandering around Figueroa and over to the Ralphs to load up on snacks and drinks. The dynamics and contracts was palpable to say the least.
I would read a book's worth of this stuff
Thank you for sharing this - as someone who emigrated from Romania and landed and lived in San Francisco's Tenderloin of the late '80s and early '90s this resonated deeply with my family's experience.
This was very moving. It captures almost exactly how I feel about northwest Brooklyn, albeit with a few changes. The irony is you moved to LA when you were eight and I am fourth-generation Brooklynite yet the emotions are quite similar. (Absent your fond recollections of parking lots, of course.)
Have you seen the StrongTowns blog? https://www.strongtowns.org/ or the YouTube channel Not Just Bikes? Just throwing this out as possible inspirations, enjoyed your writing and thought maybe this might be useful to you.