Ah, another nice sunny Winter's day in the metropolis. On Sunday the Militant's top-secret duties took him to Inglewood, where he decided to forgo a freeway trip along the 101, 110 and 105 freeways in favor of a direct route down the Wilton/Arlington/Van Ness corridor, passing through familiar areas like Hollywood, Koreatown, Jefferson Park, West Adams and into rarely-seen neighborhoods like Chesterfield Square and Angeles Mesa. To the sheltered Angeleno, anything below the 10 is instantly dismissed as "The 'Hood" but at least along Van Ness Avenue, the 'Hood looked quite good - quiet residential streets with well-kept front lawns, some of them nicely tree-lined, and some corners bearing some sort of designed open space. The familiar aerial landmarks of towering palm trees and descending airplanes are there, but these streets look quite quaint. This area was, after all, originally developed as a suburb.
But what a time to be passing through Inglewood -- the city turned 100 years old last week and will be putting on some Centennial events later on this year. The onetime-City of Champions is in some sort of transition, having lost the Lakers, Kings and soon those horsies on the Prairie, it is searching for a new purpose, a new stimulus, and in the process trying to shake off its "ghetto" perception.
Its downtown area, though, doesn't look quite as nice as some of its residential neighborhoods. Generally barren, it's suffering from some sort of identity crisis as it attempts to bear a "Main Street" feel in some sections -- complete with the requisite diagonal parking arrangement and widened, landscaped sidewalk along a commercial area -- but other parts appear quite lifeless.
But there was at least one thing in Inglewood's downtown that appeared pleasing to the Militant's eye -- an empty lot, of all places, right at the corner of La Brea and Florence avenues, where a field of California Golden Poppies grow in striking abundance (pictured above). How strange, yet how beautiful, it looks.
Of course, all them pretty flowers won't last for long. The lot is slated for development by CB Richard Ellis to build a shopping complex (pictured left). The Inglewood city folks seem to be banking on building a hub in the area, as planes fly low over Century Blvd and a mostly-abandoned railroad track lies on the other side of Florence (which is part of the proposed Metro Crenshaw/Prairie Transit Corridor currently under study). Maybe that's where the next hundred years of the hometown of Vicki Lawrence and Mack 10 lies.