Riding down Atlantic, he passed by some scenes that were quintessentially East Los: A middle-aged veterano riding down the street in a lowrider bike, a dude driving a car with a large Lakers "L" logo emblazoned on the driver's side door. And why hasn't this place been incorporated into its own city yet?
The Real East Los Angeles isn't really the rough-and-tumble vato kingdom the mainstream media wants you to see. It's actually part-urban, part-suburban, part-small-town, part industrial, with some historic buildings, such as a seemingly random art-deco structure that's a mini-market in its current life.
Speaking of history, The Militant passed by a rather imposing building on Whittier and Atlantic that caught his eye (pictured above).
Golden Gate Theater, once a 1500-seat grand playhouse and silent film palace built in 1927. It was part of a complex called Golden Gate Square, surrounded by a mixed-use apartment and retail structure called the Vega Building (pictured right), which ran throughout the southwest corner of the intersection (The top facade of the Golden Gate Theater can barely be seen above the Vega Building's roof, just left of the central tower structure).
Though the theater's marquees were located on the street, the actual venue was situated in the middle of the block, separated from the Vega Building by an outdoor courtyard.
|The Golden Gate Theater once looked like this inside.|
Fortunately, there is strong interest to return the building to its theater origins, and its future life as a 24-hour drugstore will only be a temporary chapter of the building's storied history. The Los Angeles Conservancy reportedly successfully lobbied to have the drugstore maintain visual elements of the theater, such as the high ceiling and balcony, and other elements, such as the original concession stand, were removed and stored for future use.
Riding father south on Atlantic, The Militant finally reached his shopping destination: The Citadel Outlets. Not letting the minuscule and tucked-out-of-the-way bicycle parking bother him (at least it was there, though), he went on to a few unspecified stores to get some of the latest camouflage fashions for Spring.
Now it's got big-ass video screens to distract drivers on the 5.
After The Militant finished his shopping trip, he rode back towards the Gold Line station. Just a few blocks north of The Citadel, he happened upon this building, alongside the nearby railroad tracks...
Since then, the building has been dormant, and falling apart. Metrolink originally considered re-using the station for commuter rail use (and it has the right-size of a parking lot for it), but it cost a lot less to build a new station a few miles east than to restore the old one. There have been no plans to restore the building, and likewise no plans to demolish it either.
If any building here in East Los Angeles is a candidate for adaptive reuse, this one is it. So what's it gonna be? Museum? Restaurant? Community Center? A Wallgreen's?
Only time will tell.