And in doing this I experienced really for the first time the immense horizontality of the city of the future; what Sujic calls the 100 Mile City. Of course I have known this theoretically; but here was the horizontal experience. Ten miles of uninterrupted building none of it much more than three stories high; this really does challenge the vertically aspirational city. But my journey persuades me; this is the city of the future, (unless it is rather Singapore or Jakarta); but it takes me time to concede (so much do I espouse the European model of concentration and crowdedness that I am used to) that this is indeed "city". Until you realise that these modest structures amount to exactly the same components of the vertical city; they are just laid out in attenuated form. Sa if to refute any feelings of LA as essentially suburban, my bus pulls up (with a sigh) at a bus stop outside two adjacent one storey houses. Side by side they stand, with the following signs on them:
HOLISTIC DOG CARE BRAZILIAN DANCING
Clearly this was not the suburbs.
But I find downtown and, more to the point I find Broadway.
This was the centre of Los Angeles if it ever had a centre. And is lined with great deco palaces and tenements, daubed with graffiti to an alarming height. The whole of Broadway is a thrill, a latino Oxford Street (and I mean that with no bathos; for like Broadway Oxford Street is the Real Thing.) But some claim that Broadway, the old downtown is not to be incorporated within the new downtown; it is near it but has been sort of cauterised off from it. The street pulses with the musics of the latino world from a thousand loudspeakers; the Mexican, Mariachi; Colombian Salsa, Cumbia, Gaita, the Dominican Republic (Merengue); big ornate old cinemas showing Latino films, some put to other uses; one great old barn advertises EVANGELIZACION. I remember pausing in a big echoey Gallery packed with stalls, the sun filtering in though the iron pillars that supported it, listening to a sweet shuffly cumbia and feeling so good.