Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Different Perspective of Skid Row

This is actually a picture of Skid Row taken from the top of City Hall. Skid Row is south of City Hall.

It is hard to believe that between those buildings you have one of the most dense areas of suffering in the United States. Last night I saw Skid Row from a different perspective. I saw it at after midnight. The only time I have seen it around that time is when I have come from Main St. after visiting Banguette or other establishments on that corner.

This time I saw Skid Row coming from a DEEPER Skid Row location. I was on 7th Street and I had to go to 5th street. I was traveling southeast to northwest.

It was a lot darker. Fewer people were on the street where I started from. No lights were on the streets. It is quite common to see men urinating in the street in any part of Skid Row. Last night was a little different. Several women squatted in the middle of the street and relieved themselves.

The attitude of the people along my travel path was more desperate or shall I say fatalistic than normal. I was glad to get to my building after my first night at work.

Yes, this picture is a view of Skid Row from the nothern point of City Hall.

The tallest building in Skid Row is the Weingart building. It is located on the northeastern corner of 6th and San Pedro. it is the building in the top left corner of the photo. There are many programs housed in that building as well as a medical clinic on the first floor.

The building with the green columns on it is the Union Rescue Mission. The front of it is on San Pedro and the back of it is on San Julian ST. I live on San Julian St. San Julian ST. is considered the heart of Skid Row. Currently it is the dirtiest street on Skid Row but that is changing with the efforts of OG, Jeff Page and the Skid Row Basketball League. They volunteer to clean up the streets.

On the southern end of San Julian St. between 5th and 6th is where you have your critical mass of crack smokers and dealers. Most of the crack trade takes place there. Keep in mind crack is sold throughout Skid Row but this area is sort of like a "Crack Swap Meet". The northern part of San Julian St., closer to 5th st. is where the marijuana market is. Crack is not smoked at all around that part of the street.

The tan colored building just off center and towards the southeastern part of the picture is a two story structure. That is the Los Angeles Mission. All of those other buildings that you see are either shelters, residential hotels or some other mission. That is why I call it a campus. The Skid Row neighborhood resembles a campus and each mission or building is like a separate department on the campus.

There are many classes in Skid Row. Classes and recovery meetings are held day and night. There are AA, CA and NA meetings. There are Domestic violence classes. There are computer classes and job skills training programs. Self help grass roots programs dot the area.

So I ask myself why is it that there is so much misery on the streets. The area from where I road last night is called the combat zone. I will learn more why as I get to know it.

Last night expanded my experience on Skid Row just as moving into the Marshall House did. I trust that I will learn more as each day comes and goes.

I must go. I must register for my continuing education classes to renew my real estate license. The fight continues. The climb continues.

1 comment:

L.A. Woman said...

Your description of Skid Row as a campus with different departments is fascinating, especially since it was so "fatalistic" as you described it. It is a sad school, then.