Saturday, January 4: After wandering the walk streets of Venice, my sister and I stroll down Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California. We have fun dipping in and out of the cute shops and looking longingly into the shop windows.
We go into an enticing shop, the Juicy Leaf, which is arranged with artistic and beautiful displays. We take some pictures, until the woman proprietor tells us we’re not allowed to take photos. I say, “Really? I’d think you’d be happy to have us post pictures that give you free advertising on sites like Instagram and Facebook.” A man behind the counter chimes in, “Well, we’ve had our competition send in whole teams of people taking photos to steal our ideas, so we have to be careful of that. Besides, it’s posted through the store that no photography is allowed.”
I say, “Oh really? Sorry, I didn’t see the signs.”
He reiterates, as if I’m lying, as if I were blatantly ignoring the signs: “Well they’re posted in several spots.”
Honestly I never saw them, and if I had I wouldn’t have been photographing his shop. My sister and I both dislike his accusatory manner and determine not to set foot in there again. What happened to the old adage: the customer is always right? We’re both affronted by him and later we make fun of his attitude. “Oh yes, his shop is so different and so spectacular that people are dying to spy on him and steal all his ideas, ideas that no one else in the world could possibly have.”
According to an October, 2013 article in the LA Times, longtime merchants and residents are worried that this “once-desolate stretch” is getting too “posh for its pants” (Los Angeles Times: Abbot Kinney Boulevard’s renaissance a mixed blessing). After our encounter in the Juicy Leaf, I would have to agree that some places are a little too posh for their pants.
Thirty years ago, when the stretch of road was known as West Washington Boulevard, “gunshots routinely rang out at night in the Oakwood, the adjoining drug-infested ghetto. A U.S. senator’s niece was shot to death in a holdup on the sidewalk in 1980.” Eventually, a crackdown on gang activity helped rid the area of criminals, says the LA Times.
In 1990, West Washington Boulevard was renamed to Abbot Kinney, after the man who built the Venice Canals. The street boasts fine restaurants, unique art galleries, prestigious wine shops and exciting nightlife.
Now properties on the street are seen as great real estate investments, with some buildings that stood untouched for decades now revamped.
We have a much more pleasant experience in the paper shop Urbanic, where no one seems to care if we take pictures, leading us to buy a thing or two, including a journal for myself.
Little do I know that I will return to Abbott Kinney Boulevard when I return to LA the following Saturday, where I share a few drinks with poets and writers after a Poets & Writers Live event at The Brig.
Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slideshow.
After our walk, we return to the car and drive back to Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, where we repeat our sushi meal of the previous night at Akari Sushi.
Tomorrow, I head to Danville, to visit my friend Jayne near San Francisco.