Saturday, April 22, 2006

Postcards from the edge . . .

This weekend is the biggest antiques show in the region, Sertoma's "Million Dollar Antiques Show," hosted at SUNY Binghamton. To be fair, it is a very nice show- about 200 dealers and very high-quality stuff, and well-organized.

They must be doing something right because I ponied up $15 to attend the pre-sale show on Friday evening. I figured it would only be fancy tchotchke, for which I presently have no use, and I was right.

However, I found great pleasure in one stall that specialized in antique postcards, about 20,000 of them. I had been feeling quite homesick that day, so I was so happy to ask to see thse of Los Angeles (not the "Hollywood" ones, to be clear) and find a willing ear in the older lady who owned the business. One by one, I went through the 100 or so postcards, most of which related to Downtown L.A., and tell her the current state of the object of the photo.

For example, there were many shots of Broadway Street, the former shopping and entertainment center of L.A., and Spring Street, the "Wall Street of the West" (1 block over).

I pointed out that the glamorous photo of "5th and Broadway" had a different flavor, now that it is ground-zero for heroin sales in the L.A. region. And that the one of "The Rosslyn/Million Dollar Hotel" on 5th and Main evoked images of a Skid Row-adjacent flophouse, presently in the midst of a legal battle over gentrification.

In happier news, there were some great photos of buildings, such as those on Spring Street, which have been saved from urban decay and become thriving residential buildings.

The best ones, however, were of 2 things that I didn't really realize we had in L.A.: an ostrich farm, and a pigeon farm. Who knew?

1 comment:

wheeedle said...

Such great vintage images of downtown. ..and that pigeon farm makes me hungry for squab.