Monday, July 10, 2006
As discussed many times at A Hard Place, I reside in the harbor town of San Pedro, CA which occupies the northern half of the horseshoe that could be made out of the LA Port with the southern side being Long Beach. San Pedro is probably the oldest of the South Bay towns being the enclave to many past fisherman drawn to the area to support the ports’ growing fisheries. As development has grown in the world’s fifth largest economy “working class” San Pedro now finds its juxtaposed on the Palos Verdes peninsula (yeah I didn’t really know about "PV" until I got here either) with several up-scale ranches and swankier residential areas developed primarily from the 50’s on.
So it’s really the turn-of-the century “old town’ awash in a sea of Baby Boomer post-war development – and still officially part of the City of Los Angeles. There’s a lot of history here that doesn’t quite mesh with the Beverly Hills kind – and that goes to the amazing diversity that the greater LA area holds.
Ok, well enough travelogue, for now, but suffice it to say most people know San Pedro as a fairly Latino town nowadays – but as you wander from the port docks up the hill to where the “doctors and lawyers” used to live you will actually find all kinds of nationalities. Early on we learned that the prominent fisherman of the day were the Croatians and you do find a lot of people name Trutanovich here – a bunch. And there are Yugoslav-oriented mom-and-pop grocery stores dotting the hill. But what I didn’t realize was how San Pedro was the home to the highest concentration of Italians in all of Southern California (as I read in the LA Times for the first time today).
Until Sunday, that is.
Of course, Deborah and I watched the World Cup final between France and Italy. This was after we waited around for hours for a new dishwasher to be delivered only to find out that our wiring was outdated in our old “turn-of-the century” house (this pastoral stuff can only go so far). Ok stick it in the garage until we can fix “that” problem. What’s the score?
Suffice it to say Italy won. Now onto “House Hunters” on HGTV or “Boy Meets Grill” on the Food Channel. But wait – what’s that clamor outside?
We should have really expected it. We’re one of those houses perched up the hill and we had started to notice Italian flags appearing on selected houses the past weeks. In fact from our deck right then we could see a bunch all of a sudden, when did this happen? – and hear the car horns. I pass by the Italian-American Club on my way to work all of the time but have never ever really seen anything going on there. Now I remember they were having a block party and now knew that was the nexus of the din we could hear rolling up the hill.
Next was the parade of cars and trucks rolling through the neighborhood honking the horns and waiving their Italian flags. Where did they get all of these flags? This went on for at least three hours and on the fourth it sounded like they took the parade down to the Port. I drove by several times to get a peak and snap a pic or two. I lived here five years and it was fairly remarkable to me that was once a quiet street known as Via Italia now was, well, Chicago. Who knew? Man, I wonder if they had any deep-dish.
Little pink houses. (And you know what? - we really got 'em).