Saturday, March 29, 2008

Though I've grown accustomed to riding my bike in the hills that overlook Whittier, I have taken to riding my bike to various destinations around the city. The other day I rode to Olvera Street, downtown, and I brought my camera.

It seems that the original street of La Puebla de Los Angeles has become (or perhaps, always was, though unnoticed by me) a popular destination for So-Cal day-trippers, and maybe some folks from out of town. What used to be a thrillingly exotic scene to me, is now kind of boring (what, with all the white folks walking around with cameras, and such :) ).

But along the ride there, I went down Cesar Chavez Boyle Heights, merely a few blocks up the street from Olvera. This street is not a tourist spot, but has most of the things you can get at Olvera, plus the essentials and with little to no English spoken. The bustling boulevard is a truly isolated Mexican enclave.

The greatest charm of Cesar Chavez (formerly known as Brooklyn Avenue, named by Boyle's original Jewish inhabitants) is the buildings, nearly all of which have some kind of lively artwork on their faces.


The art usually looks endearingly amateur, as if the business's owner actually whipped out some paint and scrawled what came to his or her head first.


Much of the art is professional, and sometimes there is an inspirational message.




Though I've driven down the street many times, it is a far superior experience on two wheels, which facilitates up-close examination. Especially for this building, which is a giant color-collage of broken ceramics.


DSC_2003 well as this giant mural on the face of the White Medical building.

(Photo taken in 2005 with my old camera)

These pictures represent a mere fraction of the neighborhood. It will take me quite some time to get my fill of the eye candy adorning Cesar Chavez and the surrounding streets of Boyle Heights.


  1. Thanks for the tour. Your have encouraged me to make it a stop on one of my future visits to LA.

  2. Rob,

    Seldom does someone of your age slow down to see what is important. I found my walks around the neighborhood when I first retired to be very interesting. However nothing to compare with your pictures and insights. Good work.

  3. Did you know that there is a Siqueiros mural at Olvera Street?

    It was painted by David Siqueiros around 1932 and was immediately covered because it was too "political." It is now being "conserved." More information about it here: