This guy asked me ” which bus line would show me the most of Los Angeles?” wow that stumped me, it took me about 10 minutes to think and answer him. Surely the 20 on Whilshire would show you all the fancy buildings. The 16 on 6th street would show you sheer volume of immigrants, the 164 would give you prespective on how large the San Fernando Valley is but none of them capture all of LA. then it finally dawned on me the 2 line on Sunset Blvd.
If there is one route that traces a line through all the diversity that is Los Angeles it’s the 2 line. It cuts through the wealthiest of neighborhoods, the largest educational institution in the city, as it rushes onto the entertainment capital of the world only to criss cross cultural enclaves as it makes it’s way downtown.
The 2 line starts near Gladstone’s in Pacific Palisades one of the richest niches of Los Angeles, and yet representative of one of LA’s basic tenants “Perception is reality.” You see Palisades is not it’s own little city it’s just a section of LA that is carved out by rich home owners who felt the need to separate themselves by name from Los Angeles, many communities do it. Sherman Oaks, Valley Village, are just different names for Van Nuy’s and North Hollywood, which were just different names for Los Angeles. It passes the oddest high school in Los Angeles, Palisades High. You see long ago parents in unsafe neighborhoods realized they could ship their kids out there to be safe, better educated. well ironically, nobody who lives in Palisades will send their kids to a school with other kids who have no options but Palisades high, so you get an inner city school population nestled among million dollar homes.
Next the 2 line cuts near UCLA the largest University in California and with it the huge onslaught of traffic. after dropping off students it’s on to Beverly Hills and Hollywood, the homes and offices of the “Movie Business.” Showtime happens as it passes all the trendy hotspots that is the Sunset Strip. that mythical place of music and beauty that enticed us all as kids but proves once and again how fast that life can be. Then as the pretend world of movies often does, the 2 line as it passes the tourist mecca of Hollywood moves from the glitzy image of entertainment and onto the real streets of LA and the cultural negihborhoods of East Hollywood. home to newly arrived persians and Armenians trying to make their way in their new home.
lastly the 2 line services Echo Park one of the oldest entrenched suburbs of Los Angeles. It’s last remaining remnants of the paradise it was hidden in the foliage of the hills, but hope arises as gentrification is coming to this neighborhood. As it rolls Dodger Stadium you can smell the hot dogs, that are the heart and soul of this city. In years past it would not be uncommon to hear Vin Scully’s voice on the streets as our boys in blue play, nowadays your more likely to hear The Spanish broadcaster Jamie Jarren calling the game in spanish. and finally the 2 line ends up in Downtown at terminal 28 near Hill and 17th street, having passed near such stalwarts of LA as Clifton’s Cafeteria, the garment district, and the Pantry.
All of LA in one 2 hour + bus ride. The rich and famous to the banal and sturdy folks of LA. The grandeur of UCLA and the limelight of the strip. All of LA , the good, the bad, the ugly all on display. all for the low low price of $1.25