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Brady Westwater

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Occupy L.A. Meets Small Town Downtown Los Angeles on May Day

Posted: 05/03/12 12:42 PM ET

After an early morning with no emergency vehicle sirens or overhead helicopters, I realized I didn't know when or where the planned Occupy L.A. May Day demonstrations were taking place. So I walked up Spring past Broadway -- where the sidewalks were packed and the store were all open until I reached Hill and saw a few police and fire vehicles.

I then walked south on Hill until I saw more police cars and a couple jewelry stores that were beginning to take their stock out of their windows. But until I hit 7th, almost all the stores were still open and the sidewalks all crowded with shoppers. It was just another typical weekday morning in Historic Downtown LA -- with just one exception.

Everywhere I went, police officers -- many of whom I had not seen in years called out to me, waved to me as they drove or rode by -- or stopped and shook hands with me. But I was not the only one. Because even though most of the officers were brought in from different beats and shifts of Central today, they also brought in officers who had worked in Central before; officers with long standing ties within our community.

So the further I walked down Hill and the more stores were starting to close for a few hours, the more of a block party atmosphere was developing. People were coming down from their offices to talk to officers they had known for years. And people who normally don't see each other while they are in their offices, saw and greeted people whom they would not normally see during the course of a business day. And soon coffee and pastries from every imaginable ethnic culture were being brought down to the sidewalk and distributed -- and the small town that is Downtown Los Angles was suddenly in full voice.

It had somehow become Downtown's version of a 'snow day;' a day when everyone on that one street (since the adjoining streets were all still packed with shoppers) got to take off work and relax for a bit, with one sad, if somewhat wonderfully ironic, exception.

Since the Bank of America that serves the local community would eventually have to also close for a few hours, it was packed with customers both times I walked by. So the only people not able to enjoy our collective Hill Street block party -- were all the people who worked in the Bank of America.

 

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