olvera_report - Sinziana Velicescu AMST 2nd Paper Topic...

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Sinziana Velicescu AMST – 2 nd Paper Topic April 7, 2008 The Authenticity of Olvera Street (or lack thereof) As a native of Los Angeles and an avid lover of Mexican food, I have always considered Olvera Street the best place for carnitas; in the past however, I paid little attention to its representation of Latinos living in California. After reading Phoebe Kropp’s article, “Citizens of the Past,” in which the real history of Olvera Street is revealed, I decided to revisit this tourist attraction using an alternative lens. I brought my friend Charlie along because having lived in Pasadena all his life, he couldn’t tell the difference between Olvera and Alvarado. I figured his reaction might provide insight similar to that of an Anglo tourist. We made our way downtown and it didn’t take long to find parking although it cost us $6.00. As was mentioned in the Kropp article, parking had always been an issue for Olvera Street. And knowing that the local church nearby still existed, I wondered if the members of the church still battled with the parking issue. I walked to the front of La Placita and asked a person exiting the church, where one might find some parking; unfortunately he didn’t speak English, but the next person I asked told me that people usually take a bus or walk because they live in close vicinity. I also called the number and the lady on the other line informed me in an unfortunate voice that there was no free parking and the only lot around was the one owned by the city, the same $6 dollar parking lot that we had parked in, of which there were three, and two were full on a Saturday afternoon.
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After a typical Los Angeles parking experience, we entered Olvera Street, where we found ourselves to be minorities in a sea of Latinos that crowded the street. It seemed as though Olvera Street had lost its appeal to the Anglo public and had since then been occupied by Latinos for the purpose of making money. The ratio of Latinos to Anglos and other races was about five to one, and this is not including the workers and vendors since they were all Latinos. An interesting observation was that the more fancy and expensive sit down restaurants were occupied mostly by white people, enjoying triple-sized meals and being sung to
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olvera_report - Sinziana Velicescu AMST 2nd Paper Topic...

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