Across the street from my art studio in Boyle Height there’s the nicest bus stop ever. It’s not a MTA bus stop, because nothing nice is connected to the MTA (at least in the neighborhoods that are not gentrified yet, since I’m around family here I’ll just say the neighborhoods that are black and brown, ever notice how PC in the negative way only means, “why can’t I make fun of the ethnic people, with the ‘funny’ names and ‘funny’ way of doing things,” but if you’re not PC in regards to rich middle-aged white guys you’re accused of being overly sensitive or a reverse racist…so weird, must be nice to be a middle aged rich white guy.)
The Montebello 40 is rad, not just because it has a clean bus and bus stop (I know the City of LA takes care of bus stops, but if Metro had a bit of pride, they would make a bit of an effort in making sure that property with their name looked decent.) Not just because it actually follows a schedule. Not just because I can get on the Montebello 40, buy a transfer (total $1.15) and end up paying less than I would for a one way fare on the MTA ($1.25,) but because the people on the bus are rad. And they talk to you, not the “I don’t have a place to live,” mumbling crazy talk, but normal talk.
The bus drivers remember you and not only that, they spot you. I remember once I couldn’t find an ATM and the bus driver said, “You got a pretty funky hat there, so you can get on.”
That would never happen on the MTA, keep in mind where I pick up the 40 is across the street from I guess from what I’ve heard from some was one of the most violent and largest projects in America, the Pico Gardens projects, but times have changed. I can’t even tell that it used to be a project. Now it’s a mixed income development and no one comes out of there but nice family with little kids that wave at you, but what I’m saying this isn’t a wealthy neighborhood. This is a working and middle class neighborhood so it’s not that people won’t keep things nice if they are not filthy rich it’s just most government agencies don’t make an effort to keep things up if people aren’t filthy rich and writing 5000 letters a week and that’s a damn shame.
The people in Boyle Heights have a lot of pride in their neighborhood, but they don’t do that hipster bullshit. In Boyle Heights if you’re not an asshole, they are completely cool with you. I haven’t had one, “I was here since 1990 and you don’t know blah, blah, blah…” stories, not one. I heard those kind of dumbass stories all of the time in Silver Lake, from people who moved there from Van Nuys (but lied and said they were from Encino, like that was better) five seconds ago.
I’ve had nothing but love from the people of Boyle Heights.
And it’s not just the drivers or the bus stop, it’s the other passengers when I’m on my way somewhere and I’ll see Marie, Veronica, or Shirley from the 40, they’re always happy to see me. They tell how great of a future I’m going to have. It’s like running into old friends, not old friends from high school, because my friends in high school were total bitches.
The Montebello bus line is one of the reasons I love the Eastside.