Whittier Boulevard

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Sign on Whittier Blvd in East Los Angeles

Whittier Boulevard is an arterial street that runs from the Los Angeles River (where it continues into Downtown Los Angeles as 6th Street) and Brea, California, mainly through areas with large Latino populations. It is one of the main thoroughfares in both Whittier and East Los Angeles. At various times, portions of Whittier Boulevard have carried the designation of U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 72. Whittier Boulevard also carries a portion of El Camino Real.

Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles[edit]

Zoot Suit Riots[edit]

During World War II, Whittier Boulevard and neighboring East LA streets were the location for many Pachucos. A few Zoot Suits fights happened in East Los Angeles' streets like Whittier Blvd. When the Zoot Suit Riots occurred in Los Angeles it was difficult to be a Latino in that area (especially around Whittier Blvd), especially for those who wore a Zoot Suit.

Lowriding[edit]

One memorable and still alive trend along Whittier Boulevard is the usage and showings of lowriders.[1] It has been said that East Los Angeles, specifically on Whittier Boulevard was one of the few first places that low riders began to appear around World War II and up until now, there are still low-rider showings along Whittier Boulevard, or any where in East Los Angeles. Drivers would compete against each other and hope to win the other driver’s car, known as "hopping for pink slips.”[2] The street itself became very popular because it became a place for low riders to come together and the locals would cruise up and down the streets. To this day lowriders are still being driven and meet ups occur, where those who still have cars and want to showcase them come together at parks, parking lots, etc. anywhere they find place and come in groups.

Present day: The cuisine of Whittier Boulevard[edit]

Whittier Blvd located in The East Los Angeles community consists mainly of Latino decent, but as well as other culture groups, which provides the diversity of this city. Whittier Boulevard is the heart of the community in East Los Angeles; it is filled with street vendors, selling hot dogs, fruits, garments, and Mexican food. In particular, taco trucks appear frequently on Whittier Boulevard. Other establishments include liquor stores, bread shops, clothing stores and furniture warehouses, 99 cent stores, as well as a supermarket, but with the change in times, places are being shut down and remodeled or new shops pop up frequently. The tacos are not the only thing popular along these strips, but the occasional, but a more growing popular snack rising is the Hot Dog created on the streets of Whittier. Hot dogs served along Whittier are wrapped in bacon and served with grilled onions and jalapeños. When prepared this way, it is known as an East L.A. Ditch Dog. [3] Both hot dogs and tacos can be served with nieves (Mexican slushy), the esquites (corn kernels smothered in mayo, Mexican cheese, and butter, with the option of chili or other condiments).

Events[edit]

Every year there is a Christmas parade, called the East Los Angeles Parade [4] that takes place on Whittier Boulevard and starts on Eastern and ends at Whittier Blvd. and Atlantic. This parade usually consists of high school cheer squad, the elementary and middle school cheer squad as well, they occasionally bring in elephants, television reporters, and broadcasters come from local stations to cover the parade, sometimes some TV. Celebrities come. In 2008 they brought a famous Mexican singer called Jose Jose.[5]

Media[edit]

Another trend that became part of the popular culture of Whittier Boulevard are Thee Midniters. Thee Midniters were a Chicano rock band that became popular in the 1960s. Their song “Whittier Boulevard”[6] gained popularity just as they did. They named their song after the most popular street in East Los Angeles: Whittier Boulevard.[7]

Scenes of Whittier Blvd appeared in the beginning of Chico and the Man TV show.[8] Which was actually based on East Los Angeles and showed much of the neighborhood and streets.

Salazar Park[edit]

Along the Whittier Boulevard strip there is Salazar Park, named after Ruben Salazar.[9] It was renamed after the LA Times reporter who got shot by the sheriff’s deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs while investigating the Vietnam War protests of the Chicano Community. His death made national news and he became immortalized not just after having a park named after him, but by Lalo Guerrero, who wrote a corrido (Spanish narrative song) about him and in the Sonoma University; they renamed this library in his honor. The Ruben Salazar Park represents not only a landmark of the Chicano struggle, but also the legacy of Salazar and his endeavor for giving Mexican Americans a voice. This Park today hosts baseball games, senior activities in their gym, offers a public swimming pool in the summer and classes for non swimmers, allowing community members to have recreational activities.

Transportation[edit]

Bus service on Whittier Boulevard is provided by Metro Local line 18, Metro Rapid Line 720, and Montebello Transit Line 10. Metro Lines 18 and 720 run on Whittier Boulevard between Downtown and East Los Angeles, and Montebello Line 10 runs east of East Los Angeles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Glutster, The (2009-08-02). "Whittier Blvd. East L.A [Unity] Event: Live-Blogging". TheGlutster.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ Ray, Joe (2012-10-08). "Lowriding on Whittier Boulevard". Lowrider Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  3. ^ "California | where ingredients matter. | burgers". burger. santa cruz. 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  4. ^ "Welcome to the East Los Angeles Christmas Parade Website!". Eastlachristmasparade.com. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  5. ^ Bandini, El (2011-05-25). "Whittier Blvd Taco Trucks : East LA". Greattacohunt.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  6. ^ "Thee Midniters - Whittier Blvd.". YouTube. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  7. ^ "A&E :: Whittier Boulevard Revisited". LatinoLA. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  8. ^ "Chico and the Man". YouTube. 2006-07-02. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  9. ^ "Remembering the life and legacy of Latino Journalist Rubén Salazar and the Chicano Moratorium". Boyle Heights Beat. Retrieved 2013-08-17.