My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc.  Jim Chase is an award- winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook.  Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://
© 2011 WordChaser, Inc. Jim Chase is an award- winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook. Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://

From Sad to Mad in Two Blocks

I find myself driving along Foothill Boulevard at least once or twice on any given day. No matter how often I pass by certain landmarks, some of them always make me say either “Wow!” or “Wh-what?!?”

Like the still impressive architectural beauty of our new L.A. County Public Library on the corner of La Crescenta Avenue. Wow! Or any of the never-been-used-and-most-likely-never-will-be bike racks that were installed last year for who knows what reason. Wh-what?!?

Driving past other Foothill features elicits different responses. For example, I can’t drive the two blocks between Ramsdell and Rosemont without first feeling sad, then mad. I’ll explain.

On the corner of Foothill and Ramsdell sits an empty building that was home to the once-thriving Dominick’s Restaurant – an institution in the Crescenta Valley since it opened back in 1956. For as long as I can remember, Dominick’s was the place to go for great pizza and to be served by two classic waitresses straight out of Italian restaurant Central Casting – the famous “Flo” and “Susie.”

What a pair. These two tireless ladies were as much a part of the Dominick’s experience as was the platters of pizza and mountains of spaghetti they served every day. Flo was known for her beehive hair-do and “Ya, ready? What’ll ya have, Hon?” waitress patter. Susie was like everybody’s big sister and seemed able to deal with every kind of customer with the same grace and efficiency – from screaming, pasta-tossing toddlers to entire high school baseball teams.

When our kids were young, we were beneficiaries of Susie’s abundant grace on several occasions. One of our young sons had the most ridiculously sensitive gag-reflex known to pediatric science which resulted in a propensity to – shall we say – launch his just-consumed dinner in an unforgettably fire-hose-like manner with nothing more than a few seconds of warning. On more than one occasion the dear lad painted the linoleum tiled floor of Dominick’s with a high pressure blast of ABC (already been chewed) pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce and pizza dough despite our best efforts to grab him and run OJ Simpson-like out to the sidewalk before blast off.

And yet, not once were we banned from dining at Dominick’s, although we did practice self-imposed exile for several months after one particularly colorful and quantiful episode of exploding child. Passing by the now sadly empty building always reminds me of our many wonderful (if somewhat messy) family moments enjoyed there over the years.

Driving east along Foothill, past Rosemont Avenue and across from the Ralphs shopping center, my mood suddenly flips from sad to mad as a looming shadow blots out even the brightest, sunniest Southern California day. Looking to the right and into the gloom of the rising office building that once was the modest Plumb Crazy storefront, I can’t help wonder, “Why is someone building a cruise ship on Foothill?” The metal framework of this monstrosity-in-progress rises from the sidewalk like the QE2 moored at the dock.

I can’t help but wonder who in city government approved such an out-of-place behemoth of a building that’s already a blight on the landscape of our fair city. And who is the developer responsible for inflicting this on our citizenry? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that he or she doesn’t live here. Montrose has its relatively new, über-ugly (and laughably, ironically vacant) medical office building on Verdugo Road to live with. Now we have our own skyline atrocity right here in La Crescenta. What a shame.

Passing by the construction site, I kinda wish I still had our young human-fire hose of a son around. I’d load that kid up with an extra-large, double pepperoni, double cheese, double sauce pizza and wash it down with a venti mocha Frappucino (with extra whipped cream). Then I’d stand him in front of the new, soon-to-be office/retail/eyesore of a building and let him hurl away. I know we’d both feel much better.

I’ll see you ’round town.

  • Cindi Anderson

    I love this! I have lived in this community since 1953 and grew up with Dominick’s. It was on my walk home from CVHS in the early 60s and a good stop for a pizza snack. Eventually I took my kids there, we always sat in the booth back by the kitchen window where we would get a great pizza dough throwing show. My kids grew up and went there with their friends, my son-in-law threw my daughter a surprise 30th birthday party there and then they took their kids there for a short while. And what a perfect “baptism” for the “eyesore of a building” on Foothill! Who indeed in city government approved this thing? The community banded together and stopped the building of several hundred homes up the side of the Verdugo Hills. What happened here? Sometimes bigger is not better.

  • Tomer Gurantz

    Really, Jim. Bike racks are your “what”?

    As one of the cyclists who lives in Glendale, and rides pretty consistently (multiple times per week) to various businesses in Montrose and Flintridge, where I spend my money on lunch, coffee, supplies, movies, etc., I very much appreciate what has been done in La Cresenta as far as bike racks, as I use them constantly. They also prevent cyclists frm being annoying and parking on handicap access ramps and parking poles that otherwise gets in the way of others (don’t you appreciate that we have a place to put our bikes?)

    Additionally, although the cycling commuter community (not recreational cyclists, which is another game entirely) is still fairly fledgling in this area, it is starting to increase, and these encouragements (which should have been part of city planning from the onset) are key in continuing that trend.

    I agree that bike racks are mostly sitting empty. That said, I see more and more average-joe and average-jane cyclists, riding and parked, than I have in prior years.

    I thank you in advance for your future support in transforming our city for the better.