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.