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The Streamliner
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» 19 ) Fund (Cedd Moses, Eric Needle- man and Mark Verge, whose own Los Angeles roots also run deep).
Pratt makes a point of walking the station grounds every day, taking in the beauty and rebirth of the Gateway to Los Angeles. His dreams are not just of the past but of the future as well. Eight thousand people travel through the sta- tion daily now, and that’s only expected to grow. With the upcoming Olympics and Metro Rail to LAX, in five years, it’s projected to be 200,000.
And yet stories of the past still make him choke up.
“One day I’m walking by the huge glass doors that lead into the Fred Harvey. There was this very elderly gentleman pressed up against the glass with his hands cupped, and he’s bent over looking in,” Pratt recalls.
“To the right of him was his very el- derly wife, to the right of her their elderly children. Then the adult grandchildren and a slew of great-grandchildren.
“So I walked up as this guy was peering through the glass and asked, ‘Hey, have you ever been in there?’
“He stood up, looked at me and said, ‘I had a beer in there in ’42.’ So I said, ‘Would you like to go inside?’ He says, ‘Damn right, I would.’
“So this 90-year-old man stepped back as I got my key out to open the door. This old enlisted Marine from Iowa steps back, squares up — a good 50 or 60 years dropped off that guy — and strode in when I opened the door with his entou- rage. He marveled and looked around and talked about sitting over there. He talked about the guys who came with him on the enlisted troop train from upstate New York, through Ohio and Michigan. A kid from Florida, a guy from Kentucky.
“ ‘Yeah, I was a Marine going down to Pendleton for training and some of the other guys were going up to Hunter Liggett, other guys were going to the
north islands for the navy,’ the old man reminisced. He talked about going to the Pacific, his adventures there, the guys who made it back and the guys who didn’t.
“He said, ‘When we all got here it was winter and it was so warm. For guys from upstate New York and Iowa, it was blissful. It was warm, it was sunny, there were palm trees and every one of us said, we’re coming back.’ ”
It struck Pratt like a ton of bricks — that was the story of Los Angeles.
The migration started after the war and resulted in the population of the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the Westside, South Bay, Central Los Angeles down into Orange County. No longer fearing the Wild West, visitors back east telling stories of palm trees and perfect weather and everybody wanted to come to California by the droves.
That started the explosion and economic tidal wave that developed into Southern California.
And thanks to Moses and his passion- ate team at 213 Hospitality, there will be plenty of future stories of Los Angeles as well, as more commuters are leaving the car at home and choosing to travel to Orange County, San Diego and Santa Barbara by rail with Union Station as their hub.
“I’m an Angeleno and I love this city,”
Moses says. “I’m all in on this city and
I’ve invested my life savings in helping
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bring back downtown and making it
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great again. I love the soul of this city. I get offended when people make claims
that Los Angeles is superficial. I take that personally. We are a city with layers of soul and history and full of people who are committed to making it a great city in all the years to come.”
Imperial Western Beer Co. and the Streamliner bar, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; (213) 270-0035, imperial western.com, thestreamlinerbar.com.
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LA WEEKLY | November 9 - 15, 2018 | WWW.LAWEEKLY.com
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