Growing up in Los Angeles was an exceptional experience. I didn’t realize it at the time, in fact, I ran from it as fast as I could. Looking back on it now, I realize that most of that running was due to my teenage yearning for freedom from my parents’ control and need to explore. Now that I have been transplanted three-thousand miles away, in a town lacking the same energy and vibrance as the City of Angels. Now I yearn to return to my city.
Anyway, the City of Los Angeles encompasses multiple different districts from the hustle and bustle of downtown, to the glamor of Brentwood and Beverly Hills, to the bluffs of Malibu, and the San Fernando Valley. Separating the glitz of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Los Angeles that all non-Angelinos dream about from The Valley are the Santa Monica Mountains. The mountains themselves are rather pedestrian, covered in shrubs and wild grass and houses. But the real beauty is a stretch of tarmac running along the ridge line called Mulholland Drive. This is what it looks like in the daytime:
It doesn’t look like much, but stretching from the Hollywood Freeway to Sepulveda Boulevard, it offers the car enthusiast one of the best driving experiences in the world. As it winds its way through the hills, bordered by precipitous drops down the hillside, it provides breathtaking vistas for anyone truly interested in gazing upon the fair city below.
As with most things in life, Mulholland Drive isn’t perfect. You see, those nasty rumors about the gridlock of Los Angeles traffic just so happen to be true and seeing as this masterfully sculpted lane is situated between major thoroughfares between both sides of the city, it is nearly always blocked with a multitude of cars during the daytime. Which left my teenage self and my compadres with a dilemma. We fancied ourselves automotive aficionados; living for the thrill of a quarter mile, the ecstasy of a proper canyon run, and that most allusive of highs: speed. Velocity. Quickness. Rapidity. It didn’t matter what you called it, we chased it, like an addict chases after his next fix. We were young and very foolish, and nearly paid the price for it quite a few times. And one of our favorite places to bathe ourselves in the siren song of screeching tires was Mulholland Drive. But what ever were we to do in order to combat the evil that was rush hour traffic?
Being the inventive young lads that we were, we surmised that we would simply drive Mulholland when the traffic was not there: nighttime. We congratulated ourselves on our brilliance and set out the next available evening. We were young and invincible, and showed utter contempt for the darkness that had encircled our road of choice. But that evening, and all evenings after that, our chutzpah was rewarded by our city, with views like these:
Our city was beautiful from above. It amazed us, and provided the perfect backdrop as we carved out corners in the Hollywood Hills. And to this day, the nighttime view from Mulholland Drive is one of the things I long to see again most. It is how I remember the City of Angels, the city of my childhood.
Los Angeles will forever hold captive a special place in my heart. It’s diverse culture and life will always beckon me. It is such a wonderful city. It is my city.