Monday, September 1, 2008

Big Sister

Today is Theme Day for those of us participating in the City Daily Photo blogging community. Today's theme? Sister Cities. South Pasadena does not have an officially designated sister city. How could it? Everyone around here knows South Pas is the little sister of neighboring Pasadena – with big, all-encompassing Los Angeles our (sometimes overbearing) mom.

Poor South Pasadena. People who don’t live in the LA area often assume that South Pas just means the southern part of Pasadena. Here’s a conversation I’ve had a lot recently:

Friend: “So, where did you move?”
Me: “South Pasadena.”
Friend: “Oh! I love Pasadena!”

Talk about living in the shadow of a big sister. South Pasadena is quaint and small-time … Pasadena is flash and big city. South Pasadena has exactly two bars that serve hard liquor. Pasadena has all of Old Town, plus any number of nightclubs in other parts of the city. South Pas has a high school football rivalry with neighboring San Marino. Pasadena has the Rose Bowl! When South Pas residents go to the hospital, it’s usually at Huntington Memorial in – you guessed it – Pasadena. Pasadena will be where my daughter sneaks off with her friends when she's a teenager because there's just nothing to do at home. There is one place where little sis South Pas seems to best Pasadena: we have one of the best school systems in the entire state. (Then again, I was the bookish one in my family, too…)

Here’s a picture from Pasadena’s Old Town, driving west on Colorado shortly after sunset. It’s nice to know it's just a short drive away. (You never want to be too far away from your big sister…)

For the best insider views of Pasadena, check out Daily Pasadena Photo and the sky is big in Pasadena – two great blogs and the inspiration for me to start this one.

The City Daily Photo community has some interesting images from sister cities around our diverse and wonderful world.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Anonymous said...

Laurie, nice colorful pic, as usual....
Thanks for putting us in color & giving us a Hollywood image.

You're so right as usual, L. You poor guys south of the border just can't compete. btw, Pasadena was recently named for having The Best downtown for its size in California.

Hey, besides yourself, has anyone down there heard of the internet yet?

But, I'll concede something to you southerners: it has one of my close friends...and it has You!!

Jilly said...

Great choice for today and an excellent way of explaining that South Pasadena is not the south of Pasadena.

Nice pic too. Happy Theme Day!

Julie said...

Shame they did not choose a totally different name - or is it?

Good explanbtion of the syncronicity.

Kim said...

Laurie, your photo (and writing) is a sweet tribute to Big Sis. I love the shot and the light it shows from that beautiful time of day. Some of us in my high school hiking club used to stop at a coffee shop on Colorado called the Salt Shaker on the way home from frequent treks in the San Gabriel's. And, if we missed the right freeway later, perhaps it was SP we ended up getting lost in. I'm glad to know of the good quality of SP's school system. But, just looking at Pasadena's city hall would give ANY other city an inferiority complex. Big Sis is indeed big time. (We used to call it where LA's "old money" lived. :-)

Sally said...

And you've been very patient in the past explaining it all to me!

Sydney Daily Photo

Jutilda said...

Often times when an image speaks to me, I comment prior to reading your interpretation. This is definitely the case. As I viewed the large version, what immediately popped out at me was "LOANS" on the neon sign of the building to the right. Amidst rising gas prices, which fuel all of the cars with their lights at twilight, there are probably people who need to borrow money just to fill their tanks and go on about their daily lives. Yet the sun still rises and sets, and the lights of their vehicles keep coming on and off. They create a beautiful glow about the evening, giving our eyes a quick glimpse of brightness, diverting our attention from troubles if for only a brief moment.

WOW - amazing how a shot can bring out such an emotional response. Keep it up, girl.

Hilda said...

Have I told you that I love reading your blog? I guess there's a reason why you're a writer, no? ;)

CDP has taught me much about not making assumptions about cities, countries and cultures. Thank you for the explanation though. I think I'd rather live in South Pasadena too. You get the best of both worlds, it seems. Peace and quiet when you want it (and the good educational system!) yet fun and excitement is just a short drive away.

Mister Earl said...

When I was a kid, the idea of a sister city was kind of neat. It was a city somewhere else in the world that had so much in common with your own city that they truly were sisters. Now, it's become a marketing thing. Los Angeles has no less that 25 sister cities. Come on!

Yes, Laurie, I have to explain that South Pasadena is its own city quite often as well. Folks from the Bay Area immediately understand when I compare it to South San Francisco "The Industrial City", which everyone knows is not part of San Francisco.

Virginia said...

Great photo today. I just love the colors etc. Your explanation was spot on as always. I think South Pas sounds like a great place to raise a family. Congrats on your great school system.

Mister Earl said...

Interesting, Laurie, that you would stray from the bounds of South Pasadena in today's photo. My new avatar was shot right there too.

About the LOANS sign. Back when I moved to South Pasadena in the early 80s, there was no Old Town Pasadena. There was just a Skid Row area with a lot of aging buildings, several bars, a few funky eateries, and several pawn shops. Not a place you'd ever want to go at night.

In the mid-80s some smart fellows began to turn Old Town into the trendy happening place it is today. But a couple remnants of Old Town's Skid Row past remain, the pawn shop with the LOANS sign, and Le Sex Shoppe 45 E Colorado.

And of course, the Little Old Lady from Pasadena, who still cruises by from time to time in her super-stock Dodge.

babooshka said...

Again, I take my hat off to your on an excellent post. My gosh you can write. It's always great to come aways froma a post affected, this time educated about Pasedena little and big sister.

Trish said...

Oh the woe of SoPas!

I feel your pain. Hailing from the great town of SoPas, I continue to fight this battle. It is often I STILL have to explain to folks that SoPas is not a cute little subset haven of Pasadena.

An interesting note I have heard is that two options for names were Bajadena and San Pascual. I am not sure Bajadena would have made our plight any easier. San Pascual probably would have allied us with San Marino. I think we were toast from the outset.

Years ago, there was a bowling alley---across from HiLife burgers now, along with one of the original Pronto markets---you might know them better as Trader Joes.

Bars? I am struggling to remember what locations you are speaking of in SoPas. Barkleys? And, whatever the latest name of the restaurant/bar across from the War Memorial Building that has been a few million things in *my* lifetime. Notice, the bars are near the edge of town? Now those are some "hip" sure your daughter will flock there, as I didn't when I came of age. ;-)

Then again, taking the drinking out of SoPas cuts down on police costs.

I would take SoPas over any big city anyday. Period. A place you can let your kids play, participate in activities, be included and have an excellent education.

Cool pic. Yes, traffic and loan/sex shops, but compared to what that intersection looked like 25-40 years ago, it is thriving. I used to transfer bus there---and I just avoided eye contact with anyone or speaking with anyone. These days, people walk freely at all hours of the day and night. Glad the guys took a chance to upgrade the area. Am sure the City of Pasadena appreciates it as well---the income is huge compared to before the upgrade. When the best place "to hang" was at the mall.

Kelly said...

I love reading your posts! This one was really well-done!

Knoxville Girl said...

Your photo reminds me of a scene from "American Graffiti". And I very much enjoyed your essay on the familial entanglements of South Pasadena.

USelaine said...

Oh, now you've sent me off in a naming reverie. Stop! I get into these things too easily, and I have Stuff to Do!

Just call it Karen or Steve.

Dixie Jane said...

I love your photo and all of the commotion amongst the pretty Easter egg colors. I even appreciate the pawn shop as much as I unappreciate the gas prices. I'm glad you live in the "Little Sister City". Everyone needs a big sister. Today is my little sister's birthday. She used to live in your "Big Sister City." Did everyone understand what I just said?

ben wideman said...

Laurie, great photo and thanks so much for the link to my site!

-K- said...

I think Schrödinger would say South Pasadena is entangled with Pasadena.

(Guess where I learned this?)

Petrea said...

Laurie, thanks for linking up today.

Your analogy is apt. Funny to think of Pasadena as a big city in comparison to South Pas. The way you describe your town (quiet, safe, homey) is how I feel about Pasadena. Who wouldn't, after doing time in Hollywood, North Hollywood and Van Nuys? It's all relative. South Pasadena is a sweet soCal spot.

We love our towns. That's why we blog about them. Well, it's one reason anyway.

Laurie said...

Hi there blog buddies,

I hope everyone had a chance to check out the rest of the City Daily Photo bloggers contributions to Theme Day. What a trek around the globe!

Trish -- Bajedena? Seriously? I'm so glad they passed on what sounds to me like an unfortunate pathogen of some kind. Elaine, you crack me up. Reminds me of a joke my sister Judy and I have where we name everything Cindy.

K -- nice to see you back!

Kim, I remember the old Salt Shaker! I used to go there when I came out here with my family to visit relatives as a young girl.

Petrea, I agree that in comparison to Los Angeles, Pasadena does feel small. In the 20 years I've been in the area, I've lived in Hollywood, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles and Palms. But look at me -- after 8 months in South Pas, I think Pasadena is the Big Time!

I appreciate all of the thoughtful commentary and incredibly kind words. Judy, you picked up on the Loans sign. I wanted that in the image because it seems so much more big city than any other sign. Thanks for noticing!

Mister Earl, I came to LA in 88 and even then Old Town was in the process of turning into what it is now. At the time, I was concerned that it would be too corporate and lose its historic feel. I'm so glad that it turned out the way it did.

Thanks, everyone!

Hyde DP said...

Great post and I've enjoyed reading all the comments too though I've not much to add.

dcs said...

Interesting counterpointing of the two "Pases," informative and, as always, niftily written.

Petrea said...

Laurie, I arrived in 88 also. Came from Chicago. You?

Anonymous said...

Secret reader of your blog for months now but had to comment on your comparisons of So Pas vs. Pasadena. I loved what you had to say. Actually there is no comparison, South Pasadena rules!! I grew up in Pasadena, lived there for 20+ years. I have now lived in So Pas for the past 15 years. As a parent, you just simply can't find a better city in L.A. to live. I just have to add....when we bought our house in So Pas 9 years ago...the lady at the Escrow office had written "Pasadena, Calif" on the official closing documents and I told her there was a mistake and she needed to change it to "South Pasadena". She got mad at me and said it was the same thing. Oh no it isn't I need to go and change that to South Pasadena, otherwise I am not signing these papers.


Laurie said...

Hyde dp, welcome back!

HI Don! Thanks. It's great to see you here.

Anon, well hello lurker! It's a pleasure to have you here. INteresting about the escrow woman not knowing the difference. You think it would have made a difference for property taxes? :-)

Petrea, I hail from Austin, Texas, girlfriend! Chicago is one of my favorite cities. I spent some time there in 83 when my boyfriend at the time was attending Northwestern. I actually saw Katherine Hepburn perform in West Side Waltz at (I think) The Shubert. What a cool town.