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Reflections on Fairfax

September 3rd, 2009 by Jessika

There’s one Los Angeles landmark that gets little sleep.

Canter’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, open 24-hours, has remained virtually unchanged since it moved to its current location on Fairfax in 1953.

A bakery counter and deli counter on opposite sides greet guests as they walk in. The lobby area is complete with a nostalgic light fixture that has a white ball-like center and spikes that spread out to create a starburst.

Los Angeles does not have many restaurants like this anymore.

The Fairfax District, particularly between Beverly and Rosewood, has many stores that somehow have managed to stand the test of time. Yet, who knows how much longer they can stand.

Since at least the 1940s, the area has been the heart of Los Angeles’ Jewish community. Delis, bakeries and markets lined Fairfax past the famous Farmer’s Market. But now so much of it has changed. Even the Farmer’s Market has had a makeover.

This change is most obvious in the area surrounding Canter’s.

Eilat Bakery, for example, has served the area for over 30 years. With tasty pastries and a variety of breads and cakes to tempt, it’s hard to walk out of the store without salivating let alone buying anything.

Several produce stores also line the street, offering an affordable alternative to supermarkets.

There are Jewish markets and thrift stores. There is even a pharmacy.  Residents within walking distance could get everything they need in a few blocks.

Sprinkled between these bakeries and markets are stores that seem out of place.

A tattoo shop south of Oakwood makes an odd addition to the area. Trendy clothing stores stand down the street from Canter’s.

The economy has also emptied many stores.

Boarded windows and vacant showrooms rival if not exceed the numbers of bakeries and markets.

Perhaps the most telling sign of change is itself a sign, however.

A billboard sitting in the Canter’s parking lot shadows a mural that depicts the original Canter’s Delicatessen and the area.

It’s sad to see an area with so much history and tradition sinking into the shadows. While many shoppers still come to this area, it certainly isn’t what it was.

Now, it’s a reflection of what life used to be and what life could be.

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