Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Keeping it real

One of the many things I love about Hermosa Beach is a faintly scruffy, surfy vibe. I like to kid myself it's a little more real than neighbouring Manhattan Beach - with its pristine boutiques and bankers driving Teslas.

Painting a town where real estate costs $1k a square foot and we have an IV hydration clinic across from the library as 'keeping it real' might be a bit of a stretch. Still, there are enough barefoot surfers walking from the beach, and tattooed punk kids skateboarding along the Strand, and cottages with peeling paint and massive collections of tchotchkes on their front patio, to allow me to delude myself. I'm not the only one. Hermosa is frequently described as a 'sleepy beach town' in press.

Meanwhile, gentrification marches on, relentlessly. Pier Plaza, which mainly exists for drinking purposes, is going upscale. A new hotel is going to be built here soon which will be quite swanky, in a very beachy way of course. A crappy souvenir shop was replaced by a hipster coffee shop (which failed - gentrification too soon?) and is now a nice looking poke shop, and our favorite coffee shop which was always beset with pigeons and a little tired looking has had a facelift.
New poke shop: cleaner and fresher than some of Pier Plaza's occupants

But is it all getting a little anodyne? The plaza remodel involves some totally generic white planks in the so-called coastal chic style you see everywhere.
Also cleaner and fresher: our favorite coffee shop on the pier
It does seem that our City elders are doing their best to retain a little Hermosa spirit. Punk and surf-themed graphics pepper the improvements.

Punk surfers

I think as long as Scottys retains the same paint job its had since the 1950s, Yer Cheating Heart tattoos and Sharkeez bar are still in business, and there are tattooed skateboards in knee socks and bikinis cruising the pier, the scruffy heart of Hermosa is still beating.
The unimproved (unimprovable?) side of Pier Plaza

Prime beach real estate and also the tattiest breakfast place in town
All (soul / scruff) is not lost

Nothing says Hermosa like a tattooed skateboarder in bikini and knee socks

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