Remembering City Landmarks

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By Steve Varalyay

I attended Long Beach State and spent considerable time in both the Los Altos and Belmont Shores neighborhoods in the early Seventies. However, my first recollections of Long Beach began in the downtown area a decade earlier.

In 1962 my dad took my brother and I to the boat show at the Long Beach Arena. He and my uncle built boats and had a couple on display. We stopped at my uncle’s house in San Pedro before taking the ferry (now the Maritime Museum) across the harbor.  I was impressed with the size of the arena and learned something about the city’s history that day. When two Long Beach women met for the first time, one asked the other, “What part of Iowa are you from?”.

Six years later my dad and I went to see a high school basketball game there. This time I was driving and I took the Vincent Thomas and Terminal Island bridges across the harbor. I remember seeing “Re-elect Deukmejian” bumper stickers along with psychedelic ones. The game was memorable, too. Compton beat Aviation en route to an undefeated season and CIF Championship. Future USC and Phoenix Sun star Paul Westphal stole the show, though, by scoring 38 points in a losing cause.

The following year a friend and I debated on whether to go to the Cinnamon Cinder or The Pike. I was driving and wasn’t much into hustling, so the latter won out. We polished off a bottle of Bali Hai in my dad’s ’56 Ford Victoria before walking around. An hour later we went into one of the two tattoo parlors near Pine and scanned the menu of tattoo’s. We both had money and were ready to go for it but lost our nerve.

More recently I have spent considerable time at the Main Library and, until last summer, at Acres of Books. What an apt name for a bookstore — and what a travesty it closed! It was the epitome of a city landmark!


One Response to “Remembering City Landmarks”
  1. Facebook User says:

    These were some great remembrances from a city that I spent a great time visiting from 1957 to 1985. My grandmother lived on Gaviota Ave. It brought back a lot of memories of that area. Thanks! Good Job!