Heard on the street: 'Little' Santa Monica speaks

Little Santa Monica Boulevard. LAO.

Like others, I have been following local media reports that the city of Beverly Hills is considering changing the name of South Santa Monica Boulevard (more casually known as Little Santa Monica.) In light of this news, I scooped a conversation between Little Santa Monica and Big Santa Monica one night while the city slept. A transcript follows.

Little Santa Monica: Psst. Hey, Big Bro...

Big Santa Monica: (Woken from his slumber): What is it, squirt?

LSM: Someone dropped a newspaper on my curb. Seems some merchants are talking about changing my name.

BSM: (Chuckles) Well, you always did have an identity crisis. I heard some chatter about that too. What do they want to change it to?

LSM: Burton Way.

BSM: Burton Way? We already have a Burton Way. It starts where you end. It's got a nice green median. Courthouses. A synagogue. L'Ermitage Hotel. You have bagel stores. No offense, but you've always looked like a glorified alleyway that aspires to be a street. Even Century City didn't know what to do with you, so they just merged you into me for those few blocks where I brush by its office buildings and the Westfield mall.

LSM: I know that, and I appreciate your taking me in. But I do have my supporters. People call me quaint.

BSM: One of your landlords called you "really demeaning."

LSM: What did I ever do to him?

BSM: It's what you do to everybody. You create confusion. People don't know if you're part of me or your own thing. Are you Little Santa Monica? South Santa Monica? Santa Monica Boulevard squared?

LSM: I just don't see why I can't just go on being in a metropolis where there are two San Vicente Boulevards, a Beverly Boulevard and Beverly Drive, even a Via Rodeo to go along with Rodeo Drive. And why does Beverwil get a pass? What is a Beverwil anyway? Can't they at least look into changing his name first?

BSM: (Scoffs) He's south of Wilshire, no one cares about him.

LSM: Maybe if the city tried a little harder there'd be less confusion. Check out our street signs, bro. Mine's a little white one that says: S. Santa Monica. How about putting up some large signage on the traffic lights that screams LITTLE SANTA MONICA, just like Los Angeles does with those big reflective blue signs?

BSM: So now you want to make your deficiencies big enough for the whole world to see?

LSM: But that's just it! I'm proud to be "Little." I'm one of the last vestiges of old-time Beverly Hills. Remember when there used to be a Wonder Bread factory just a block away from you?

BSM: Mmmm... I can still remember waking up to the smell of baking white bread.

LSM: I used to have two books stores - Doubleday and Hunter's.

BSM: What are book stores?

LSM: Never mind. I believe they're now banned from city limits. Hey, remember those train tracks that ran between us? Blowing its horn at the preschool on the corner you share with Rodeo Drive?

BSM: (Laughs) The kids would wave to the engineer from their jungle gym.

LSM: (Wistful) Things sure were different then.

BSM: You always were the sentimental one. Times change, short stuff. We've got a big Center for the Performing Arts going up between us soon. Today, it's all about culture and commerce. Beverly Hills is a world-class city, all growed up. Sorry, bro, I can't support you on this one. There's no room for the little guys. Just look at Mom
LSM: (Suspicious) What about Santa Monica? What does she have to do with this?

BSM: Mom figured out that quaint doesn't cut it. She sold herself out a long time ago, and now she's one of the most prosperous cities on the Westside.

LSM: (Quietly) Well, I'm sticking with quaint. Tell Mom that Aunt Beverly Hills needs me more than ever.

BSM: I'll do that next time I bump into her at the beach. (Shrugs) Sorry you stop at Sepulveda or I'd take you with me.

Paul Haddad is an author who grew up in the Beverly Hills 90210 zip code. He went to preschool at First Presbyterian Church on Rodeo Drive and "Big" Santa Monica. He previously advocated at LA Observed for the Vin Scully bobblehead doll to have a voice.

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