McConnor's Corner
Saturday On The "Fax"
By Sean McConnor
Sep 1, 2002 - 6:35:00 PM

Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
LOS ANGELES —There's a new place to visit and hang out, it's called the Grove and it's right down the hill from you. That's correct. It's located at 3rd & Fairfax near such venerable spots as Fairfax Avenue (Canter's and Dupar's). This mixture of old and new is worth checking out if you want to explore L.A.'s past and future.

First stop on your itinerary should be Fairfax Avenue. Parking is limited, so be prepared. The meters on the street only allow two hours max. There's a public lot one-half block north of Canter's which has the same type of meters, but has easy access. Don't even think about parking in the nearby residential neighborhood. The manner in which the cars are densely parked would make a New Yorker proud.

Parking done, you are ready to stroll down the street. I must warn you that the lady ain't what she used to be. Pico Boulevard on the westside has taken some of the business away. There are stores vacant with their windows waxed or covered over with butcher paper. Thrift shops abound offering hard to get items for the adventurous shopper.
There still remain the traditional produce stores offering the good veggies and fruit that Fairfax has been known to sell. Thank the gods that something good remains.

The anchor of the hood is still Canter's which gives the hungry reason to believe there is a Heaven. With its 1950's deco and efficient servers, who still believe in service, you get 1950's portions of food. You want breakfast? You get breakfast! Thanks to Canter's, too, for their 24/7 hours. If you are clubbing in We Ho or on the Strip, you can come home to mama at Canter's for a late night or early morning snack.

Getting back on track, hop in the old car and head south on Fairfax past CBC TV City. It's nice to know that So Cal is still in the movie business. On a weekday, you will see the tourists lined up outside to go to the game shows.

Make a left on 6th street from Fairfax and make a right on Stanley. You are headed for the Grove parking. Go all the way down Stanley to almost the end and you will find the Grove parking structure. Go a little further and you will find the entrance to the Grove and valet parking.

Welcome to the Grove! It is L.A.'s newest shopping place to be. Move over Beverly Center and Rodeo Drive, the Grove has arrived. For a second when I entered, I thought I had entered Main Street at Disneyland complete with trolley tracks. I came upon a contained shopping district filled with quaint stores and clean streets. Everything is smaller to scale than the malls, but, heck, it is okay. This is Main Street America.

Nordstrom is the anchor store at one end of the street and farther on down there is a FAO Schwarz Toy Store for the kids. The toy store isn't as big as its NY main store, but it has enough in stuff to cause a child to go into a frenzy. Of particular interest was the piano keyboard on the floor. A small lad was bouncing from one key to another and playing a good tune. Now, why haven't piano teachers thought of this?

Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
I was getting antsy for the good old Farmer's Market. No problem. The trolley arrived just outside Nordstrom near the valet parking to pick-up and drop-off shoppers. There is no charge to get on the cable car and off you go to the Market. On the way, you view the numerous other chains stores such as J. Crew, Banana Republic and so on. A number of eateries have opened, too, but I was headed for the mother of them all.

The trolley lets you off right at the entrance to Farmer's Market and the parking lot. This was the place I had visited all my life and it was nice to know that some things never change. There are concessions for every kind of food imaginable and like their counterparts on Fairfax they are not skimpy on portions. How about a serving of lasagna the size of a brick? Don't come to this place full. Come hungry and get your money's worth.

Elsewhere at the Market, construction is still going on where the shops used to be on the north side. It doesn't impede your visit. Also, the Market now has a Johnnie Rocket's and Starbuck's for the trendy.

If you want to park at the Market instead of the Grove, you can enter from Fairfax. It's not cheap. The max amount is $12 with a validation. It's twenty without one, so get that paper stamped. The money you save can be spent eating, shopping and dreaming.

That's what happened to me while at Nordstrom. The piano man was playing, just like in the movies, and I discovered that a beautiful, blonde lady was staring at me after I chatted with a few friends I ran into. She was too finely dressed to be security and, for a moment, made a perfect Saturday tour even more so.

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