Minutes before I sat down for a cup of coffee with Tony Tracy, he was raging to passers-by on Figueroa Street about the dismantling of his town.
There is no secret that gentrification is hitting all areas of Los Angeles. For some, change is good, but for others it can be difficult, uncomfortable and in this case, rageful.
German-Irish American Tony Tracy grew up in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and has not taken the change well. “Don’t fucken get me wrong here, it’s not the people I dislike, for as long I can remember, Highland Park has had a great mix of cultures. I’ve had Irish friends, Japanese friends, Jewish friends, Black friends and Mexican friends. It’s the system I dislike. They’re selling us a story. Now you tell me how the hell are people paying $3 for a medium cup of coffee!? Back in 68′ I use to pay 40 cents, even with inflation it shouldn’t cost you 3 bricks. Well I’ll tell you how, their laundering a story and selling it to the people hot off the pot I tell ya’!”
Mr.Tracy attended nearby Franklin High School, fought in Vietnam and entered the manufacturing business. He built dragsters, funny cars, muscle cars and sold boats for a period. ” I fought in “Nam” and that was another seasoned story, what a waste that was, I don’t like talking about it, so I’ll move on! All these knuckle heads are raising rent prices here and I’m not liking it one bit. My Pall Malls are busting up my wallet, but that’s my fault. I’m from a generation of true blue collar work. Today, people’s pants are falling off, they’re not wearing the proper belt buckles. Shit’s presented a certain way, everyone and everything is so delicate and that jacks up prices. All the old faces are gone and I’m still here taking in all this crap, it’s unreal. You’re a good man, but I’m going to think about my daughter and light up, so I’m going to ask you to please leave.”
Los Angeles and America has changed since Tony’s heydays. A person wearing a good belt buckle today, will tell the next generation the same thing while having a $10 cup of coffee.
Los Angeles stories through an alternative lens.
Angeleno Heart was started with the thought of capturing pictures and telling a story.
“Los Angeles has so many untold stories. I set out to hunt and capture them one at a time. I was born and raised in L.A, and it’s a city that in my eyes will be better understood; once you read these little packaged stories that make up this great city. I hope you enjoy them.”
– Henry Lara, Founder/ Writer of Angeleno Heart