Melrose exemplifies the difference between Los Angeles locals and
This dichotomy is defined by two things: long lines and the color pink. On Melrose, these are both famous and infamous.
Ever since I was a little girl my dad has had one rule: if there is no line at Pink’s Hot Dogs, you must get a Pink’s hot dog. This rule is very specific, no line means NO line. No one paying, no one out front looking at the menu. If you are not familiar with Pink’s, this strict rule may seem strange. Pink’s Hot Dogs is a true Hollywood landmark with a history as rich as the celebrities of whom they have photos on their wall. Starting as a tiny hot dog stand in 1939, Pink’s has become a storefront just off the corner of La Brea and Melrose that sells over 2,000 hot dogs a day and absolutely ALWAYS has a line.
Of course, the other line on Melrose is for the other pink thing. The pink fucking wall. You know the one. If you don’t you’ll see on google that it has become its own thing apart from the Paul Smith store that the wall literally exists on. The pink wall (which I will intentionally not capitalize as I refuse to give it the power of a proper-noun) is where influencers and tourists meet to wait 20 minutes for their turn to take a picture in front of. My eyes roll everytime I walk by it, and I can only imagine the disgust on my face as I photobombed a picture to get into Paul Smith last holiday season to pick up cufflinks for my boss. I know that I sound pretentious here, and if I have offended your pink wall filled instagram feed I offer my dearest apologies. The fact is, I hate the damn pink wall. It is a by-product of my home’s gentrification and influencer obsession.
Melrose is home to two pink walls with lines that define them.
It speaks to how different life in LA can be. In truth, its fairly LA localist to refuse to wait in lines all together. Maybe that’s what my dad instilled in me from a young age. But Melrose, its lines, and it’s pink-ness means much more than just expat vs native, influencer vs insider.
For me, there is truly nothing more exciting than seeing zero line at Pink’s. The few times in my life that this has happened are some of my most treasured memories. I recall once trying one of their super-special celebrity inspired dogs, “The Patt Morrison.” Named after the Los Angeles journalist who holds two Pulitzer prizes and my greatest admiration, it was a veggie dog (before Beyond meat) with a scoop of guacamole on top. Admittedly, the dog itself was pretty gross, but this experience spoke to my love of this special moment in the city and those who keep it alive. Like Patt herself, Pink’s Hot Dogs has created Los Angeles culture in so many ways. The over-the-top, stuck-in-the-80’s theme of the restaurant is authentic. In a street of hype beasts, fake breasts, and facetuned photos, Pink’s defines the real LA.
So no, I will not wait in line on Melrose for the pink wall, for the newest sneaker drop, or for Verve Coffee with the rest of the tech crowd dressed in all black. And frankly (see what I did there), I won’t wait in line for Pink’s either. But knowing the Pink’s always has a line is comforting. It’s location symbolizes the start of the magnificent Melrose Ave to many, and the line shows that a local legend can survive any trend. When I think of Pink’s, I’m transported to being a little girl and sharing a hot dog with my father, ecstatic that we were the special two that caught it in it’s ever so rare line-lesness. The only pictures in the equation were that of local Los Angeles legends, of whom I both literally and figuratively could look up to as I enjoyed my dog. No phone cameras, no instagram, no influencer’s of this sort. Just hot dogs, pink walls, and family. That is what Melrose is to me. That’s what it always will be.