My name is Alex Rodriquez, I've been a business owner for over nine years. I run a lifestyle shop that caters to skateboarders and street artists.
One of the interesting things about Cypress Park is that it's a small pocket located northeast of downtown LA. Its somewhat stuck in transition. There hasn't been a lot of development that has occurred in this area for I'm guessing well over fifty years. I do see some gentrification occurring, but slowly.
I've seen a lot of young kids come out of their shell when they start skating and they become more social meeting other young skaters. As well as being an activity that keeps them out of participating in other things, such as gangs and drugs and things like that.
I definitely service an underserved fraction of this community. There isn't a lot of businesses that cater to the youth, there aren't that many programs that cater to after school activities and there aren't enough people to supervise the youth. I understand that they're the responsibility of the parents, but to borrow from an old African proverb, it takes a village... Without the vigilance of the whole community, it's very hard to steer the youth in the right direction. And I see it as a member of the community, I'm not necessarily responsible for the young kid, but at the same time I am, whether I'm an ear that listens or you know someone that just gives some helping advice. I am the very fabric of this community.
The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:
Northeast Los Angeles