Time Essay: Where the Auto Reigns Supreme

THE tourists come off the plane and shoot around Los Angeles like camphor boats in a bathtub, trying to locate the downtown so that they can taste the drama of the big city, just the way they would back in Cleveland or Chicago or New York. At dusk they position themselves in the shadow of the city's tallest, busiest building and are simultaneously bee-swarmed by the swish of traffic, smell of bagels, whistles of cops and honking of cabs while they wait to feel the electricity of the place coming right through their shoe...

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