STORY MATT WAKAMOTO & OONA FOLEY
PHOTOGRAPHS THOMAS FORMAN
Since the turn of the century, the cost of living in Echo Park has risen parallel to the sharp increase in “niche” boutiques and vegan bistros. Nestled between one of said bistros and an energetically hip bookstore is the Time Travel Mart. Sunset Boulevard’s “convenience store for time travelers” claims to provide the time-traveling essentials for every era. After doing some light research, Oona Foley, Thomas Foreman, Cole Cahill and I went to investigate this strange location.
The shop boasts a large time travel themed inventory be-
hind its glass storefront, featuring items like Fresh Dino-
saur Eggs and futuristic bottles of “Robot Milk.” Some of my
favorite oddities included canned Mammoth Chunks and Time Travel Sickness Pills. While the layout of the store felt traditional, the strange assortment of items from the past and future made me feel like I was spinning between different realities.
The store’s prices reflected the influx of wealthy young people in the area, with a can of Wallace’s Primordial Soup selling for four dollars, and the bottle of Time Travel Sick- ness pills priced at nine. Despite the unreasonable pricing, I decided to blow seven dollars on a package of Mint Chip astronaut ice cream, which Cahill and I quickly devoured.
While checking out, I became excessively distracted by the cashier’s untamed beard and fingerless gloves. His steely glare and seedy black eyes pleaded me to donate to the 826LA organization, a non-profit organization that holds writing workshops in the Mart’s back room. I complied, sheepishly handing over another three dollars.
The store definitely served its purpose as a Time Travel Mart. I realized as I walked down Sunset Boulevard that my time inside the quiet confines of the store had left me badly unprepared to enter the noisy outside world. Nevertheless, I forced myself to make the rough transition from time warp to reality. After quickly stopping in at Stories, the neighbor-ing book store, we walked up the block to eat.
We quickly found our way to The Brite Spot, a popular brunch location for the new wave of Echo Park residents. The excessive decor made it apparent that the restaurant had once been a harmless “mom n’ pop” diner, but was renovated to match the change in local climate. We carefully avoided ordering exotic grains and other Echo Park staples, instead opting for appropriately priced breakfast foods.
Our journey concluded with a short trip up the 110, which was littered with choppy conversations and wholesome bonding. The lively Echo Park was a dramatic change of scenery in contrast to South Pasadena. For this reason, the trip really lightened up what would have been an average sullen Sunday.