Memories of Keenan Avenue in East LA

This place matters.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell
2 min readMar 12, 2022
Chronis Famous Sandwich Shop in East LA on May 18, 2017. [Photo by author]

Mike The PoeT Sonksen was a guest speaker in my Advocacy Planning course at Cal Poly Pomona. He led a writing exercise on the power of place. I wrote this impromptu.

When I was little, I spent most of my days at my Nana’s house on Keenan Avenue in East LA. There was only one other kid on the block but he came only on weekends. His name was Christiàn. He only spoke Spanish. I only spoke English. So we played together with less linguistic language and more body language.

I was lonely, but as an only child I was used to it. You could always find me solo at the corner where still to this day is the legendary Chronis hot dog stand. I ate there a lot with Nana. But I also played there a lot too. Solo.

The Chronis parking lot was my open field. The side of the building was my handball court. I dodged cars on Keenan when my ball got away.

This place brought me joy and a feeling of safety. The smell of chili dogs. The friendly workers who never shoo’ed me away. The proximity of only three doors from Nana’s front facing unit in the triplex . . . .

When I think of this place, Chronis, Keenan Avenue, East LA, childhood, I wish the same wonderful memories for all even if it meant you were alone as a kid.

This post originally appeared on my Instagram on March 9, 2022.



Jonathan Pacheco Bell

Creator of Embedded Planning Praxis | Writing about urban planning, public space, and cities | Find me at: + @c1typlann3r |