How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Need a last-minute pink teddy bear? Try one of L.A.'s curbside cupids

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011


Ever wonder who the people are who camp out with their displays on the curb, selling flowers and stuffed animals late into the evening every Valentine's Day? A couple of them tell their stories in this piece from last year, which I'm reposting as I hit the road to buy my own last-minute gifts:

Just before Valentine’s Day each year, a small army of immigrant entrepreneurs stakes out street corners, freeway off-ramps, tables outside established businesses or just busy stretches of sidewalk, spreading out small loads of romance-themed gifts for sale.

You’ve seen these guys – they’re the ones waiting for you to drive up and claim that pink teddy bear holding the red embroidered heart that reads “I (Heart) U,” wrapped in crisp cellophane.

Who are they, and how do they get hold of so many pink bears to sell anyway? Yesterday, I met up with Gustavo Angel, 28, one of Los Angeles’ diligent curbside Valentine vendors, who was working the intersection of Sunset and Echo Park boulevards.

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