In the summer of 1972, photographer Rick McCloskey captured the street scenes of Van Nuys Boulevard in the cruise night. The streets and roads were packed with people and cars from all over Southern California. There were many cruising spots in Los Angeles, but Van Nuys, for some reason or other, got nailed as the street to cruise on, specifically, a 3-mile stretch from Ventura Boulevard to about Sherman Way.
The crowds included surfers, low-riders, muscle cars, street racers, and even “retro” styles from the 1950s. McCloskey’s photos offer a fascinating portrayal of the young people, their cars, and iconic backgrounds; a world that has long since vanished.
By the early 1980s, the cruising scene had all but vanished on Van Nuys. Among the reasons was a business backlash, McCloskey said. “Many of the business people really weren’t too thrilled with (cruising) because they’d find beer cans on their porches and stuff. And ultimately, they did pass legislation or traffic rules that you couldn’t cruise.”