I was in my 20s in the mid-1960s. I had this job in Waikiki maintaining over 90 units of apartments and cottages that a Hawai’i Judge owned. Along with uncles and other help, I basically painted and got places ready for tenants. You might say that we were a family-style small hotel maintenance crew.
Manukai Street was the center of the operation. The judge’s house was there as was the storage room with rental unit beds, lamps, paint, etc. The block also had cottages and formed a maze of a Waikiki lifestyle that has since given way to the large hotels. It was a very alive street with little paths and trees and bungalows. The highest unit was two stories. We took care of all of them. Manukai Street is now a vacant lot.
I also took care of a big apartment complex across the zoo parking lot on Kuhio and Kapahulu Aves. And finally there was a more private apartment on Kuamoo Street and Ala Wai Blvd.
We mostly ate at Flamingos on Kapiolani Ave or a diner/pharmacy place in Waikiki. There also was Cocos restaurant where Kalakaua and Kapiolani Aves meet. That was a very popular spot.
The area between Kuhio and the Ala Wai was almost entirely a residential neighborhood. In those days Waikiki was smaller in scale and much more quiet. There was a certain charm to the place. It had a feeling of a beach community. That's probably why people liked to live in that area. One could easily walk to the ocean with surfboard in hand and take in a few waves.
You could also be more eccentric in Waikiki, less the suburban lifestyle. There were famous hula teachers, transvestites, gays, and lots of 9 to 5 working class folks. It was sort of many mainlanders’ dream - to come and live in Waikiki - near the beach and close to work in Downtown Honolulu.
Hal Lum, 2006