Conversation with Desoto Brown

DownWind: Desoto, is it possible that this photograph was made on Kalakaua Ave?

Desoto Brown: It sure was. On the left are the Royal Hawaiian Hotel grounds. Up till the 1950s, there were no buildings along the street in this stretch. So all you saw were the plants of the hotel’s gardens along the sidewalk.

The car that’s parked on the right shows that this was taken in 1942 by the license plate. Its headlights are blacked out (as was legally required in the first years of the war). Also it doesn’t have a 1943, ’44, or ’45 windshield registration sticker as would be used in those subsequent years.

During WWII, a lot of kids (mostly boys, but some girls too) shined shoes on the streets for money.

The two women sitting just beyond the shoeshine boys are lei sellers most likely. They worked along this stretch of Kalakaua up till they were legally prohibited in the early 1960s - either working on the sidewalk or using a parked vehicle.