In 1942, a 450-unit public housing project called the William Mead Homes was built in Los Angeles between the Los Angeles River and Los Angeles County Jail. The residents nicknamed the area "Dogtown" because of the proximity of the housing project to the city of Los Angeles' first dog pound. The purpose of the housing project was to provide affordable housing to residents of the city of Los Angeles. Dogtown was home to many families, including my own. Danny "Danny Boy" Dominguez and his family also lived in Dogtown when he was of youth.
While growing up in Dogtown, the youth of the area were often lured into the street life and became members of the local gang. Danny Boy was one of these wayward youths, enticed by the fast life of the streets and he quickly became caught up in the vicious cycle of gang life. In the 1960's, Dogtown was ravaged with violence, and sometimes, its residents were left with no choice but to protect themselves. Danny Boy was no exception, and on many occasions he found himself locked in street brawls.
A gentleman by the name of Freeman, who was a local park director, caught Danny Boy and another kid fighting one day. He broke up the fight and told them, "you want to fight? I'll give you something to fight about." He then took them into the park gymnasium and began training the boys into a sport that might help to channel the frustration and rage they were feeling at the time. As it turned out, Freeman was a boxer, and he saw potential in Danny Boy.
After some years of training and local bouts, Danny Boy and Freeman took a shot at the Junior Gold Gloves title in 1970. The event was held at the Los Angeles' Olympic Auditorium, where a victorious Danny Boy came away from the event a champion. Boxing was a great deterrent to keep Danny Boy away from the gang life and on a path to success, but the streets kept summoning him back.
As one of the youngest of 15 children, Danny Boy was also exposed to Lowriding at a young age. His father and older siblings were heavily into Lowriding, which played a significant and much more positive influence in Danny Boy's life than his street experiences. Danny Boy remembers piling into his father's station wagon and hearing his dad rap his pipes under the bridge on Whittier Boulevard. While he did enjoy the pastime, Danny Boy's interest in Lowriding did not peak until after the family moved out of Dogtown.
In 1971, the Dominguez family relocated to the Elysian Valley area of Los Angeles. This area is also known as Frogtown based on its proximity to the Los Angeles River, home of the annual exodus of frogs from the river into Elysian Valley. After moving to Frogtown, Danny Boy met Bosco Cordova, who was the younger brother of hydraulics legend, "Old Man Frank" Cordova. Bosco introduced Danny Boy to Old Man Frank, and he was soon hanging out at Old Man Frank's house.
As a kid, Danny Boy played with Hot Wheels and built plastic model kits. He used to bring his freshly built models over to Old Man Frank's house to show him his work. A few times, a local painter that "Old Man Frank" knew by the name of Paul painted some of Danny Boy's models with candies and pearls. Although he was painting the models for Danny Boy, he was also using them as samples for his customers. Eventually, he started to build Lowrider Bikes and Chopper Bikes since he was still too young to drive.
Of course, many of you know that Old Man Frank's house was the place to get your car lifted in the 1970's. Danny Boy used to see clubs like the Artistics, Lifestyle, Imperials, and Groupe come to the house for custom hydraulic setups. He was able to meet a lot of members of different clubs and he decided that he really liked what he saw in Lowriding. He also liked that there was no neighborhood drama at Old Man Frank's, his place was declared neutral. At times, Danny Boy felt like his older brother and Old Man Frank were both trying to keep him from his neighborhood, but that was not the case. They were simply trying to guide him onto a more productive and positive life that included Lowriding.
Danny Boy bought his first car, a1967 Chevy Impala, and never looked back. Although he was still boxing, Lowriding became his new passion. He went through the '67, three '63 Super Sports, before he finally settled on the 1970 Monte Carlo he is known for. He got the car and some cash after trading in one of his '63 Super Sports. The car was all original and looked as if it had rolled fresh off the showroom floor. He took the car to Old Man Frank and had it lifted, paying Frank with the cash he had received in trade.