Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Struggle to Make a Living


In the preceding five years, she amassed around 100 citations, she said, and has paid several hundred dollars that she hopes will be refunded as part of the pending lawsuit.

Last year, Mrs. Soto’s husband began getting weekly kidney dialysis, and Mrs. Soto took a bit of time off in March to recuperate from a hysterectomy. While she and her husband could not work, a group of vendors pooled their earnings and gave the couple $3,000 to help them make ends meet.

Although she’s back at work, Mrs. Soto said business was lacking.

“After the pandemic, everything changed,” she said. “It’s not as easy as it was before. It’s the economy. Now it’s very slow. People are complaining about money, about the taxes they have to pay. They don’t spend as much as before.”

She hasn’t made $900 in a week since last summer, Mrs. Soto said, and during one week last month she brought in only $360 in five days. It’s difficult to keep up with the $2,000-a-month rent on their one-bedroom apartment, she said.

Her 19-year-old son works at a nearby shoe store to help cover the costs, she said, and she may soon look for another job she can work in the mornings before setting up to sell hot dogs.

“The situation is very, very bad,” she said.

As a thick marine layer descended over the city, Mrs. Soto flipped on a light over her cart and zipped up her hoodie. A four-wheel food delivery robot — one of many that traverse this part of Los Angeles — whizzed past.

It was a relatively quiet night in the heart of Hollywood and, after seven hours, Mrs. Soto was finished with her shift.

Her total for the day: $85. She hoped the next day would go better.



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