So much has changed since then, from the gentrification of Echo Park and downtown to the development of an actual subway system, that it seems like eons ago. Google, with the help of satellite imagery from NASA's Landsat Program, puts the development of L.A. since '84 in motion with this time lapse map:
The action through 2012 is not that impressive. It's like watching lawns get greener after the first fall rain.
But if you look closely you can see downtown and points southeast get denser as development hot spots crop up around LAX and along Westside corridors.
And just think about all that has happened in that time frame -- the riots, the O.J. Simpson trial, countless fires and Lindsay Lohan.
See the time-lapse action here. See if you can spot the point at which we became a global metropolis.