Coming in 1960: The monorail in L.A.

Imagine that it’s 1959: Fidel Castro has just risen to power, doe-eyed Barbie wins the hearts of millions of little girls, and Alaska and Hawaii have just become the last two stars on the American flag.

In the following year of 1960, Los Angeles would have looked forward to a 75-mile monorail that would have stretched from Santa Monica to San Bernardino, as well as through the Valley and Alhambra.

Unfortunately, “the plan for an elevated monorail on Wilshire upsets corridor stakeholders, and the plan was scrapped,” according to Metro, which recently uploaded some of their historic transit maps and plans as old as over 100 years their online library via Scribd.

The monorail would have cost $529,700,000 and eventually would ‘ve expanded to 150 miles from San Fernando to Inglewood and other areas throughout L.A., notes document’s caption.

Users can also check out Mad Men-era bus routes back when Metro was still Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA), or the streetcar routes of 1906.

In modern transit news, Metro just OK’d long-range transportation plans that would expand their bus, rail and subway services.  Steve Hymon, formerly of the L.A. Times, writes on Metro’s “The Source” blog the $300 billion project spanning over the next 30 years will extend the Foothill Gold Line.  I’m hoping the “subway to the sea” plan will finally get me from NoHo to Santa Monica car-free sometime within the next decade.

NoHo’s very own Antique Row


Santiago's Antiques actually has two storefronts, which both sandwich Miss Peaches Southern Cuisine, on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.

An abundance of small theaters aren’t the only things North Hollywood has to offer.  Travel further north on Lankershim Boulevard past Burbank Boulevard and you’ll find a plethora of antiques and vintage stores, all within walking distance from each other.

Before heading to the Pasadena Rose Bowl flea market on Sunday (see previous post about my visit), I finally made time to hit the antique stores in my own neighborhood.

Most of the stores are closed Sundays because the owners also sell at local flea markets, so your best bet might be to stop by during the weekdays and Saturdays.  Generally, they’re open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but it’s a good idea to call and double-check with the stores (Click the jump cut below for a full list of addresses and phone numbers).

From Hollywood Regency decor to ’60s space age seating to Queen Anne dining sets and a few movie props thrown into the mix, there’s a style and decade to please buyers and browsers alike.  I’m a huge fan of mid century & Danish modern, and the stores definitely have plenty of it to offer.  Some of my favorite finds included a slatted George Nelson-style wood bench for $60 at Frank’s Antiques, a Danish modern chair for $25 at Angel’s Antiques and a set of 4 wire dining chairs from Santiago’s for $350.

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Tips for an adventure at the Rose Bowl flea market


From shabby chic dressers to turn-of-the-century bric-a-brac, there's something for everyone at the Rose Bowl flea market.

Supposedly, it’s the beginning of the end of the recession, but that doesn’t mean shoppers need to revert back to their pre-downturn spending.  Rather than buying brand-new items, consumers are heading to flea markets to buy used furniture and other products, resulting in a 10- to 15 percent increase in foot traffic.

The crowds definitely showed up at the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena, and as a first-timer to the overwhelming shopping experience, this blogger could not believe her eyes at the endless rows of awesome mid century modern furniture, antique knick-knacks and random oddities.  Though regular adult admission is $8; we definitely got our money’s worth; among some of our finds included a vintage framed picture of Mont St. Michel for $15, a Danish modern chair for $35 and mid century dark wood magazine rack for $20.

To get an idea of the market’s massiveness, we arrived shortly after 11 a.m. and had barely finished browsing the antiques section by 2:30 p.m. as vendors started packing up their shops.  After strolling through one row of the other side of the market, which consisted mainly of vintage clothing, we called it a day and headed home with our new (old) wares.

For more photos, plus a few tips  if you decide to check it out for yourself (the next one is Sunday, September 13), are after the jump.

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Familiar spots in ‘(500) Days of Summer’

I’ve yet to make it to theaters to check out “(500) Days of Summer” (Zooey Deschanel, need I say more?), but there’s a pretty cool map of several of the film’s shooting locations via LAist.  Included in that list is downtown’s Broadway Bar off Broadway & 8th and the hillside park by the California Plaza & Angel’s Flight.  Another one of Deschanel’s movies, “Yes Man” (starring Jim Carrey), was also filmed around L.A. — Silver Lake’s Spaceland and Bigfoot Lodge, the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Bowl all make appearances.

Check out Wikipedia’s list of films set in L.A., Diddit’s movie list, or’s list to find out more spots around the city featured on the tube or silver screen.

I see London, I see France…in photos

Stressed out? Follow the French and sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Rather than facing towards each other, diners face outward toward the crowds, like at this cafe near the Pompidou modern art museum. For more photos, click the jump cut below.

I’ll admit, I’ve been procrastinating on this post for a while (okay – it’s been three months!), mainly because reminiscing about my sweet-and-too-short vacation last month makes me slightly depressed that I’m back in the States (I’ll also admit that I’m trying not to confuse the audience with a first-person entry interjected every once in a while).

So what is that certain je ne sais quoi Paris and London have that L.A. lacks (at least from a visitor’s point of view)?

For starters, the public transportation is amazing.  If our subways took a hint from their French counterparts, it would make no difference if you missed the Red line from Hollywood to Downtown – there’d be another one on the way in less than two minutes.  Metro entertainment would come in the form of violinists, accordionists and sometimes, opera-grade singers.  Though travel guides warn foreigners of pickpockets galore in Paris’ subways, elevators and tourist hot spots, we had no problems defending our wallets (we found the key was to blend in with the crowd, dress like the natives and avoid looking like an oblivious American.  That means no cargo pants paired with loud Hawaiian-print shirts and a fanny pack.).

The jardins and parks of Paris are simply stunning.  Rarely were there patches of dirt in the midst of beautiful green, and there were statues to be admired in many spots.  And parks aren’t just the ideal spot for parents to let the children go wild with a soccer ball – they’re also a place where the young and old sit back, relax and people-watch on the many chairs and benches provided by the city.  And at cafes, chairs face towards the streets and sidewalks so patrons can drink an espresso and observe passersby.  Here, it could be called voyeurism, but in France, it’s part of the culture to enjoy the scenery in front of you.

And in London, any beer enthusiast would love the plentiful number of pubs that seem to be a prerequisite for every block.  Want a Guinness with your eggs and portabella mushrooms for breakfast?  The English would tell you to go for it.  In the States, we might call that alcoholism and a recommendation for AA.

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North Hollywood gets its own gateway

The NoHo gateway waits for its day

The NoHo gateway gets prepped for its big day.

I apologize for the lack of posting; I’ve been busy contributing to LAist and working on some other projects.  Moving on…

For months, there have been non-descript giant wood boxes on the sidewalk off Lankershim Boulevard and Huston Street, close to where this blogger is located offline…Could they be a makeshift homeless shelter?  A secret passageway to an underground tunnel?  Or just a big wood box?  Turns out NoHo is getting its own gateway, so while there will no be exciting hidden passages, there will be a new structure welcoming people to the Arts District.

The gateway is set to be unveiled tomorrow from 7 to 10 p.m.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend – I’m covering the Metro’s meeting on their bike policies in downtown for

Also in NoHo news: A walking tour by the San Fernando Valley Museum will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.   It meets at the Amelia Earhart statue at the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Tujunga Avenue, with a suggested donation of $10.

Linda Vista Hospital featured in VH1’s “Charm School”


Screenshot courtesy of VH1.

After a noticeable spike in traffic (1,000 visitors is huge for me!), I started wondering what all the fuss was about.  Well, I was flipping channels the other day and got my answer.  VH1’s “Charm School with Ricki Lake”, which features dumped contestants from the network’s past two reality dating shows, sent its “students” to the abandoned Linda Heights Hospital.  The so-called haunted hotspot is actually Linda Vista Community Hospital, which was visited and previously written about on this blog.  (I am by no means whatsoever a fan of the show, but if you’re curious, check it out here, courtesy of an anonymous commenter’s link on that post).

Though no ghosts come out to play on the VH1 episode, others who’ve checked out the hospital have had their own odd experiences.  The Los Angeles Paranormal Association recorded strange humming noises during one of their visits.  In a past interview on this blog, the hospital’s manager said he believes oftentimes the old building’s natural noises are “misinterpreted.”  In any case, listen to LAPA’s recording and decide for yourself.

Regardless of whether the location is the home to the dead or living (remnants of the homeless can be seen here and there), the hospital continues to garner attention from urban explorers, paranormal investigators and curious Angelenos alike.