Tag Archives: downtown los angeles

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 Toptenreview.com’s list to find out more spots around the city featured on the tube or silver screen.

City to celebrate new efforts in documenting L.A.’s historic places

Los Angeles Central Library by mental.masala on Flickr

A celebration will be held at the Los Angeles Central Library to mark the city's new SurveyLA project, which is encouraging citizens to recommend historical sites in their communities. Photo courtesy of mental.masala at Flickr.

Every community has it: that bizarre house at the corner known for its strange architecture and perhaps even stranger occupants.  Angelenos can now report that odd abode, whether it’s someone else’s or their own, as a historical place of Los Angeles.  As part of a new preservation program to document the city’s historic resources, officials are encouraging citizens to suggest oft-ignored areas of their neighborhoods for their new SurveyLA project.

The city is throwing a kick-off celebration at the L.A. Central Library, located at the corner of 5th and Flower downtown, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 4.  KPCC Air Talk host Larry Mantle will host a panel of community organizers, city officials, developers and preservationists discussing the survey from 1 to 2:30 p.m.  Reservations are recommended for the panel discussion and can be made at http://www.lfla.org/aloud/index.php.

Among the 11 communities to be surveyed include the 210-freeway cities of Sunland-Tujunga, La Canada, La Cresenta, Lake View Terrace and Shadow Hills.

Got a suggestion for the survey? Visit http://preservation.lacity.org/survey/historic-identification to help out.

To get to the April 4 event car-free, take the Red Line subway and get off at Pershing Square, located at 4th and Hill and walk west to 5th Street.  If you’re driving, parking is only $1 all day during library hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays) with a validation.

Unfortunately, this blogger will be unable to make it – she’ll be playing a real tourist as she explores Paris and London for two weeks (stay tuned for special out-of-LA posts during those travels!).

Fight for Angels Flight continues

Olivet and Sinai, the cars of Angels Flight, are seen through the plastic gates blocking pedestrians from entering the landmark.

Olivet and Sinai, the cars of Angels Flight, are seen through the plastic gates blocking pedestrians from entering the landmark.

Anticipation over Angels Flight Railway’s reopening continues as LAist reports the debate of private vs. public at L.A. Downtown News.

After Downtown News printed an editorial last week saying “we have to turn to the government to (get the railway running again)”, Angels Flight Railway Foundation President John Welborne (who’s interviewed for this blog here) and Angels Flight Board of Directors Chairman Dennis R. Luna responded to concerns that the funicular should be handed back to the city.

“Safety must not take a back seat to attempts at political expediency,” wrote Luna and Welborne, and reminded readers that the last time the railway was in public hands, it took 27 years for the city to reopen it.

More reading:

Rain 101: Car-less destinations for a not-so-sunny day

The Grand Central Market, seen from Angels Flight

The Grand Central Market, with its sawdust-covered floors, is a great place to get fresh produce or sit down for a variety of food. Seen here from Angels Flight, you can get to the market from the Pershing Square Metro Red line stop.

It’s been not-so-sunny lately, and sometimes I wonder whether my fellow citizens are lacking adequate access to the Weather Channel, the Internet, or a newspaper in the morning (or…a window).  Not because I feel uncomfortable in elevators and need something quick to babble about for 45 seconds until all riders part for their separate floors, but because regardless of Dallas Raines’ forecast, I’m terrified of the drivers who missed the memo about 150% chance of pouring rain.  No matter if its 75 or 57, sweltering hot or cats & dogs, there are those who drive 95 mph on the 101 as if slip-and-slide season were all year.

When the rain comes out, I try to avoid driving as much as possible.  The Metro Red line is conveniently located less than a mile from where I live, and in honor of my favorite, often hassle-less mode of transportation, here are some things to do off the Red line route when it’s just sprinkling outside.  Please note that some of these destinations require walking (I still think Missing Persons were missing something when they sang, “Nobody walks in L.A.”), an umbrella might be useful, so long as it’s not pouring out.

Museum Row in the Miracle Mile District off Wilshire Boulevard gets an honorable mention because they’re not subway-accessible (yet!).  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Natural History Museum & La Brea Tarpits and several other museums are located off Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and Curson Avenues.

Go here for a Google Map I’ve made of the Metro Red line route, Museum Row and the following destinations.

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On this day 100 years ago…

On Feb. 6, 1909, the L.A. Times ran the following story:

ABOVE THE CLOUDS

BALLOONS TO SAIL

ON PLEASURE TRIP

The two large balloons, the United States and the American, are to make a short flight from Chutes Park Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Ordinary gas is being used, and the work of inflating is progressing satisfactorily.  At a late hour last night the American, which will be piloted by Capt. A. E. Meuller, was nearly filled, and the United States, which is to be handled by Roy Knabenshue, was more than one-half full.

The flight will in no way be a race, as it is expected that the large bags will be in the air for only a few hours.  The trip is to be made for weather observations, and to arouse interest in the sport of ballooning.

Each of the balloons is to carry four men, including the pilots.  They are to be Capt. Meuller, Roy Knabenshue, W. D. Fuller of the Weather Bureau, Lieut. C. K. Currie of the United States Corps of Engineers, a reporter from each of the morning papers, and a representative of the Associated Press.

Fifteen or twenty of the Chutes Park homing pigeons are to be taken along, and will be used to send back messages of the location and conditions of the balloons and men.

Chutes Park was amusement park south of downtown L.A., spanning from South Grand Avenue and South Main Street between Washington Boulevard and West 21st Street.  See LAist’s  LAistory on Chutes Park and Downtown News’ “The Short Life of a Downtown Amusement Park” for more detailed stories of the attraction, which existed from 1887 to 1914; today, it’s the site of a parking lot for the home furnishings store, L.A. Mart.

 View of the Washington Gardens Amusement Park (also called Chutes Park), which shows the Chutes water ride and Chutes Theater next to it.  Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library historical photo archives.

View of the Washington Gardens Amusement Park (also called Chutes Park), which shows the Chutes water ride and Chutes Theater next to it. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library historical photo archives.

Today, Washington & Grand is also the site of a Metro Blue Line stop, and L.A. Mart can be seen in the background.  Courtesy of tommyhenrich at Panoramio.com.

Today, Washington & Grand is also the site of a Metro Blue Line stop,
and L.A. Mart can be seen in the background. Courtesy of tommyhenrich at Panoramio.com.

A New Day, A New Flight

Angels Flight has history...After closing in 1969, re-opening in 1996, and closing again in 2001, the landmark is ready for a comeback.

Angels Flight has history...After closing in 1969, re-opening in 1996, and closing again in 2001, the landmark is ready for a comeback. (Full disclosure: My father worked at the architectural design company for Angels Flight's '96 re-opening)

Upon first glance, the roughly 300-foot-long – or short, depending on how you look at it – Angels Flight Railway looks like an oddity in the midst of Downtown L.A.’s Bunker Hill district at 4th and Hill Streets.  Surrounded by glass and metal skyscrapers, concrete buildings and some greenery here and there, the funicular’s two orange and black cable cars, Olivet and Sinai have shuttled many Angelenos throughout the decades.

The railway was built in 1901 by Colonel J. W. Eddy, a teacher, Civil War veteran, Illinois State Representative and miner, according to records from the Historic American Buildings Survey.  Eddy moved to L.A. in 1895 and saw a need for an easier way for residents to go up the hill “other than by foot or horse and buggy.”  On its grand opening on December 31, passengers rode free all day on Olivet and Sinai (which were painted white back then) and “punch was served by the ladies who resided nearby on Olive Heights.”

Angels Flight was designated as a landmark on August 6, 1962 by the Cultural Heritage Board of Los Angeles because it was “the last remaining cable railway” in L.A.; sadly, it was closed seven years later in 1969 as Bunker Hill became more commercial and less residential.   In 1996, Angels Flight was finally re-opened, and (full disclosure!) because it was one of the projects of the architectural design company that my father worked for, me and my family were among the first to ride the railway.   However, it was shut down again in 2001 due to an accident in which the operating mechanisms failed, killing 83-year-old rider Leon Praport.  It was the second death in Angels Flight’s history; in 1913, “damage to the cable allowed one of the cars to go careening back down the incline.  Passengers were badly shaken” but one woman died after she jumped out of the car.

Last week, passersby may have seen Sinai and Olivet running up and down their tracks for the first time in 2009 (the first test runs had taken place in early November of last year), and according to Angels Flight Railway Foundation President John Welborne.  One man even waited eagerly to pay the 25-cent fare and be shuttled up to California Plaza at the top of the hill,  but the ready passenger had to be turned away because the landmark’s final testing and safety certifications are still in process, said Welborne.

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