Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Walking in LA

Today I took the Amtrak train into LA and just wandered around downtown.  There is so much to do and see in Los Angeles!  I arrived at LA Union Station, which is a lovely piece of architecture.  I like Union Station because of the amazing diversity of people who are constantly passing through.

I walked across the street to El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic District.  This is the oldest area of Los Angeles.  It was founded in 1781 by Spain.  Then it became Mexico.  Then it became the United States.  There are all kinds of interesting things in this area, like a statue of famous Mexican actor/singer Antonio Aguilar, known as "El Charro de Mexico."

The Mexican Consulate is located in the el Pueblo Plaza, also known as Olvera Street.  Did you know that Los Angeles's sister city is Mexico City?  Well, it is.

There is also a church in this area called Mission Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles.  It was built in 1822, one year after Mexico won its independence from Spain.

Visiting this church got me in a catholic mood, so I decided to walk to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which was built in 2002.  I really like this cathedral.  It has interesting architecture and artwork inside: sculptures, paintings, tile-work.  It was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.

Next, I walked over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which was built in 2003 and designed by famous architect Frank Gehry.  This is where the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra plays.  It's a very beautiful building and I hear the acoustics are amazing.

I wandered over to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) but, alas, they were closed.  The current exhibit is Swiss artist Urs Fischer, in case you are interested.  The MOCA was not a total bust, however.  There were some cool outdoor sculptures, like this one...

I was trying to spend as little money as possible on this adventure, so I decided to visit the Los Angeles Public Library, which is a fantastic library.  It was built in 1926 and designed by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, and has Egyptian and Mediterranean influences.  

Inside the library is a portico containing a four-part mural depicting the history of California.  It was painted in 1933 by artist Dean Cornwell.

After the library, I wandered over the the "jewelry district" downtown.  I was not in the market for jewels, but I liked seeing all the people and the older buildings.

I slowly made my way over the Grand Central Market, which is basically a massive farmer's market that happens every day.  It has been around since 1917.  I recommend the dumplings at China Cafe.

Across the street from Grand Central Market is a funicular (inclined) railway called Angel's Flight.  It was originally built in 1901.  I was "inclined" to take a ride on the Angel's Flight, but I didn't have the correct change.

I walked past La Cita, a cool Mexican bar where my band Chicken or Fish once played a show.  Memories.

This Victor Clothing Co. mural is pretty rad.

And their sign is cool too.

I waked past the LA Times building.

And finally, LA City Hall.  I was intrigued by this big crypt-looking thing in front of it, dedicated to a Mr. Frank Putnam Flint.  I read the plaque, and it turns out Flint was a U.S. Senator who was instrumental in getting the Los Angeles Aqueduct built, a controversial decision that ended up screwing over farmers around Mono Lake in the Owens Valley.  The building of the Aqueduct sparked what came to be known as the California Water Wars.  It's interesting that they would choose to celebrate a guy like Flint.  

I made my way back to Union Station and caught an early evening train home.  People say that LA is a city for cars, not pedestrians, but I didn't find that to be the case today.  With no car, I was able to see and experience an awful lot.  Viva carless adventures!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Jessie. In CA, I saw a headline in San Francisco: "Bringing Jessie Home"; i remembered a song, "Jessie" and looked for the cd to hear it again since the 60's and seventies. There must be much more in CA that a jessie knows.