Monday, October 28, 2013

Surprisingly Urbane Los Angeles - Downtown and Beyond

Los Angeles was surprisingly urbane, despite its reputation as a monstrosity consisting of nothing but endless mind-numbing expressways.  Sure, the omnipresent highways did dominate the landscape and we did spend much time on the road during our Los Angeles Trip in last July; however, the metropolis turned out to be surprisingly sophisticated and even inviting, and hopefully the trend would continue.

Even when we were on the road, we enjoyed some wonderful views of the urbane Los Angeles, near downtown and beyond. 

DSCN8280 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8074 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN8065 _ Los Angeles, July 2013 DSCN8067 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN8064 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN8061 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN8054 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN8068 _ Los Angeles, July 2013 DSCN8304 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8306 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8071 _ Los Angeles, July 2013

DSCN9043 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8149 _ Downtown Los Angeles DSCN8240 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8389 _ Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8387 _ Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles
Convention Center, Downtown

Gradually, in Los Angeles, mass transit was coming into its own, slowly perhaps.  We even spotted Metro stations along the expressway, near the main airport - LAX.

DSCN8156 _ Metro Station Los Angeles

The drawback of the system was that it didn't cover enough areas; in order to experience the LA Metro system, we had to walk or ride bus to cover a long distance from Silverlake District, where we stayed, to catch the nearest Metro train to downtown Los Angeles, getting off at the station close to Walt Disney Concert Hall.

DSCN8436 _ Metro Subway, Los Angeles

DSCN8946 _ Metro Subway, Los Angeles

DSCN8441 _ Metro Subway Station, Los Angeles
Metro Station near Walt Disney Concert Hall

After we toured Walt Disney Concert Hall and visited MOCA, we passed by a large public space, centering on a dancing water fountain:

DSCN8799 _ Downtown Los Angeles

At the edge of the square, there were funicular cars running along the hill. My recent ride of a funicular car was in Graz and it gave me joy to be able to do it again.  An unexpected wonderful experience. 

DSCN8809 _ Funicular Car, Downtown Los 

DSCN8815 _ Funicular Car, Downtown Los Angeles

After the funicular ride, we headed towards the Old Bank District, still in downtown.  There were many old buildings and one of them, Homer Laughlin Building, had a huge covered market - Grand Central Market, and in which I saw for the first time in my life a "Chop Suey" shop sign:

DSCN8826 _ Chop Suey Sign in Grand Central Market, Homer Laughlin Building, 317 South Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles
Chop Suey Sign in Grand Central Market, Homer Laughlin Building, 317 South Broadway, Downtown

Once exited from the market, we saw more classy buildings nearby, such as these two landmarks below:

DSCN8845 _ Million Dollar Theater, Downtown Los Angeles
Million Dollar Theater, 307 S. Broadway, Downtown

DSCN8839 _ Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles
Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway, Downtown

The brown brick building above turned out to be the famous Bradbury Building - "an architectural landmark in downtown Los Angeles, California. Built in 1893, the building was commissioned by LA mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury and designed by local draftsman George Wyman. It is located at 304 South Broadway and 3rd Street, and has been the site of many movie and television shoots, rock videos, and works of fiction." [source: wikipedia]

The simple, low key exterior above, did not prepare us for the magnificent details housed inside - its ornate staircases, its wonderfully harmonized and contrasting colors of black and brown, and materials of stone, wood and iron, and its the gentle, suffused skylight - all contributed to form a cacophony of joy.

DSCN8848 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles DSCN8852 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles DSCN8859 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles
DSCN8863 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles DSCN8867 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles DSCN8864 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles

Since it had a history in the film industry, and since the building today is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs division and other government agencies, the sad-looking and weary Charlie Chaplin's statue was quite appropriate in the side lobby:

DSCN8871 _ Bradbury Building, Los Angeles
Charlie Chaplin Statue in Bradbury Building

Then we arrived at the magnificent Old Bank District itself, lined with many more enchanting old buildings.

DSCN8874 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8878 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles DSCN8875 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles DSCN8943 _ Old Bank District, Los Angeles
DSCN8880 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles DSCN8884 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles DSCN8892 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles

DSCN8893 _ Old Bank District, Downtown Los Angeles

One of those old banks was converted into a book store - The Last Bookstore - the most beautiful bookstore I'd ever seen:

DSCN8901 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8906 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8931 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8928 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8932 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8933 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8921 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

DSCN8900 _ The Last Bookstore, Old Bank District, LA DSCN8908 _ The Last Bookstore, LA DSCN8913 _ The Last Bookstore, LA

From the Old Bank District, we went to see another landmark - the Union Station of the railroad.  It was graceful in the outside and lovely inside but it lacked grandeur I had prepared myself for, such as that in the Grand Central Station in New York City.  There was only one New York City.  Even so, Union Station was a wonder in its own right.

DSCN8968 _ Union Station, Los Angeles

DSCN8960 _ Union Station, Los Angeles DSCN8962 _ Union Station, Los Angeles

DSCN8955 _ Union Station, Los Angeles
Union Station, Los Angeles

I also saw some other engaging interiors in downtown Los Angeles, not as grand as the Union Station, but was equally delightful, such the downtown restaurant, and the coffee house, Tierra Mia Coffee, in Silverlake District below:

DSCN8080 _ A Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles, July 2013
A Restaurant in Downtown

DSCN8985 _ Tierra Mia Coffee, Silverlake District, Los Angeles
Tierra Mia Coffee, Silverlake District, Los Angeles

The somewhat funky Silverlake district had a lot of characters and I enjoyed the neighborhood very much.  Nice neighborhood to stay.

DSCN8426 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8140 _ Downtown Los Angeles seen from Silverlake District

DSCN8422 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8111 _ Sunrise in Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8410 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8405 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8406 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

DSCN8416 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles DSCN8420 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles
DSCN8118 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles DSCN8116 _ Silverlake District, Los Angeles

Further afield, we went to a beach for a wedding.  The sight had gorgeous view of the ocean:

DSCN8165 _ Beach in Los Angeles

DSCN8169 _ A Wedding Site in Los Angeles

Further still, we visited friends in Santa Monica and below are several snapshots taken there:

DSCN8346 _ A Cemetery in Santa Monica
A Cemetery in Santa Monica

DSCN8324 _ Santa Monica

DSCN8312 _ Santa Monica

DSCN8315 _ Santa Monica

DSCN8336 _ Santa Monica

DSCN8327 _ Santa Monica

DSCN8331 _ A huge Apple store in Santa Monica

DSCN8340 _ An Antique Car in Santa Monica

Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst
- Walt Disney Concert Hall Tour
- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles
- LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Revisiting Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena
- Getty Villa in Los Angeles (Malibu)
- Urs Fischer Exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles
- "Prague", St. Stephen's Day, Richard Diebenkorn and James Turrell
- "Renoir in the 20th Century" - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Label: Los Angeles, Los Angeles Trip 2013

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