I am a native of Urban LA. The concrete jungle is my habitat and Hollywood has always been my backyard. This is fact, and yet I managed to live a sheltered, small town existence. My idea of living dangerously was cutting 4th period French class at John Marshall High (on the edge of Hollywood) and going to Dupar’s in Glendale for a pot pie.
On President’s Day I hit the mean streets of Downtown LA for a bit of a walk about with my friend Tracy. You can read her well researched blog post here. We are training for our trip to Machu Pichu later this year and Tracy found a website listing a 44 mile stair hike starting from historic Angel’s Flight and winding up in Silver Lake. We did the first leg of the route, about 5 miles, and over 1000 steps, starting at Pershing Square and winding up above the Belmont Learning Complex. Along the way we saw typical tourist sights (Disney Hall), fabulous architecture, residential neighborhoods, both sordid and fab, a stunning new park and, everywhere, the most interesting people on the planet. When I was a kid, Downtown was simply not a place for “nice girls” and I had no idea that Urban LA could be this cool.
We started the adventure with a ride on the Metro Gold Line from Highland Park to Union Station and then on to Pershing Square. Many stairs, many people (none of them scary), very clean and convenient.
Everyone knows the famed (or cursed) Belmont Learning Complex- it is the green and yellow building off to your right as you speed down the 110 Freeway toward Downtown. What you don’t know is that Vista Hermosa Park is on the other side. This is the first new park in this area in over 100 years. The Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy manages this as a project and it is filled with fabulous native plants, magical little nooks, sweeping open spaces and some of the most glorious Downtown views, ever.
Heading toward the edge of Echo Park we saw colorful houses and colorful people. We saw a quirky and wonderful pocket park that had mosaic walls, a meditation circle and a lovely alter (Lady of Guadalupe?). It was just one of those delightful surprises that take your breath away.
After all that walking and climbing we were famished… but the Gold Line goes right through Chinatown!!! This is MY hood, so I treated Tracy to a nice bit of Dim Sum. Gung Hay Fat Choy!! (Happy New Year)
Here is a slide show of our walk- enjoy.