Don’t let anyone tell you he or she knows Los Angeles. Why? Because there’s too much for one person to know. There are broad swaths of the county which I have never seen, mostly to the Southwest, all those weird little communities along Interstate 5 like Hawaiian Gardens, Downey, Lynwood, Paramount, Bell Gardens, and Santa Fe Springs.
But thanks to today’s little safari, Martine and I know a little more about the area immediately to the Northeast of Pershing Square. We had three destinations and hit them all:
- The tantalizingly named The Last Bookstore at West 5th & Spring with its grim motto: “What are you waiting for? We won’t be here forever.
- The Grand Central Market at West 3rd & Broadway, which I’ve always wanted to visit but never got the chance to.
- Across the street from the GCM is The Bradbury Building, built in 1893 and the location for scores of Hollywood movies, most notably Blade Runner (1982).
The big surprise was Union Station, where I arrived in Los Angeles on December 28, 1966, on the Santa Fe Railroad’s El Capitan train service. For decades, the station fell into disrepair and disuse as Amtrak hit the skids. But then the city decided to add a substantial suburban rail system called Metrolink, a growing network of subways and light rail lines, and a bus hub. Now its a busy place with new shops opening and crowds of people on the way to and from somewhere.
Tomorrow, the Expo Line will link Santa Monica to downtown L.A. with the nearest stop being a few blocks south of me at Bundy just south of Olympic.
It’s nice to know that, in this day and age, I can find something positive to write about without having to grit my teeth.