DTLA

Los Angeles’s Central Library on 5th Street & Hope

Los Angeles’s Central Library on 5th & Flower

On Thursdays, I find myself taking the Expo Line Train into downtown Los Angeles, or as the locals call it, DTLA. Before the free mindful meditation classes at 12:30 (taught by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center—or MARC), I spend a couple hours reading in the literature and fiction center on the third floor. Then I make my way to lunch at one of several locations: Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, or the Grand Central Market on Broadway. Sometimes I stop at the Last Bookstore at 5th and Spring. When the afternoons are hot, as it was today, I return by the air-conditioned Santa Monica Bus Line Rapid 10 Freeway Flyer, which lets me off a block from home.

Since I started exploring the downtown area, I have gotten a better, more favorable feel for the city in which I live. LADT is nowhere near as white bread as the outlying areas, and there are interesting ethnic enclaves scattered about.

When it gets a little cooler, I hope to wander farther afield, perhaps taking in bits of Koreatown and Filipinotown.

 

 

 

Grand Central Market

Lunch at L.A.’s Grand Central Market

Lunch at L.A.’s Grand Central Market

The description below is from Eve Babitz’s Eve’s Hollywood:

At the bottom of Angel’s Flight [a funicular that no longer exists], you turned right and went a block and came to Central Market. This market covered an entire city block and had entrances on two streets at either end, Hill and Broadway, I think. In Central Market there are about 50 stalls. Unlike the Farmers Market [at 3rd and Fairfax], where tourists and Angelenos get cheerfully gypped daily, Central Market sells fresh produce and fresh fish and every kind of edible that could appeal to any faction of population minority that is in L.A., cheap. It’s like Baghdad [without the improvised explosive devices (IEDs)].

That was written more than forty years ago. Now there’s a heavy Mexican food presence, which is AOK with me.

 

O Brave New World!

Downtown L.A. Financial District

Downtown L.A. Financial District

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.