Monday, December 26, 2005

Urban Wonders Spanning the L. A. River

Today Will suggested we hit the mean streets of Los Angeles and explore the urban wonders of the downtown bridges spanning the L. A. River at 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th Streets.A holiday gift from our friends, Cybele and Manny, was a book called "Down by the Los Angeles River" written and illustrated by Joe Linton of the "Friends of the Los Angeles River" non-prophet organization. The book includes walks, bikeways and historic bridges. We selected the Downtown Bridges Walk 15.But rather than park near the 1st Street bridge at the beginning of the tour, we parked at Alvera Street and snapped some shots of the nativity scene in the courtyard and took a look in the old fire station before heading over to Union Station.
The Bird of Paradise are in full bloom in the station's front gardens.We walked through the train station to get to the 1st Street bridge where we crossed and headed South on Mission Street on the east side of the river and back up North on Santa Fe Avenue on the west side of the river encountering a variety of urban wonders.In this very industrial area of town we found doorways sporting architectural elements that have remained in tact in spite of the graffiti and security doors affixed to them. And I love the painted sign remnants on the sides of these beautiful brick buildings of commerce: Wholesale Grocer, and Unclaimed Freight. There was plenty of graffiti.And wonderful architectural vistas.
A very overcast downtown in the background as Will wonders out onto the RR tracks and I take a shot at hese two sleeping giants. On the way back towards Union Station we came upon a lovely red maple with a blanket of leaves at her feet.Will then mentioned margaritas and since we were in the neighborhood we stopped at our favorite restaurant on Alvera Street and had us a couple of margaritas and some nachos before heading home for the day.
We saw very little traffic along Mission. There was a bit more on Santa Fe along with a fair share of homeless. We were aware of our surroundings and watched our backs as we walked through the streets. But we were never appraoched by anyone in a threatening or agressive way. For the most part I think they are becoming more acclimated to the residents who have moved into the areas. However, one of the stairways in particular seemed to have been designated the bathroom and was like walking through a pit toilet, even though there were several sani-huts lined up along a fence not too far away. Besides the tons of graffiti though, the streets and bridges seemed pretty well maintained. And there were signs for lofts and creative commercial buildings and a cool looking cafe that we talked about checking out another time.

The bridges were very interesting with thier ornate lamp posts,light fixtures and railings and graceful arches, and the book's history and facts about them and the architects who designed them made it even more so.


Anonymous said...

Olvera, not Alvera.

Will Campbell said...

Anonydick, not anonymous.

Susan said...

Hate when I do that. Sorry for the type-o.

And Will, thanks for beating up Anonydick. I love you baby.

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