Reasons to Like Los Angeles, Part 1: Downtown

My epiphany, on my most recent trip to Los Angeles: L.A. is like the Queens of California. (San Francisco is the Brooklyn, natch.) As a New Yorker, I am duty-bound to think like this–the world revolves around us!

Queens is spread out, low-rise, disconnected communities with no real center. And it’s bursting with amazing food. Also, New Yorkers hate Queens because it embodies all the horrors of suburbia that they’re trying to escape.

Likewise with Los Angeles. New Yorkers–including my very own husband–hate the place on principle. (In fact, Peter just walked up behind me and saw the title of this post and shouted, “WRONG!” But, but…we live in Queens! We love Queens!)

Humph. I had a great trip! And it was sunny! And there was amazing food!

Some things I appreciated:


I was born in L.A., and I didn’t even know L.A. had a downtown! I guess it wasn’t up to much till very recently, but still. I saw lots of gorgeous old buildings, like the central library, where the murals are outstanding; the Bradbury Building, where the elaborate wrought-iron interior staircases are clearly the work of a deranged mind; and Oviatt’s, likewise deranged with Deco. When Peter’s mom dropped me in front of Oviatt’s to poke around, she advised me, “Sweet-talk your way in.” I suck at sweet-talking, but I did get to poke my in the store-turned-restaurant, where they were setting up for a wedding. Holy woodwork! We also got to leaf through the happy couple’s photo album, which was pretty funny.

But, as Lars von Trier says, you have to take the good with the evil, so there’s also a whole crazy office-park part of downtown, where great slabs of concrete are connected to other slabs by skyways and secret tunnels. Which I got a brief tour of with the guys from The Dinner Party Download (an excellent podcast that I love because I can imagine a world where dinner parties are a common thing, and where people don’t spend all of dinner talking about the food). We got to walk through the Bonaventure Hotel building, which is one of those ridiculous 1970s-vision-of-the-future creations that’s all curves and atriums and external glass elevators.

Aaand, that’s about all the attention span I have for today. More L.A. attractions to come…


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