23 September, 2009

Away (in downtown L.A.?)

I've been away for quite awhile, on a break in the fascinating city of Los Angeles.  If you've got a car (I know, who doesn't in the City of Angels?) it's an endlessly distracting place.  Still, one of the most interesting aspects of L.A. is best experienced on foot and can be accessed by public transport.  I'm referring to the sometimes overlooked downtown area, the original core of the city.  The original Pueblo de la Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula was established in September of 1781 in the vicinity of today's Union Station.  The area still features several structures, including a church, from the city's early days.  Nearby is the very grand City Hall and the original "heart" of early 20th century Los Angeles.  Broadway is the main thoroughfare and features such highlights as the Bradbury Building (featured in "Blade Runner"), The Grand Central Market, Angel's Flight Railway, Clifton's Cafeteria and, best of all, the largest existing concentration of motion picture "palaces" on the planet.  The marvelous L.A. Conservancy conducts walking tours of these theatres and other architectural and cultural aspects of the downtown area.  It's a shame that so much of this area is overlooked by visitors (and residents).  It has to be one of the most captivating parts of one of America's most interesting, and misunderstood, cities.

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