Last week I met a friend at the 7th Street Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles. We both arrived by train. This is the end of the line for the Culver City/Expo Line which I traveled on, and for the Long Beach/Blue Line which he traveled on. He was in the mood for deli food so he suggested eating at Langer’s, just one stop away on the Red Line train at MacArthur Park.
MacArthur Park, made famous by the song written by Jimmy Webb, is now a hispanic neighborhood so it may seem strange to find a Jewish deli in that milieu of Spanish-speaking people. According to my friend, twenty years ago the deli was in danger of closing, but thanks to the Red Line station opening literally yards away, and the ease of getting there from the downtown business district at lunchtime, it was revived.
My criteria for judging a deli is 1. do they serve kippers with scrambled eggs and onions? And 2. how fresh and plump are the kippers?
Langer’s Deli gets an A rating for serving kippers and a B+ for the kippers themselves. They were good but not plump enough to receive an A rating. However, a million times better than my last experience at the Roll ‘n Rye, generally a good deli, where the kippers were shriveled up to the size of a sardine and dry as leather. I would go to Langer’s again for the same dish.
My friend ordered the #19 – Pastrami with swiss cheese and cole slaw which apparently is their most famous dish. For a good photo of this plate click here. If you are a pastrami lover (which I am not) it might just entice you to jump on the train for lunch!
After our meal we trained back to downtown and said adieu. I decided to visit the Richard Riordan Central Library as I wanted to catch the exhibit commemorating the 75th birthday of Los Angeles Union Station. No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station examines the architectural design and cultural politics of the historic station.
We are fortunate that both the 1926 library and the 1939 station were not gobbled up and destroyed by developers, a situation that so easily could have happened. Both are beautiful buildings in the downtown area that I enjoy visiting.
In the Union Station exhibit I was particularly impressed by the gorgeous pen/ink and pencil architectural drawings. In one of my many careers I labored as a lowly draftsperson “on the boards” before computer aided design came along. Although back in the day I was excited to be one of the first people transitioning to CAD, I still love to look at renderings and plans created the old fashioned way by hand.
As much as I appreciated the archival material, I was intrigued by the visions of the future. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro for short) purchased the Union Station complex in 2011, which makes so much sense as it is now the hub of transportation in the LA area. They asked six international design teams to use their imaginations in coming up with concepts for what the future could look like.
Some of the ideas are pretty far out but in my experience it’s always better to start out big and pull back rather than thinking small and then having to add on here and there. That is really what Los Angeles suffers from now… not a lot of planning for the future in considering the whole enchilada, more of a patchwork of individual neighborhoods now fighting to reconfigure itself as a unit.
Below, not part of the exhibit, is a YouTube video of Metro’s Union Station plans for the near future:
After viewing the Union Station exhibit I wandered around the library taking random snapshots. Interior shots of the library are posted here in Part Two.
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