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Deck the Halls of DTLA again – with views from the Wilshire Grand Hotel

christmas downtown los angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Two days before Christmas I repeated the Downtown Los Angeles Christmas Tree & Decorations Tour. Click on this link for last week’s walk. This time there were five of us. I know there were other people who wanted to come but due to illnesses, injuries and other commitments, could not make it.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Don’t know what kind of tree this is but the red berries made it very festive. At California Plaza.

So I’m thinking maybe I should do this again in 2018! I’m also thinking about a Christmas Decorations walk through Beverly Hills. I did a photo walk a couple of years ago, see the post here.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Another view of the red berry tree

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

California Plaza includes two skyscrapers, both of which are shown in the above photo.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

My four companions on the walk at California Plaza

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Lobby of the US Bank Building with the Central Library in the background.

In February or March I’m hoping to put together a tour of the Central Library and then use the 50% off coupons I have to visit Skyspace, the open air observation deck at the top of the US Bank Building.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

A view of the Central Library with the new Wilshire Grand Hotel (with the mast) peeking up behind it.

The US Bank building (also known as Library Tower) was able to build to 72 floors by trading air space with the Central Library. So the library can never build higher than its present height.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Millenium Biltmore Hotel lobby

Yup, you saw the above tree in my previous post. But it’s so gorgeous it’s worth seeing again! Do you recognize that ceiling? It was used in The Poseidon Adventure.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations  

Hands-on dad assisting his daughter with the Penguin helper at Pershing Square

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

There’s construction going on everywhere these days. More people, more traffic.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Hotel Clark as seen from Pershing Square

The Hotel Clark was built sometime around 1912-ish. It was a transient hotel for many years and in pretty bad shape. It’s really good to see its new life as a boutique hotel with a rooftop restaurant/bar. I have to see if I can get up there at some point.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Tree on 70th floor of Wilshire Grand

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

View from the 70th floor of the new Wilshire Grand Hotel

If you read my previous blog post, the first time I made it to the 70th floor lobby of the Wilshire Grand Hotel I had a terrible case of vertigo that crippled me, so I couldn’t take any photos. This time I was still a little queazy but I was able to wrap my brain around the fact that I was up so high and it was okay. The above view looks out to the Santa Monica Mountains and towards Malibu.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The main part of LA is known as the Los Angeles Basin. You can see how the name originated as we are surrounded by mountain ranges. On the other side of the mountains is The Valley… still a part of the City of Angels.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

And then there are the freeways. Pretty light traffic for a Saturday. Everybody has parked their cars at the shopping malls for Christmas shopping!

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The ocean on the horizon… from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica. The ocean is about 15 miles (24 km) from the Wilshire Grand.

I know the color is awful on these photos. I’m still having problems with color calibration and Lightroom… and reflections through the windows didn’t help. A triple whammy.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

You might notice the heli-pad on the building next door. Until recently there was a requirement to have a helicopter landing place on every building in downtown for emergencies. Since that ruling has been lifted we are seeing some more architecturally interesting rooftops.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

This last photo is a zoomed-in look at Echo Park Lake, approximately two miles (3.2 km) from the hotel. That white object sticking up in the center of the lake is the Olympic Fountain installed for the 1984 Olympics. You can see photos of the lake on my blog post here.

Be sure to see my post about the previous week’s walk-through of downtown decorations at Deck the Halls of DTLA.

 

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My favorite time of year at Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery

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Holy Cross Cemetery is one of my favorite places to walk. Some of the hills are quite steep, some a little more gentle. The views are always spectacular. And even on a foggy or smoggy day when it’s hard to see the mountains or the ocean, there are the beautiful trees to look at.

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But my favorite time of year is around Christmas. Holy Cross is a Catholic Cemetery and therefore quite a few hispanic people are spending eternity in the ground… at least their bodies are. The nice part of their belief system is that the deceased continue on as members of the family and are commemorated as such.

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So at Christmas the graves are decorated just as if the corpses lying beneath the grass can appreciate the ribbons and flowers and baubles placed there by their relatives. I think it’s a lovely tradition. Whole families will set up folding chairs, have picnics and enjoy music. It’s like they are saying, yes you have left this earthly realm but you are still alive with us.

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Although I walk around the cemetery during the year as it is a convenient stop for me on the way home, I make a special effort to drive over there at this time of year.

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The sad part is the section reserved for babies and children. What could have happened to a three-month-old baby or a five-year-old boy or a nineteen-year-old young lady just starting her life?

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One of my favorite spots is the Grotto filled with votive candles. Over the years I stopped there many times asking the Universe for favors.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

Then I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say you can’t use the Universe (or God or the Creative Force, or whatever you want to call it) like an ATM machine expecting to get something out of it all the time. That made me stop and think.

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My life completely changed when I started being grateful for everything in my life rather than asking for things I didn’t have, which merely emphasized what was missing. Now my glass is half full instead of half empty. In fact, it is full to the top.

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So, even though I still have my bad days, now when I walk through the cemetery I feel fortunate that I survived this long and can walk among the grave stones rather than being buried under one.

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culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)