RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Countdown: my favorite dozen 2018 photos and a bonus

life is a canvas

San Gabriel Mountains from my roof deck in Culver City.

As if I don’t have enough to do, I decided to set myself the task of coming up with my twelve favorite photos for the year… one for each month. Some months I had fifty favorites and some months I wouldn’t have picked one for my top twelve… nevertheless I had to stick to my rule of one from each month. This exercise was a great lesson for me as I realized some months in 2018 I didn’t get out and about enough with my camera and I really struggled to find a photo. I need to be more consistent.

The above photo was taken from my roof deck on Christmas Day and is my New Year’s card to you all. One of my favorite quotes just happened to be floating around in the sky! Note the airplane just left of top center.

So here we go.

JANUARY

sunrise

Sunrise with resident crows from my roof deck, Culver City, California

FEBRUARY

Yosemite Upper Falls framed by tree branch. Yosemite National Park, California

MARCH

Huntington Library

Desert Garden at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Los Angeles County, California

APRIL

Freddie and Frankie

A little out of focus but this photo really shows their true personalities. Frankie looking disdainful and obviously planning the next mischievous caper while Freddie is wide-eyed and innocent, ready to be splat in the middle of Frankie’s next big idea!

MAY

worthing seafront

Worthing Seafront, Sussex, England. The last place my parents and I lived before they decided to emigrate to the US.

JUNE

butterfly pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

JULY

deck sunset

Sunset from my deck looking out on to downtown Culver City and Sony Studios

AUGUST

canadian rockies

Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

SEPTEMBER

william s hart

The William S. Hart Park and Museum, Newhall, California. Detail of wall

OCTOBER

 

Los Angeles Flower mart

Succulents at Los Angeles Flower Mart, downtown

NOVEMBER

City Hall Christmas Eve

An early Christmas present to the people of LA as the tree at Grand Park mirrors Los Angeles City Hall.

DECEMBER

View from Baldwin Overlook

View of downtown Los Angeles and snow on the mountains from the highest point in Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (a California State Park).

I haven’t been on WordPress very much lately. I haven’t given up but I made a big decision and it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time. I probably won’t be posting much here but I will make the effort to go look at your posts to keep up with what you are doing. In the meantime, you can join me on my personal page on Facebook (Roslyn M Wilkins in Culver City). If you send me a friend request and I recognize who you are, I will respond. Or join me on my photo page by clicking on the Roslyn’s Photoart image in the right hand column.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!

 


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BG and RMW’s big birthday bash

pershing square building

Pershing Square Building in downtown LA with PERCH restaurant/bar on the roof.

My birthday is in May and my friend BG’s birthday is in June so we decided to have a birthday bash this past Saturday. The last time we did a birthday bash was two years ago which I documented at this link.

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/belated-birthday-bash/

Left to right. US Bank Building, Deloitte Building (formerly Gas Building), new construction, California Plaza (in background), Title Guarantee Building, Pershing Square Building (peeking in at right side)

We’re in the middle of June Gloom (not to be confused with May Gray although very similar!). The good news is the sun usually comes out late morning/early afternoon.

downtown la

Not sure what building this is but I love the mural

We both live in Culver City so we took the Expo Line train to 7th Street Metro Center Station and walked a few blocks (we could have transferred to the Red Line and exited at Pershing Square but it wasn’t worth the effort for a one-minute ride).

downtown la

There’s construction going on all over LA these days… mixed use projects… too much traffic, too many people…

 

downtown la

Detail of the Pershing Square Building. The 1920s were the glory days of downtown… fortunately most of the beaux artes and art deco buildings still remain to live a new life today.

downtown la

We took the elevator to Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. We ordered our drinks. B liked the idea of the My Fair Lady with vodka. I ordered the gin Hemingway on the Beach. I don’t particularly like very sweet drinks and this fit the bill. We each had two cocktails (it was our birthday bash…).

downtown la

We both ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I happen to be an expert on this dish (!) and I have to say this was about the best I have ever laid eyes on and eaten! They came with Perch potatoes that melted in my mouth. I’m also a potato aficionado…

downtown la

I can only assume these were the original 1920s tile floors… exquisite.

downtown la

downtown la

If you love downtown LA as I do, you can’t go wrong with this view. As I was sucking up the huevos I was looking directly at the Title Guaranty Building. Originally built as an office building it is now re-used as residential lofts, as are many of the 1920s office buildings in downtown.

California Plaza in the center. Beneath it is the Subway Building. Yes, there was a subway in LA.

downtown la

Looking down on Pershing Square with the Biltmore Hotel at right middle.

It’s fabulous to see the revitalization of downtown which really began in the 1980s. Before that it had become a virtual dead zone. It’s weird to think that most of the people who now live downtown in converted lofts and apartments weren’t even on the planet when the area was pretty much desolate. But I remember!

la downtown

Detail of the Title Guaranty Building

la downtownWe were told that our table reservation could only be held for 15 minutes if we were late. We could see why as the place was packed for lunch on Saturday.

la downtown

We were entertained by Emma-Jane and her band. A lovely selection of songs.

la downtown

View of the restaurant interior and bar

la downtown

We visited the 16th floor which is a bar only. Looked very cosy. And the sun was coming out.

la downtown

US Bank Building, Biltmore Hotel,Deloitte Building, California Plaza

We could have stayed at Perch for the rest of the day as we felt so relaxed and comfortable. But it was time to move on.

la downtown
We were on our way to the Intercontinental Wilshire Grand. On the way we passed one of my favorite buildings, originally the Sanwa Bank Building, not sure what it is currently. It’s a beautiful 1990s homage to the art deco style of the 1920s.

la downtown

Street entrance to Wilshire Grand Hotel

la downtown

Entrance to Wilshire Grand

 

la downtown
Across the street, another of my favorite buildings, originally a Home Savings bank, the lobby is on the 6th floor to allow parking on the lower floors because the Red Line train station was built under the building where underground parking would have been. Maybe the new Wilshire Grand took a cue from Home Savings with their 70th floor lobby?

la downtownla downtownThe Wilshire Grand lobby offers fabulous views of downtown, an upscale bar and comfy seating.

la downtown

la downtownThis thingamajig is holding the building up!

la downtownThe first time I saw the view from these windows I had a bad vertigo attack. Now I’ve been up there a few times it doesn’t bother me. It’s all in the head.

la downtownView of Echo Park Lake, about 3 miles from downtown. This reminded me that I need to visit there before the Lotus flowers fade.

la downtown
We ordered drinks… some concoction with Roses Lime Juice. Very tasty but too sweet for me.

We ordered drinks  At 4:00pm the open air rooftop bar opened… we were on it! I felt like I was on a cruise ship. Hmm… it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a cruise… I think I’m ready to go again!

la downtown

The mast which makes this the fake tallest building in LA!

la downtown

B ordered another sweet drink but I went with a Gin Gibson to get that tart onion flavor. We shared an order of chicken wings for some much needed protein.

santa monica

It was a wonderful experience sitting on top of the world, but we wanted to go west to the Santa Monica Pier to finish up the day. Fortunately we were just a few footsteps away from the train station. So we jumped on the Expo Line and headed for the beach. The pier was jammed with people out for a summer evening.

la downtownWe were glad we weren’t driving and having to hunt for a parking space!

santa monicaAll the cars on Pacific Coast Highway were heading back into town.

santa monica

santa monica

Despite all the people I always love to see the ocean. There’s no way I could ever live far from it.

santa monica

santa monica

We walked back into downtown Santa Monica. santa monica

The Third Street Promenade was alive and well on a Saturday night. We were looking for ice cream but settled for milk shakes. I ordered a Kit Kat shake. The last time I had a milk shake was at a McDonald’s in Oregon in 2015. It was a vanilla shake and possibly the best thing I ever ate in my life! But this shake was even better. Maybe in three years I can have another shake!

We headed home to Culver City on the Expo Line, two very happy birthday girls…

 

 

 


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Deck the halls of DTLA

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Los Angeles City Hall at right mirrored with Christmas tree

Thanks to my friend SB for walking around Downtown Los Angeles (otherwise known as DTLA) with me today. It’s no secret I love downtown and I especially love it at Christmas… otherwise know as “The Holidays.” As anybody who knows me is aware, I embrace all religions and follow none. But I was brought up with Christmas, so that’s the way it is!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The above photo advertises El Dia de Los Muertos which is celebrated at Grand Park with installations honoring the dead, a Mexican tradition. The N.Y.E.L.A. poster is for the New Years Eve party hosted at Grand Park. At right is the reflection of the fountain.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A reflection in a window of the fountain with Christmas decoration on the left half. I always love Christmas with palm trees! After being too hot, today the temperature was around 70F (21C), my perfect temperature!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This was the window of the gift shop. We assumed the colorful tubes represent the pipes of the organ in the hall. And you can see the reflection of City Hall peeking up behind the pipes.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations in the window of the gift shop with reflections of clouds and palm trees. How Southern California is this?

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The exterior of the Broad Museum mirroring a reflection of the building next to it.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to California Plaza to look at the decorations. The Angels Flight train was coming up the track.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

City Hall in the background.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas trees reflected in the pool at California Plaza.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas tree and wreath inside the building with reflections from outside.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Another tree inside lobby of a building with reflections from outside. Obviously I’m obsessed with reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations inside the lobby, yes, with more reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking upwards from California Plaza

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Next we moved on to Grand Central Market. Loved this neon ad for Frontier Whiskey!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Grand Central Market Christmas Tree

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

One Bunker Hill didn’t disappoint with their decorations. But the coffee bar was closed for the weekend.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
One Bunker Hill is one of my favorite buildings any time of the year.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A very decent tree at the US Bank Building, the “real” tallest building in LA.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We then transported ourselves over to the Biltmore Hotel. We had lunch there at Smeraldi’s. We each ordered the mushroom bisque.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Absolute heaven. And we split the prawn sandwich. Equally as good. Just enough food. Would do that again for sure!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

I adore the Biltmore. I could live there!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Now this is what I call a Christmas tree. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. Sorry.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
They do a really great “tea” in the afternoons.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas in LA cannot be complete without a visit to the skating rink at Pershing Square. The little kids have “penguins” to hold on to. It’s great to see them fall and get up again and still enjoy themselves. A lesson there for all of us!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking up from Pershing Square.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Pacific Mutual always has some good decorations. I love all the 1920s buildings in downtown but this one is special to me as when I did my LA Conservancy training this was the building I had to present in order to become a docent. It’s hard for me to believe now but I was so nervous I almost decided to quit the program before I had to give my talk. Glad I didn’t!

After this we visited the brand new Wilshire Grand Hotel. We took the elevator up to the lobby on the 70th floor. I had a bad vertigo attack looking out of the windows as there are no railings to hold on to. Why not??? In any case it was horribly hazy from all the fires so I could not have taken any photos anyway. But it would certainly be an impressive view on a clear day. Some other time, for sure!


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Saturday adventure part two – lunch time at Grand Central Market

Central Market

After our visit to Watts Towers we hopped the Blue Line to the Red Line and trotted on over to the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. It was lunch time!

Central Market

We split up and bought our lunches at a variety of eateries. We had a choice of dozens of vendors spread out over 30,000 square feet (2787 square meters). A shrimp curry tickled my fancy. We regrouped and enjoyed our disparate dishes.

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and has been in continuous operation ever since… that means in just two years it will celebrate its 100th birthday. Quite an achievement in a city where everything gets torn down or reinvented every few years. But LA is growing up and recognizing that history is not irrelevant.

Grand Central Market

Like much of downtown, by the 1980s Grand Central Market wasn’t much to look at. In 1984 a developer named Ira Yellin bought the market (along with other iconic buildings in downtown) and initiated its revitalization. The market is still a work in progress, but as you can see from the photos, it is a popular place for tourists and Angelenos alike.

Grand Central Market

The market hosts special events from live model drawing classes to bread festivals to game nights.

Grand Central Market

A pupusa, anybody?

Grand Central Market

You can purchase anything from grass-fed organic meat to ice cream and coffee to Mexican candy to fruits and veggies to imported moles. No, not that kind of mole… the sauce used in Mexican cuisine!

Grand Central Market

Now I’m making myself hungry. Well, next time I’m in the downtown area I may go for that shrimp curry again.

central-market-071115-026-C-800px Grand Central Market

When you are at Grand Central Market, cross the street and visit Angels Flight. Sad to say it is no longer running and I’ve heard no recent news about it, but I keep my fingers crossed that one day soon I can ride it again. When it’s running it’s billed as “The Shortest Railway in the World.”

angels flight  All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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All the way to Iowa by public transportation

uss iowa san pedro

Launched on August 27, 1942, USS Iowa (BB-61) was the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 29th state. The battleship was towed to her permanent (and hopefully final) home in Los Angeles on June 9, 2012.

On Sunday some friends and I decided to visit the Iowa which now is a museum, telling the stories of World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War.

uss iowa san pedro

Our mission, should we decide to accept it, was to travel by public transportation. I left Culver City on the Expo Line train and met up with the six other members of our group in downtown LA. We boarded the Silver Line to the Harbor Gateway Transit Center in Carson to transfer to the San Pedro 450 Metro bus. The trip, including the 20 minute walk from my house to the train station, took me about 2 1/2 hours. For other people it was 3 hours. This is why public transportation in LA is so difficult: the distances are so vast.

uss iowa san pedro

In May 2014, the ship was named Number 13 on the list of “Most Popular Things To Do in LA” by TripAdvisor, beating out Universal Studios and the Hollywood Bowl. That’s impressive.

uss iowa san pedroThe Iowa is the West Coast’s only battleship museum.

uss iowa san pedroShe is the only battleship to be fitted out with a bathtub and an elevator. This was to accommodate President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair during his voyage to the Tehran Conference with Churchill and Stalin in 1943.

USS Iowa has been decommissioned and recommissioned several times. The last decommission was in 1990. However, she is on standby to be recommissioned at any time so has to be kept in working order.

uss iowa san pedro

The Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, where the ship is docked, is the largest container port in the US. These are some of the cranes on their day off.

An iddy biddy bullet, otherwise known as a shell. Some could weigh as much as 2,700 lbs (1225 kgs).

uss iowa san pedro

Loading bay. I would not want to be one of the crew shoving the shells into place.

uss iowa san pedro

The Iowa class of battleships remain the most heavily armed gunships the United States has ever had on the seas.

uss iowa san pedro

Don’t know how well you can see in this photo but if you look closely you can see how incredibly long this corridor is.

When you are on the self-guided tour of the ship, docents are posted along the way to tell stories and explain the different areas. These are mostly ex-service men who actually served on the battleships.

One of the gentlemen was a spritely 89 year old. That’s one way to stay young by doing something useful that you can be enthusiastic about.

Two cruise ships were docked in the harbor. Above is the Costa Atlantica. In the right hand photo the ship’s guns are aimed squarely at her hull.

uss iowa san pedro

The hardest part of the tour for me was clambering up and down these ladders between decks. The ship seemed to be about a mile high. Every time we reached a new level I thought we had to have reached the top. But no, there was another level, another ladder and it just kept going. This indoor ladder wasn’t too bad but on the exterior ones I was sucking in my fear of heights (and ladders) big time the higher we climbed.

After the tour we walked down to the Ports o’ Call Village and ate lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Boats going by in the channel, the Southern California sun beating down, a plate of calamari and a Samuel Adams beer. And the good company of friends. Life doesn’t get better than that!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Thirsty afternoon in the Desert Garden at the Huntington Library

huntington-library-090414-018-C-850pxI see it’s been a month since I posted on my blog. A lot of things happened and I could write about 30 posts! But for now I’ll keep it down to this one!huntington library cactus garden

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Los Angeles has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums, galleries, gardens, parks, etc. And I feel fortunate that I could spend the rest of my life going out every day and visiting these places and still not be done. But because of other responsibilities and priorities I don’t get out and around enough and I am always missing exhibitions and events that I really want to see.

huntington library cactus garden

This fruit looks just like grapes but the sign warns that it is poisonous.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (next door to Pasadena) is a place I could visit once a week and still find something new. Once a month they have a free day. But you have to be on the phone or email the nanosecond they open up the reservation lines in order to get a ticket. Ticketing opens at 9:00 am the first day of the previous month. By 9:02 am they are sold out! I was lucky enough to score a pass for September 4.

huntington library cactus garden

Getting there from Culver City without a car is quite a trek. But you know I love public transportation so I left my beautiful car at home and set out for a long and twisted journey by train. My ticket was good for a morning entrance anytime before noon. Sometimes in the mornings time gets away from me, and my goodness, it surely did this morning. I knew I had a two and a half hour trip ahead of me and I left the house at 9:30!huntington library cactus garden

A twenty-minute fast walk got me from my front door to the Culver City station platform. Then a change from the Expo Line to the Red Line. Then from the Red Line to the Gold Line. Normally I enjoy all the “training” but this day I was in a sweat because time was ticking by. Not to mention it was a very warm, humid day. We won’t go into that…

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at my destination, Allen Station in Pasadena, at 11:20. I knew it was a 30 minute walk to the Huntington gate, then probably another ten minutes through the parking lot to the entrance. Huff puff, huff puff. If somebody had thrown a bucket of ice on me at that point I would have been grateful!

huntington library cactus garden

I did see a bus go by but it turned a few blocks ahead of me so it wouldn’t have helped much. I like to walk. I just don’t like it when I have no time to spare.

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at the entrance minutes before my ticket supposedly expired. I handed it over and the guy didn’t even look at it… gaaah, I could have sauntered in there at 2:00pm and nobody would have cared. Oh well, I know I got there on time and that’s all that counts!

huntington library cactus garden

The park closes at 4:30 so even though I wasn’t there as early as I would have liked (I intended to be there by 10:30) I had several hours to saunter around taking photos. I knew I wasn’t going to hit any of the galleries this time… that will be another blog post. I primarily wanted to take some shots of the Desert Garden as that is my favorite area.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

I don’t know exactly what the temperature was on this day. San Marino, tucked up against the mountains and far, far away from the ocean, can get pretty much beyond my tolerance for heat… which is why I live in a more temperate climate. For instance, today the temperature is soaring to 97 F (36 C) degrees in San Marino and only 85 F (29 C) in Culver City. Anything above 80 F (26 C) degrees makes my blood boil.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

Whatever the temperature was it was certainly perfect for the cacti and other desert plants. I had to take a couple of photos then dive for the nearest patch of shade. I didn’t have water with me but there were drinking fountains in strategic locations which saved me from turning into bacon.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

As you can see, I love taking shots of winding paths and there are plenty in the Desert Garden. It’s easy to get lost!

huntington library cactus garden

The Desert Garden covers ten acres. It began 100 years ago with plants from local nurseries, private residences, public parks, and from collection trips to the Southwest and Mexican deserts. Today it has grown to over 5,000 species.

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

In our severe Southern California drought, this is the kind of garden we should all have…. dig up your lawns and plant a desert garden!

huntington library desert garden

Desert plants aren’t exactly roses bushes or geraniums in their flowering patterns so when you do see a little splash of color it is that much more exciting.

huntington library desert garden

I think I probably enjoy cactus as I was brought up in England and didn’t see one growing in the wild until I was a teenager. In all their various shapes and configurations, desert plants never cease to fascinate me. If we do find life on Mars my guess is they will be growing cacti in their front yards!

huntington library desert garden

I would have loved to linger longer in the Desert Garden but the heat was really getting to me. The water in the drinking fountains I encountered was warm and I needed deep shade.

huntington library desert garden

So although this bench was tempting for a little rest I decided my best option was to find an area with water… like the lily ponds.

huntington library desert garden

Fortunately the ponds were just a few yards away so I reluctantly said farewell to my prickly friends and headed over there.

huntington library desert garden

I’ll sort through the photos from the rest of my day at the Huntington and be back with some cooler images on another post.

huntington library cactus garden

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the Desert Garden!

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

huntington-library-090414-185-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-186-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-189-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-191-C-850px

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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A Flight into the past of Los Angeles

Many good memories were stirred up when I had a business meeting downtown on Thursday at the Biltmore Hotel. When I was a Downtown Walking Tour docent for the Los Angeles Conservancy many years ago, I gave tours of the hotel. I also used to start my Marble Masterpieces tours in the Rendezvous Court (the original lobby). I miss leading those walks but there are only so many things one person can do at one time, and life goes on. 

Of the four tour guides who were in the meeting I had already worked with three of them. Like any field of work, tour guiding is a finite world and after a while there are only so many new people you are going to meet.

Los Angeles Downtown Angel's Flight

Angel's Flight with jacarandas

When the interview was over I decided to wander around some of my favorite places.  I walked over to California Plaza and rode Angel’s Flight, the funicular railway, down to Hill Street and the Grand Central Market. Angel’s Flight was built in 1901 and originally ran from Hill Street at Third Street up to Olive Street. It was dismantled in 1969 to make way for the Bunker Hill redevelopment project. The twin cars Sinai and Olivet languished in storage for 27 years. In 1996 the railway was reopened a half block south of the original location.

Los Angeles Downtown Angel's Flight

Angel's Flight inside the car on descent

Although the original cars were utilized the engineering was all new. Unfortunately it was built on faulty principles and the cables failed in 2001 killing an 83-year-old passenger. So Sinai and Olivet went back into storage and the owner of the engineering company fled, never to be seen again. Happily in March of 2010 the railway was certified as safe (it was re-engineered more closely to the original design) and has been running since with no problems.

This was my first ride since the accident and it was wonderful to once again greet my old friends Olivet and Sinai. The most fun part of the short ride (all of 298 feet) is when the cars meet halfway down (or up) the track and you think for sure they must collide.

Los Angeles Downtown Angel's Flight

Angel's Flight entrance with Sinai and Olivet approaching each other

Although it was still early my tummy was pleading to be fed so I crossed the street to the Grand Central Market. Founded in 1917, the market was upgraded in the 1980s with 52 neon signs marking the diverse stalls. Since my last visit several years ago the market has shrunk. But it is still lively and offers everything from spices and fruit to meat and fish. I decided to try a burrito pescado at Roast to Go. I’ve eaten plenty of fish tacos but never a fish burrito before. I also ordered a Jamaica (pronounced ham-eye-aka), a tea made of hibiscus and my favorite drink at Mexican restaurants.

Los Angeles Downtown Grand Central Market

Burrito pescado at Grand Central Market

The burrito was muy grande and I hate to admit that I ate the whole thing (although not the tortilla wrapping which I left—too many carbs). It came with a whole cut-up lemon.

Los Angeles Downtown Temple Street jacarandas

Los Angeles Downtown Temple Street jacarandas

I rode Angel’s Flight back up to California Plaza and to work off the burrito I walked through the Music Center, over to the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels (sat through part of a service), then down Temple to Spring. I stopped to take some photos of the jacarandas. Several people turned around and stared to see what I was shooting, perhaps hoping for a celebrity sighting—sorry, merely the beautiful purple trees, didn’t you notice them?

It was noon and the sun was heating up. I walked eight long blocks along Spring Street to catch the 733 Rapid back to the cooler breezes of Culver City.

For a photo gallery click here.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)


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Everything coming up roses at Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden

Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden

Looking towards Natural History Museum

Exposition Park Rose Garden near downtown Los Angeles has been described as the largest rose garden in the world. The garden opened in 1927 with over 15,000 rose bushes in over 100 varieties. Currently the garden boasts more than 20,000 rose bushes and more than 200 varieties spread over seven acres.

Operated by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks, the garden is popular for weddings and family gatherings as well as a beautiful backdrop for movies. I saw four ladies with their art gear looking for a good spot to set up and draw or paint.

Exposition Park Rose Garden

Rose with fountain

Through the years the Rose Garden has been threatened by being demolished for a parking garage and a football field. But thanks to the citizens of Los Angeles rising up in opposition, this did not happen. Let’s hope the garden will continue for generations to come.

Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden

Looking towards the Science Museum

Last week my mother’s senior living residence planned a trip to the Rose Garden and I decided to ride along. I have been to the Rose Garden in past years but this year seemed to me to be especially colorful. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and aroma of all these wonderful blossoms in a multitude of shades of reds, pinks, yellows and whites—a spectacular sight indeed.

Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden

"Flowers are the poetry of the earth"

The park includes four gazebos and a central fountain. Enscribed on one of the pedestals at the entrance is the sentiment, “Flowers are the poetry of the earth.”

Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden

Roses, roses, roses and more roses

I don’t know how long the blooms last but right now they seem to be at their best. So if you want to visit the roses I would suggest sooner is better than later. (The park is closed to the public from January 1st to March 15th of each year for annual maintenance.)

For a photo gallery, click here.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins.)


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West Adams District: A surprise in the middle of Los Angeles

west adams district

Driving from West Los Angeles along the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) towards downtown a sign appears reading “Historic West Adams.” Drive on by and you will miss one of the oldest and most architecturally significant neighborhoods in the city. Many of the homes in this area were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s—almost prehistoric compared to the rest of Los Angeles. Take the Western Avenue exit, head south to Adams then zig-zag (walking is good) through the neighborhood bordered by Adams and the 10, Western and Vermont. West Adams extends beyond these boundaries but this will give you a great first taste.

At a glance, Victorian and Craftsman are the predominant architectural styles. The West Adams Historical Society lists “Victorian, Queen Anne, Stick/Eastlake, Shingle, Mission, Transitional Arts and Crafts, Beaux Arts and the Revival Styles, and Craftsman.” Most of the homes are well cared for. Over the decades people have moved into the area with the express purpose of renovating and maintaining the houses.

west adams district

My friend KL and I walked and drove around the area recently. As we turned a corner we encountered a beautiful transitional house (Victorian/Craftsman). A man was walking out of the garage so I asked him if he was the owner. We told him we were admiring the architecture in the neighborhood and he very graciously invited us in to see the downstairs rooms.

He bought the house in the late 1980s and has been meticulously renovating it ever since. He showed us photos from when he first saw it when it was used as a drug flop house and the interior had been totally trashed. We were both amazed by the transformation—definitely a labor of love.

When I returned home I looked him up on the internet and discovered he is one of the authors of the book West Adams (Images of America). How exciting is that! Needless to say, I had to buy the book!  

west adams district

In its heyday, West Adams was home to such luminaries as Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Busby Berkley (whose mansion is now the Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy which I enjoyed visiting some years ago), W.C. Fields, and yes, even Wyatt Earp who lived out his last years in the area. 

Starting in the 1920s wealthy whites began to gravitate westwards towards prestigious new neighborhoods in West LA, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood. Through the 1940s and 50s, professional and celebrity blacks moved into West Adams. In the 1950s and 60s the neighborhood was sliced up by the Harbor and Santa Monica Freeways causing the area to deteriorate. By the 1980s a new wave of homeowners moved in who were willing and able to restore the homes to their previous glory. In 1983 the West Adams Heritage Association was formed and today boasts hundreds of members.

So put on your walking shoes, grab your camera, and allow your imagination to take you back to a grand and elegant era in the cultural heritage of Los Angeles.

For a photo gallery click here.

For more information visit the West Adams Heritage Association website.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)