Day 61 (March 2, 2014) – Los Angeles, CA
Sometimes the modern built environment is an incredible canvass for nature to paint.
It’s Sunday afternoon in sunny California…well..It’s sunny now, but when I arrived it was pouring rain. I’m more than happy to escape yet another snow storm in NY even if it Los Angeles decided to welcome me with rain. I’m staying in down town as I do every time I’m out here. No one thinks of downtown LA when they think LA. Most people think about the glitz and glamor of Hollywood or the beaches of Santa Monica…but for me.. downtown is my spot. It’s an interesting place to walk around – you see a mix of old art deco and pre-war architecture combined with new modern skyscrapers which are surprisingly tall given the city’s precarious location near a major earthquake fault line. As you walk around downtown you’ll see almost three or four different cities or people whose lives are so vastly different its hard to make sense of the circumstance. You will notice homelessness coupled with addiction issues as you head towards skid row; you will see young (and old) artist reclaiming an former industrial area and transforming it into a vibrant and colorful community; you might (actually you will at some point) bump into a random movie set complete with bright lights and the occasional car chase. As you continue to walk you’ll notice a large Latino population and well populated commercial corridor. You’ll see packed buses with service workers go to and from work and you’ll even see people rushing to the subway (yup…LA has a subway!). And lastly, you’ll see unbelievable wealth all around you -Porches and Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes – all the latest luxury cars can be seen crisscrossing the streets. This is definitely an interesting place and at times hard to understand. As a urban planner I know that the majority of the bus riders earn less than $15,000 a year and I know there are over 50,000 homeless people in LA County. I also know that there is extreme wealth with Hollywood turning out new millionaires on an annual basis.
The one thing everyone in this place has…is the LA sun. So, I look up and I am grateful for the warm weather and clouds that welcomed the sun.