Photos: Top of City Hall

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There were two good things about my recent jury duty service — I was dismissed after one day and during lunch I checked out the view from the observation deck at City Hall. Yes, there is an observation deck at…

Riding the Expo Line

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Readers of this blog (there are one or two) know that I often write about transportation issues, including mass transit. So I thought it was a bit odd that I never, ever rode public transportation in all of my time…

L.A.’s Original Lamppost Art

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Lovers of the “Urban Light” lamppost art installation that dominates the entrance to LACMA (after six years I am still on the fence about it) might want to head over to a nondescript strip mall in East Hollywood where the…

Reimagining L.A. Rail

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While I am an advocate of public transportation, I have written several times against the Wilshire subway, arguing that a single East-West line with nearly no connections to other train lines would be virtually useless. So instead of my usual…

Memories of Super Bowl XVII

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Watching the Super Bowl on Sunday put me in mind of Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl in 1983 — that’s because I was there and it was my first trip to Los Angeles. A friend won the right…

Rams Coming Back to L.A.?

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Will there be a homecoming between the St. Louis Rams and Los Angeles (well, Inglewood, actually)? Rams owner Stan Kroenke has bought a 60-acre plot of land between now-closed Hollywood Park and the Forum. “We have yet to decide what…

Photos: L.A. Dingbats

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If you think “dingbat” is just a cruel nickname for Edith Bunker, then you obviously do not live in Los Angeles. Here, the dingbat is a small, two-story multi-unit apartment building with parking in front underneath the elevated building. They…

Photos: L.A. Random Signs

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Lately I have been posting photos of cool signs that I have stumbled upon around town, including those from bowling alleys, liquor stores and motels. Here are a random few that do not fit into any particular category:

Photos: L.A. Motels

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You can stay at the fancy shmancy W Hotel or Four Seasons when you visit Los Angeles. Or you might choose the classic Beverly Hills Hotel or Chateau Marmont. Sure, you’ll get great service and a luxurious room. But you…

Staggered Left Turn Lanes

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From the transportation files of “good idea in theory, bad in practice” comes the staggered left turn lanes. Not only are they a bad idea, they are potentially dangerous. Most intersections are symmetrical; the left turn lanes are exactly in…

Losing Hollywood Sign View

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Many years ago when I lived in New York, my gym looked out on a low-rise building that housed the Tower Records on the Upper West Side. At some point they decided to replace it with a high-rise, and I…

Photos: L.A. Liquor Stores

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There really is no need for liquor stores in Los Angeles; after all, supermarkets sell booze at reasonable prices. But thank heavens there are liquor stores here because without them, we would not have some really cool signs dotting the…

Bad Idea: Extended Green Lights

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Los Angeles has allegedly synced its traffic lights, but now the city has another problem to fix — extended green lights. On the surface, it seems like a good idea — make the green lights longer on major streets where…

Photos: L.A. Bowling Alleys

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There was a time when bowling was one of the great American pastimes. That is no longer the case, and little by little those palaces built for the sport in the 50s and 60s are going away. Many of the…

Photos: L.A. Supermarkets

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Among the great things about Los Angeles are the mid-century and Googie-style buildings that dot our landscape. There used to be more of them, but many of these architectural gems have met with the wrecking ball over the years. Many…

LAX Creates Ghost Town

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I read an article recently in the Los Angeles Times about a neighborhood called Manchester Square that the good folks over at nearby LAX have turned into a virtual “ghost town.” A ghost town in the middle of Los Angeles?…

NLCS at Dodger Stadium

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How is it possible that I have had this blog for three years and have not written about Dodger Stadium, one of my favorite things about Los Angeles? Probably because I hadn’t been there for four years. I kept saying,…

Mmm: Top Round Roast Beef

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I was driving up La Brea last week when I spotted something on the otherwise forgettable corner of Olympic — a food stand called “Top Round Roast Beef.” I did not remember seeing it before. Now, I will not soon…

Review: “The Sunshine Boys”

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A few weeks ago I called my girlfriend and said, “I am about to say words that you never thought would come out of my mouth.” Perhaps she was expecting a sentence with the word “marry” in it, but instead…

Video: “Los Angeles Plays Itself”

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I had heard about the somewhat notorious film “Los Angeles Plays Itself” for some time now. It explores how our fair city has been depicted on film, using movie clips from said films. However, the movie was never released because…

New York Needs an Angels Flight

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Los Angeles is always accused of “borrowing” ideas from New York, but here’s one lesson the Big Apple should take from sunny Los Angeles — New York needs an Angels Flight. I am spending some time this summer in New…

Petersen Museum’s Terrible Idea

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There must be something in the water at Fairfax and Wilshire. Hot on the heels of the awful proposal to tear down the original three LACMA buildings and replace it with an imposing ink blot comes a new “vision” for…

Tom Bergin’s Closing!

Legendary Los Angeles Irish bar/restaurant Tom Bergin’s abruptly announced Wednesday night that it is closing its doors for good on Sunday. How is this possible? Without giving a reason for the closure, the restaurant posted on its Facebook page: We…

Photo: Pan-Pacific Auditorium Fire

This photo popped up on the fine Facebook page Mid Century Modern and Historical Los Angeles in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and I just needed to share it because I had never seen it before. It depicts the beautiful…

LACMA Plan Not Terrible, Still Wrong

LACMA is set to reveal its grand plan next week to destroy the original three classic mid-century buildings and replace them with a self-described “ink blot.” The museum gave a sneak peak to the Los Angeles Times, and while it’s…

I Voted; You Probably Didn’t

Los Angeles elected a new mayor on Tuesday — Eric Garcetti, by a 54-46 margin over Wendy Greuel. But if the appallingly low voter turnout numbers are any indication, odds are you couldn’t care less. Around 19% of the city’s…

Another “Starchitect” Threatens LACMA

A few years ago a so called “starchitect” proposed a dramatic, drastic plan for LACMA — knock down everything and start new. The scheme was ultimately defeated with help from preservationists who were determined to save LACMA’s original buildings. Now…

Doing Bicycle Lanes Right

I think it is great that a bicycling wave is hitting Los Angeles; after all, our weather is perfect for year-round cycling as a way of commuting. The city has responded by installing miles and miles of bike lanes. However,…

Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies

It is a sad day in the Los Angeles sports world — Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died. Buss died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was being treated for cancer. He was 80 years old. Buss bought…

Henry’s Tacos to Close

I don’t venture into the Valley very often; I mean, what’s there to see? But I did go on Friday to pay my respects to Henry’s Tacos, which is set to close on December 31. Henry’s and its Googie sign…

LACMA Rock Succumbs to Rain

The boulder at the center of LACMA’s “Levitated Mass” was billed as the largest thing transported since, like, medieval times or whatever they said. At 340-tons it is indestructible. Unless it rains a little, of course. Would-be visitors to the…

Photos: Los Angeles from Above

When you are booking one of those $9 Spirit Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you can’t pick your seat unless you want to pay an additional $5. I refuse to do this for moral reasons (read, cheap),…

NFL: We Want Dodger Stadium

With all the momentum gaining towards construction of an NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles, the league is now saying it prefers Dodger Stadium as the ideal home for one or two football teams. CBSSports.com reports that at a league…

Terrible Fairfax & 6th Intersection

Here’s one intersection to avoid — 6th Street and Fairfax, specifically if you are going East on 6th. It is a nightmare. A few years ago apparently as part of The Grove Traffic Mitigation Plan, the city installed a short median…

Culver City Steps Needs Crosswalk

I have raved about the Culver City Steps several times in these pages. I was back there last weekend and I realized that something major is missing — a crosswalk. There is plenty of street parking on Jefferson, but you…

Photo: LACMA Lawn Before Rock

In the fall of 2010, LACMA opened the Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, complete with a  lush lawn behind it. Just a few short months later, crews began ripping up the lawn to prepare for the arrival of Levitated Mass. It was…

Grand Park is a Grand Park!

I paid a visit to Downtown’s new Grand Park on Saturday, and it definitely lives up to its name. It is brilliantly conceived and executed and is a welcome addition to the burgeoning Downtown scene. The park is a 12-acre…

My Verdict on LACMA Rock

So I’ve walked under the giant rock at LACMA several times and I’ve run past it every day for the past couple of weeks. I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath, and now my verdict is in: Meh. I…

California High-Speed Rail Approved

On Friday the California state Senate approved $8 billion to fund the first segment of the bullet train from Southern California to San Francisco. “I think what we did today is going to be seen over many years as a…

Eichler Tract in Granada Hills

I recently ventured into the Valley (for a former New Yorker, that’s like going to New Jersey!) to check out the Joseph Eichler tract of houses in Granada Hills. Eichler was a developer who had a taste for modern architecture.…

Barren Landscape Around LACMA Rock

While people debate the merits of LACMA’s giant “Levitated Mass” rock (Is it art? It sits on metal shelves — it’s not levitating at all! $10 million for this?), I will throw one more question into the equation — why…

Photos & Video: LACMA Rock Open!

Decades in the making (apparently), the giant rock at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is now open to the public. Dozens of people were walking under the suspended 340-ton boulder at about noon Sunday, an hour after it…

Great L.A. Views: Windsor Blvd

I don’t care what anybody says — Los Angeles is a beautiful city. Critics say there are too many billboards and too many parking lots, but we know the truth about our town. Because the city has elevation in places,…

Fairfax & 3rd Trader Joe’s

The Trader Joe’s/Mendocino Farms complex on Fairfax and 3rd opened a few weeks ago. They did a really nice job. But… Let’s get to the positives first. They are really nice buildings — kind of mid century looking, the colors…

“High Cost of Free Parking” Review

While writing about parking issues in the past I have quoted excerpts I found online from the book “The High Cost of Free Parking” by Donald Shoup, disagreeing with virtually everything he has to say. Shoup seems to think free…

Ugliest Building in Los Angeles?

I nominate this building as the ugliest building in Los Angeles. This monstrosity sits on Wilshire Blvd., just west of Fairfax. If features lovely black permanent scaffolding. I guess they assumed the building would always need constant work. Then there…

The Grove Bans Manny Pacquiao

This is one of those stories you think has to be a joke, but then it turns out it is all too real — superstar boxer Manny Pacquiao has been banned from stepping foot into The Grove because of anti-gay…

Wilshire Subway is Coming!

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday approved the final environmental impact report for the first 3.9 miles of what used to be called the “Subway to the Sea” but what is now called the Westside Subway Extension…

Where to Play Poker in L.A.

So you are sitting home one night and you decide you want to play some poker. It’s too late to get four friends together, and you don’t feel like driving the four hours to Las Vegas. And you certainly can’t…

Photos: L.A.’s Amazing Sudden Growth

LACMA flung open its doors on Saturday for the final weekend of Pacific Standard Time. It’s entry into the massive 60+ museum and gallery show was called “California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way,” featuring mid-century furniture, artifacts, photos,…

Magic Johnson Group to Buy Dodgers

The group headed by Lakers legend Magic Johnson has been chosen to buy the Dodgers, multiple reports said Tuesday night. Guggenheim Partners — headed by Johnson and long-time baseball executive Stan Kasten — will reportedly pay $2 billion for the…

LACMA’s Rock has Arrived!

Under the cover of darkness early Saturday morning, a giant rig carrying an equally giant rock finally made its way to LACMA — only seven months behind schedule; not bad by Los Angeles standards. And in a few (alleged) short…

Video: Sculpture of Future L.A.

A really cool sculpture is on display at LACMA that presents one possible future of Los Angeles. It features moving cars and everything! If you can’t make it down to the museum, here is a video of it:

LACMA Rock Begins to Roll

After a more than six-month delay, the giant boulder that will be the centerpiece of a likely very permanent art installation at LACMA began its journey to the museum Tuesday night. The 21-foot high, 340-ton boulder that has spent the…

Photos: L.A. Car Washes

Way back when, when they decided for better or for worse that the car would be king in Los Angeles, the need arose for places to clean the smoggy filth off of those cars. As was the style in the…

Five Guys Burgers to Open 2/14

Can’t get a dinner reservation for Valentine’s Day? Then grab your lucky date by the hand and run, don’t walk, to Five Guys Burgers at 5550 Wilshire. Sources tell I Love Los Angeles, But… that the burger joint will have…

Common Sense Prevails in L.A.!

One of my pet peeves about our fair city are all of the varying parking restrictions around town. I have written in the past that something needs to be done about them — I think they are anti-business; people need…

When is Tom Bergin’s Reopening?

Where have I been?! I only noticed a couple of week’s ago that legendary Irish bar Tom Bergin’s is closed for renovations — since July! So, when will the Guinness be flowing again? Well, initially it was supposed to reopen…

What Does this Sign Mean?!

There are many things about transportation in Los Angeles that are puzzling — the lack of left turn lights at major intersections, unnecessary parking restrictions, the Subway-to-the-Sea that does not reach the sea — but this sign I stumbled upon on…

Shame on Los Angeles!

If you drive around Los Angeles, and all of us who live here spend plenty of time doing that, you will see that the landscape is dotted with empty lots and abandoned buildings waiting for the wrecking ball. It is…

End of an Era: Davids All Gone

It is the end of a quirky era in Los Angeles — the David House is no more. Well, the house is still there,  but the 19 infamous statues that gave the Hancock Park home its name are gone. They…

Five Guys Burgers IS Coming to 5550!

So it turns out Five Guys Burgers is indeed coming to 5550 Wilshire on the Miracle Mile. I Love Los Angeles, But… reported in August that the East Coast Burger joint’s website said a restaurant there was “coming soon” and…

Photos: Sontag Drug Store

Just like movies have a taglines (classic example, “Weekend at Bernie’s — He’s the Life of the Party… Well, Almost), the tagline for Los Angeles should be “Out with the Old, in with the New,” and I’m not referring to…

My Visit to the David House

When visitors come to Los Angeles, it is common to take them to gaze at the stars on Hollywood Blvd., or maybe take a hike to the Hollywood sign, and of course, you’ve got to take them to the beach.…

It’s Official: L.A. Drivers Among Worst

The “good hands” people at Allstate have made official what anyone who has spent any time in Los Angeles already knows — Angelenos are among the worst drivers in the nation. The insurance company’s “America’s Best Drivers Report” released last…

My, How “Uninformed” I Am!

I was going to stop writing about my objections to the Wilshire subway — I really had nothing more to say. I think it will cost too much precious money, will take too long to build and will not impact…

Five Guys Burgers to 5550 Wilshire?

Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the hurricane and earthquake-ravaged East Coast’s attempt at being In-N-Out, is invading the turf of its inspiration, with a location in Culver City and one coming to Downtown (there were reports earlier this year that…

Photos: Before Park La Brea

I was recently standing on a balcony at LACMA looking North when my friend said “Yuck, so ugly” She was referring to Park La Brea. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but there is no argument that the facility’s…

An Alternative to Wilshire Subway

I’ve made no secret on this blog that I am against the subway under Wilshire that for some reason does not reach the sea. To reiterate, I am not against public transportation; I’m just against this public transportation. People seem…

The LACMA Travesty

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a travesty, architecturally speaking, that is. It is a random collection of buildings that have no relation to each other. But it wasn’t always this way, and it doesn’t have to be…

Car Show at Farmers Market 6/4

Don’t you hate it when you read about an event after it has already happened? You would have gone had you only known. Well, I’m giving you advance notice of one of my favorite annual events in Los Angeles —…

Video: Miracle Mile Under Construction

There has been a lot of buzz recently in the Los Angeles blogging world about Allison Martino’s excellent  “Lost” Angeles Time Table website, which features tons of old pictures of L.A., focusing on Googie and mid-century signs and buildings. She…

Coolest 2 1/2 Blocks in L.A.?

How would you like to come home every day and feel like you are smack dab in the middle of the 1950s? You could if you live in the historic Mar Vista Tract in West Los Angeles. Designed by mid-century master…

A Tale of Two Buildings

There are two white skyscrapers on Miracle Mile. As a fan of architecture, one meets all of my criteria for a building that I would like, and the other has all of characteristics of a building that I would not…

Video: Reyner Banham Tours LA

Reyner Banham’s 1971 book “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies” should be required reading for all residents of our fair city. I will write about him at length soon, but in brief, Banham was a Brit who first visited…

Los Angeles Holocaust Museum

Until I moved to the Miracle Mile area last spring, I used to take my daily runs in Pan Pacific Park. In the fall of 2008, ground was broken on the new Holocaust museum at the north end of the…

Video: Johnie’s on TV

I’ve written before about Johnie’s, the Googie masterpiece on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax. It is one of the few mid-century coffee shops in Los Angeles that has avoided the wrecking ball. It closed its doors to diners in 2000…

Transportation Proposal #4

How many times have you driven down a narrow one-way street here in Los Angeles when another car comes barrelling down the street towards you, you begin to pull over, but the other driver doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and…

No More Empty Shuttles at LAX

I was at LAX recently, waiting for the shuttle bus to take me to my parking lot, waiting and waiting and waiting, watching other shuttles pass me by until mine finally came. The one thing that jumped out at me…

Beachwood Signs to Hollywood Sign

I found myself driving on Beachwood Drive last week when I saw a sign that read “Hollywood Sign Scenic View,” with an arrow directing me up Ledgewood Drive. I don’t drive on Beachwood very often, but I don’t remember seeing…

Fixing Wilshire Blvd

After living for more than four years behind the iron bars of the Palazzo West, I was very happy to be moving to a  regular, less secure building on Miracle Mile, where I would actually have a relationship with the…

Transportation Proposal #3

This transportation proposal is dedicated to left turns. Now, left turns are a good thing — in fact in a recent survey it was voted the second favorite turn among drivers, just trailing the venerable right turn. However, a city has to…

Angels Flight, a Jewel of LA

At 298 feet, it is dubbed “The Short Railway in the World.” But as short as it is, Angels Flight is one of the jewels of Los Angeles. The funicular downtown reopened to passengers last March, and if you haven’t…

Photos: “Miracle Mile” the Movie

I recently became aware of the 1988 movie “Miracle Mile.” It’s about  a nuclear attack on the U.S. with our own Miracle Mile on Wilshire as ground zero. I don’t know what Hollywood has against this neighborhood. First it was bombed…

Illustrating My Parking Point

My Transportation Proposal #2 dealt with parking (you mean you didn’t read it?!). One of my issues was that parking restrictions are bad for business. I have a little parking story to illustrate that point. Last Saturday I wanted to go…

Why Light Rail is a Bad Idea

On Monday the Associated Press ran a story about the Blue Line and its dubious history of of accidents with pedestrians and vehicles. The story is a shining example of why trains, cars and people should not share the road,…

Photos: Rainbows Over Los Angeles

Sure the rain has been miserable, what with the mudslides and the flooding and the wet shoes. But when it all ended Wednesday afternoon, it left behind a double rainbow. The first, brighter arc of light seemed to begin at Hollywood…

Transportation Proposal #2

So you’ve driven to where you need to go, now you just have to find a place to park. In some areas, that’s easier said than done. Since the people of Los Angeles rely on cars, for better or worse, to…

Video: Final Years of Street Cars

Electric street cars criss-crossed Los Angeles for decades until 1963 when the last line was retired. That ushered in an era of gridlock that exists to this day. Here is some great video of the final years of the street…

Transportation Proposal #1

For a city that revolves around the automobile, it can be very difficult to get around town by car — and I’m not even talking about the traffic. I’m talking about decisions (or lack of them) made by our transportation…

Video: Vintage LA War Film

In addition to being a great time-waster, YouTube is a treasure trove of old videos about Los Angeles. I will be featuring them from time to time. This one is a World War II era film called “Our Town Today,” highlighting…

Photos: Before & After on Wilshire

As a guy who likes history and architecture, I love before and after photos, seeing how areas have changed over the years. I found this really great website called Yesterday LA, which promises “a tour of LA through vintage postcards.”…

Food Truck Battle on Wilshire

One of the first things I noticed about my new Miracle Mile neighborhood when I moved here in June was all of the food trucks that lined Wilshire Boulevard at lunchtime. There were at least ten every day. It was…

Top 10 Things in LA

A couple of years ago Los Angeles magazine held an NCAA-like bracket competition to determine what readers thought the best thing about Los Angeles was. In a brilliant marketing move, Amoeba Records basically hijacked the contest and urged people to…

Video: Monorail in the LA River

As I mentioned in my previous post about a monorail system for Los Angeles, connecting the Valley to the system is crucial. I found this video that advocates building a monorail in the Los Angeles River. It sounds ridiculous, but…

Must Stop Subway-Not-Quite-to-the-Sea

After decades of debate, last week the MTA finally chose a route for the long awaited and much heralded “Subway-to-the-Sea.” One problem (well, there are many, many problems) is that the subway doesn’t go to the sea at all. It dead ends…

I Love Los Angeles, But…

If you’ve stumbled onto this website and thought, “Yes! Another site to trash the crappy city that Los Angeles truly is,” then you might want to keep moving on. That is not what this site is all about. I Love…