I walked through the Lakewood Sheriff's Station parking lot on Sunday and noticed, lying in an eroded patch of asphalt in one of the stalls, a rosary. I picked it up. It was made of olive wood.
I thought the rosary had been broken in being run over by a car pulling out of the station, or it had been lost because the cord tying the beads into groups of ten had become undone.
Because even a discarded rosary means something to me, however tenuous, I planned to dispose of it respectfully.
I went over to take a look at the Long Beach Airport on Lakewood Boulevard the other day. The description "much beloved" is often attached to LGB. Curb to gate in 20 minutes is a real possibility.
Not only unstressful, Long Beach Airport also is a bargain. Because of lower costs for airline services, LGB has some of the cheapest airfares in the nation. (JetBlue flies to Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. US Airways, Delta, and Alaska/Horizon have flights to West Coast and Southwest cities.)
Low-cost, relaxed LGB ... and now quite stylish. New retail and restaurant spaces and other amenities designed by the hot Long Beach architectural firm Studio One Eleven redefine what the airport waiting experience can be.
You might want to re-book to a later flight just to enjoy the longer wait.
The end of the school year compels me to write another story -- though certainly not the last -- about one of LAUSD's most successful but most beleaguered campuses, Crenshaw High School. Successful because over the last few years Crenshaw has implemented an innovative learning model that's garnered private funding and produced encouraging results amongst its largely black and Latino student population. Beleaguered because the district appears hellbent on shutting down the program in what can only be described as a power play typical of the 800-pound gorilla that it is.
I woke up Wednesday early afternoon, still feeling a bit groggy after a late evening of election-night victory partying and later voraciously reading up online on election results, news reports and analysis articles well into the morning light.
A friend of mine had left me a voice mail message -- he was already leaving town due to a family emergency. He was originally scheduled to do a presentation on Social Media to a group of international visitors, and had asked if I could pinch-hit for him and do the presentation in his place, which was scheduled to be...in just three hours.
The second in a series -- introduced here -- looking at the origins of Los Angeles' oldest parks.
Like many of Los Angeles' first public parks, Eastlake (now Lincoln) Park began as unwanted land: a fifty-acre site rejected by a railroad and given to the city for free. But like its crosstown rival, Westlake (now MacArthur) Park, Eastlake soon grew into one of the city's most popular outdoor retreats.
They are lovely, the two trees in the gloaming. On this almost summer evening, the sun is setting. The world is soft pastels. This turns the two trees darker, delineating them so I can almost pick out individual branches from five miles away. The two trees are clearly visible from many places in my hometown because they sit together and alone atop a hill, two lovely sentinels on an undeveloped swath of land.
This alone makes me happy. But there is something else about the trees that makes my heart lift. They are a reminder of something important to all of us.
If you live in Ventura you know these trees. We call them Two Trees. We are a simple town without pretention. Many towns -- probably every town, if you know the town well enough -- have an icon. The world bursts with iconic landmarks. They are usually quite grand. Paris has The Eiffel Tower. New York has the Statue of Liberty. Sydney, the Opera House. Boston has Fenway Park.
Paul Krugman (in a New York Times column) clarified for me a feature of population density that is sometimes lost in our conversation about how we should house ourselves:
First, although America is a vast, thinly populated country, with fewer than 90 people per square mile, the average American lives in a quite densely populated neighborhood, with more than 5000 people per square mile. The next time someone talks about small towns as the "real America", bear in mind that the real real America -- the America in which most Americans live -- looks more or less like metropolitan Baltimore.
Second, however, although the US population and hence the population density rose about 10 percent over the course of the naughties, the average American was living in a somewhat less dense neighborhood in 2010 than in 2000, as population spread out within metropolitan areas. If you like, we're becoming a bit less a nation of Bostons and a bit more a nation of Houstons.
D.J. Waldie follows up on past stories from his KCET column Where We Are
Our wandering palm: The Noirish Los Angeles research team has wrapped up -- for now -- the saga of the city's sesquicentenary palm, which may be the oldest in the city. They've traced photographs of the iconic Exposition Park palm to the 1870s ... to a home on San Pedro Street ... and to the probable property owner: Dr. William A Hammel (whose son, also named William A. Hammel, was Los Angeles County Sheriff in 1899).
Amazingly, they've documented which of the many palms on the Hammel property was transplanted to the Arcade Station in 1888, as well as its history there. And NLA researcher Flyingwedge has now extended the palm's provenance from the Arcade Station to its replanting at the edge of what is now Exposition Park.
All of this work was done by NLA's volunteer researchers, using the digital resources of the Los Angeles Public Library, the USC Digital Library, the California State Library, and the Huntington Library (among others).
The is first in a series -- introduced here -- looking at the origins of Los Angeles' oldest parks.
In 1885, an unwanted block of city land sat stinking near Los Angeles' western edge, the natural beauty of its lake and marshes marred by decades of use as a city dump. It might have then seemed an unlikely location for one of the city's first parks. But within a decade, the site had been transformed from the city's eyesore into one of its treasures: Westlake Park (today, MacArthur Park), one of L.A.'s most popular outdoor retreats at the turn of the twentieth century.
Occupying a saddle-shaped depression between two ridges, Westlake/MacArthur Park was once the site of a naturally occurring alkali lake, fed by runoff from the hills to the north. When Los Angeles' urban development reached the lake's shore, the marshy site had long been home to waterfowl and an ecosystem adapted to its alkaline water -- what we might celebrate today as a wetland but at the time was dismissed as a swamp, its scenic and biological value unappreciated. Perhaps it didn't help that the lake evaporated during the drought of 1862-64, earning one of its first names: the Dead Sea. One early historian recalled the dry lakebed covered in a white crust, appearing as if a snowstorm had passed.
I'm a career bargain hunter, mainly a prowler of upscale haunts like Kitson on Robertson and American Rag on La Brea, always in search of markdowns that let me walk away with a $200 item for forty bucks or less. I usually find them. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as rooting out deals that tend to be tucked away on a couple of racks or shelves in the back of a store; these things are totally unadvertised, as if the store is too genteel to let its customers know that a few of their high-end goods can occasionally be had for the price of a clearance sweater at Marshall's or TJ Maxx. I patronize those places too, but getting deals there is like shooting fish in a barrel. To truly beat the system you have to go into the heart of it, do some serious hunting and emerge with a kill. Then you go back home and tell the story of your conquest. Or better yet, wear it.