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Video: Walking the 'Secret Stairs' of Los Angeles

When this blog launched in April, we set out to share outdoor opportunities in and around Southern California. It was an exciting success from the get-go so we decided test the waters and expand it through online video. Please enjoy our pilot episode of SoCal Wanderer, featuring Jacob Soboroff!

Once crucial infrastructure for Angeleños of the city's public transit era, public staircases became all but forgotten when Los Angeles turned to the automobile. In all, there are hundreds of staircases that connect older neighborhoods together; from downtown to Silver Lake and across the river to Glassell Park, where Charles Fleming last month led a group of about 50 people, including Jacob Soboroff, on a walking tour of area's stairs.

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Fleming, who authored the book "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles," leads such walks every month. The tours are not only an opportunity to get some exercise, but a way to understand Los Angeles a little better, whether if that's through exploring a neighborhood you've never taken the time to enjoy or meeting new friends who share a similar sense of community.

"Secret Stairs," both the walks and the book, have become so popular that Fleming just released a second book that focuses on staircases in Oakland and Berkeley. He also will soon debut an iPhone app companion for the L.A. guide.

Screenshot of 'Secret Stairs' iPhone app
Announcements for Fleming's walks are made on his Facebook page or by e-mail (misterfleming [at] aol (dot) com). The next walk is this Sunday, July 10th in Silver Lake.

There other stair aficionados as well, a few who also lead walks. Bob Inman published "A Guide to the Public Stairways of Los Angeles," and frequently leads walks that are listed on his Facebook page, and Dan Koeppel takes hundreds of people on an annual two-day hike called The Big Parade (Facebook), which covers close to 100 staircases between downtown and the Hollywood Sign. There's also the Los Angeles Stairstreet Advocates, headed up by Dave Ptach, a stairstreet resident himself, and a blog by stair walking fan Karen Wood.


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