Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Country Club Park

Country Club Park sign @ 12th and Arlington 
Located between Olympic and Pico (to the north and south), and Western and Crenshaw (to the east and west), the historic Country Club Park neighborhood was named for its close proximity to the original Los Angeles Country Club (which has since moved to Wilshire Boulevard, just west of Beverly Hills). Despite a somewhat obscure location by today's standards, the area boasts a coterie of beautifully maintained early 20th century residences that make you feel as if you're taking a stroll through the Golden Age of Californian history.

Definitely worth a walk.

Here are some of the architectural wonders you will see if you take the time to follow suit.
Gorgeous Country Club Park house
they sure don't make 'em like they used to...

Koreatown Love. (part 3)

In my latest tribute to Koreatown, I'm shining a spotlight on one of the most historically significant architectural feats that Los Angeles has yet to boast. The famed Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, was demolished in 2006 after years of disuse.  In its place now stand a public memorial park and the sprawling environmentally sound campus of RFK community schools.  Despite its completion  in 2010, I wasn't fully aware of project until until I laid eyes on its magnificence earlier this week!  It only goes to show how redemptive a good walk can be.

Koreatown Love. (part 2)

Hotel Normandie, Korea Town
Per my last post, Korea Town is a fantastic destination for exploration in Los Angeles.  But in order to enjoy the neighborhood's vast wonders, you've gotta be willing to get out of your car and walk around.  If you do, you will be rewarded by discovering an infinite number of exotic dining options, delightful tea/coffee houses, affordable spas, intriguing skincare boutiques, and even the odd indoor driving range. But today's post is all about the magnificent historic architecture that generously peppers the area. It would take several week's time to cover the entire 3-square-mile area on foot, but here's a taste of what I glimpsed while walking the perimeter of only 6 blocks earlier this week:

Located At 6th Street and Kenmore, The Chapman Market was the country's first drive-through market when it opened in 1929.  Today, magnificent Spanish revival structure is home to a handful of local businesses.

Named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire, one of the most prominent real estate moguls of his time (and namesake of Wilshire Boulevard), The Gaylord Apartments is an iconic  landmark from the Golden Age of Hollywood and beyond.  Built in 1924 as a hotel, the iconic building was strategically located across from the famed Ambassador Hotel and is said to have hosted John Barrymore, Richard Nixon and numerous stars of stage and screen. While the building has undoubtedly seen better days, the storied history maintains its cache for modern day residents.

Koreatown Love.

beautiful historic architecture @ the corner 6th and Alexandria in Koreatown
There will forever be a special place in my heart for Korea Town; it's the first neighborhood I lived in upon arriving to L.A. ten years ago. What can appear to be an incongruous expanse of urban sprawl to anyone simply driving through the area on their way downtown, is in actuality a culturally rich wonderland that is best explored on foot.
436 Gramercy Place; my first home in L.A. (the window on the upper left-hand side was my bedroom - oh the memories)
Earlier this week I took a long overdue field trip to my erstwhile hood to rediscover some of the things I once knew and still love; along the way I happened upon an infinite number of new sights and discoveries and was reminded once again why Korea Town is, and always will be, my kind of town.

I used to love frequenting the Korean shopping malls near Olympic and Western, so I decided to begin my journey at a location I'd often passed by (in my car) but had yet to visit; City Center on 6th.
Enjoy the rest of my photo journal below the jump!

Stop and smell the orange blossoms

orange blossom tree courtesy of Mouse
The impetus for this project was, indeed, a cluster of budding orange blossoms.
Several weeks ago I was at an art opening at Bergamont Station with an artist friend who was visiting from out of town. As we walked from one art gallery to the next, my friend exclaimed, "Oh my goodness, can you smell the orange blossoms? The scent is AMAZING." (or some such comment). I in fact, had not even noticed the large pots of orange trees prominently lining the thoroughfare; I was so preoccupied with getting from one place to the next - as we so often do in life - that I almost missed out on one of life's simple pleasures. A similar sensory "miss" had occurred earlier that day when the same friend, while in route to SMMoA, remarked on the beauty of a canopy of camphor trees lining a street (near my home of 2+ years) that I frequently traverse.
Camphor Tree canopy
It was indeed lovely and I had never noticed it before.

I started thinking about all of the wonderful things I have missed out on as a result of moving too fast (literally and figuratively), driving too much, or simply not taking  time to notice.  What's happened to me? I thought.  I'm a naturally curious and inquisitive person but somewhere along the way, I've started taking my life for granted.

I was determined to change my behavior and subsequent thought process  (or lack thereof) STAT.
Thus, I've started a blog/self-improvement project - "Walk This Way" - dedicated to observations and discoveries made during future frequent explorations in my back yard (i.e. home city/Los Angeles).  I will chronicle observations made and experiences had while taking weekly (sometimes twice or thrice weekly) walks through different neighborhoods in  LA.

My primary purpose here is to rediscover my erstwhile love of life and self - discovery, because exploration and discovery truly make me feel happy and alive.  ...However, if this somehow turns into a Jonathan Gold-style guide to Los Angeles (subbing spaces and places for food) for others to enjoy, I will have no problem with that.

Please feel free to make comments and suggestions and/or tell me about your own walk.

Special thanks to my friend, Lisa Lala, for helping me see what I was missing. It's time to start celebrating life's simple pleasures.