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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, Santa Monica

I was back in the area this time last year and took some time to explore Tongva Park and adjacent Ken Genser Square.

Ken Genser Square is one acre park in front of the historic Santa Monica City Hall, named after a former mayor of Santa Monica. It's across the street from Tongva Park. 

Pictured above, the fountain at entrance to City Hall - obviously popular with seagulls. 

Santa Monica City Hall was formally dedicated on November 25, 1939. It's an outstanding example of the Public Works Administration (PWA) Moderne style of architecture. 

Place at the entrance. It was after 5pm and the building was closed. 

Beautiful lily pad flowers. These photos were all taken in last December.  

I walked back across the street to Tongva Park. Here's a link to a previous post with additional photos. 

As stated last time, Tongva Park opened in 2013, on a former six acre parking lot. Trees, paths, water features, sculpture, a children's play area, splash pad. Remember the lyrics to the old Joni Mitchell song "they took paradise and putting in a parking lot"? In this case, just the opposite is true. 

The park borders the Santa Monica Freeway, just as it narrows down to two lanes and merges into the Pacific Coast Highway. 

Up against the edge of the park, right where it borders the Freeway, is "Morty," a massive 100 year old Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Ficus macrophylla). 

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) native to South Africa. This is the "official flower" of the City of Los Angeles. 

A view of the end of the Santa Monica Freeway at the 1935  McClure Tunnel. You can almost, but not quiet, see the end of the tunnel. Here's a link to a previous post with a bit more info. 

There's probably no bad time to visit Tongva Park, but sunset was particularly beautiful. 

Palm trees (another non-native) silhouetted against the setting sun, with one of the park's beautiful fountains. 

This sculpture is apparently also a weather monitoring station. 

The setting sun and the incoming coastal fog made for an beautiful view of the overlook deck. 

Another view of the overlook deck with the reflecting sun at sunset. 

A had more time to explore the surrounding area. More on that next time. 

© 2017


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Tongva Park Santa Monica

This time last year I was back in the area - and took some time to explore Tongva Park in Santa Monica. 

Tongva Park is a 6 acre urban park, located on Ocean Avenue a couple of blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. The park officially opened on October 19, 2013. 

Informational sign at the entrance. 

Lots of drought tolerant plants. I believe these are Agave Attenuata, native to Jalisco, Mexico. They're fairly common here in Southern California. 

The large ficus trees (as well as a massive fig tree) have been there for years. Apparently, Tongva Park was previously a six acre parking lot. 

At any rate, it's awesome to see a twist on the old Joni Mitchell song: "They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot." In this case, just the opposite. 

The park features a beautiful overlook deck, allowing for outstanding views of the adjacent Pacific Ocean. 

Another view of the overview deck. 

Tongva Park was designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, the New York-based design team behind the High Line in Manhattan.

Here's a link to an outstanding article from the Los Angeles Times, with ten times more information that you'll find in the wikipedia article. 

While Southern California is no longer in an extreme drought, water conservation is a ongoing issue. Xeriscape, based on the Greek word "dry" is drought tolerant landscaping. Unfortunately, xeriscape can sometimes be "zero-scape" --- rocks and weeds. 

That is not the case in Tongva Park. The James Corner team did an excellent job brining in an incredible 30,000 plants from more than 170 unique species. Above, aloe plants - native to North Africa. 

Southern California's Mediterranean climate allows for unique plants that simply can't be found anyplace else in the US.  

It was a weekday afternoon in late Fall; the park was relatively quiet. I'm sure it's busier on weekends and summer months. 

Palm trees in the background. Tongva Park has more than 300 trees from 21 species. 

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Here's an photo of what that park originally looked like: a 6 acre parking lot. Note the palm trees along the perimeter, which were wisely kept.

There is a fun children's play area, no doubt packed on weekends. I wisely decided against taking any photos with kids. 

Across the street from Tongva Park is the Santa Monica City Hall, and Ken Genser Square. 

Here's a link to the Tongva Park + Ken Genser Square website. More next time

© 2017


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics: some final thoughts

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Last month - Wednesday, September 13th - the International Olympic Organizing Committee officially awarded the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics simultaneously. 

Both Paris and Los Angeles have both hosted the Summer Olympics twice before. Paris in 1900 and 1924, and Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984. Above, a poster from the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. 

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Last month, I reposted a couple of previous posts on the 1984 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles' Moment: the 1984 Summer Olympics and "Festive Federalism" 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

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Looking for photos from the 1984 Olympics, I came across, with numerous images I had never seen before. Most of the images on this final post are from that site. 

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If the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee sticks with "what worked" in 1984, the 2028 Summer Olympics should be an outstanding success. Above, the entrance to the Track and Field events at the historic Memorial Colosseum. 

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It was fun finding photos from the 1984 Summer Olympics - often without a caption or description of location. So in many cases, I'm taking an educated guess at the venue or location. Feel free to make or suggest any corrections in the comment section below. 

A clock tower at the Olympic Village at USC. 

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Most of everything was very temporary. While other cities have spent millions (or billions) on costly infrastructure, Los Angeles actually turned a profit of $215 million - $520 million in today's dollars. I believe L.A. was one of the few cities to ever do so. 

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And bright, bright colors. Colored sono tubes, scaffolding, and fabric banners. 

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More Sono tubes. 

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Above, outside the wrestling venue at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County. 

The "Los Angeles Olympics" could have almost been called the "Southern California Olympics." While most were centered in Los Angeles, the venues stretched almost 200 miles. Canoeing and Rowing events were held at Lake Casitas in Ventura County - 85 miles west of Los Angeles. Equestrian was held in Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County - 107 miles of Los Angeles. 

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My guess is boxing, the US vs South Korea, at the Sports Arena, adjacent to USC. 

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Guessing from the graphic on the scafolding on the right, this is the handball venue, held at California State University, Fullerton - also in Orange County. 

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Looks like the gymnastics venue - Pauley Pavilion, UCLA in Los Angeles. 

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Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is the rowing / canoeing venue up at Lake Casitas in Ventura County. 

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Looks like the boxing venue at Sports Arena. 

The sport Arena was torn down in 2016 and is currently being replaced by the Banc of California Major League Soccer Stadium. Plans call for this new stadium to serve as a venue for the 2028 Games. 

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Olympic Village, University of Southern California. 

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Not sure on this one: either the swimming venue next to USC. But on the right there's a map of UCLA. Which one is it? 

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A personal photo from someone fortunate enjoy to have enjoyed the various events. 

My kids, still teenagers now, will be 28 and 26 when Los Angeles hosts the Olympics for a third time. They think it's great - and are super excited about attending some of the events.

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Looks like the shooting venue at Prado Recreational Area - 48 miles west of Los Angeles in Chino. Tickets to events like this were, of course, very reasonable. While perhaps not as exciting as, say, swimming, gymnastics, or track and field ... it was still awesome to have been able to attend an Olympic event. 

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The Shine Auditorium on the far right is a good hint that this is the USC Olympic Village. Both USC and UCLA served as Olympic Villages. 

Here's an Olympic fact: Los Angeles made history as the first city ever to have an Olympic Village - back in 1932.

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Flagpoles and bright backdrop. Were there multiple award venues? 

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Judging from the graphics, looks like the McDonald's Swim Stadium, at the University of Southern California (renamed to the Uytengsu Aquatics Center). 

The McDonald's Swim Stadium was only one of the two venues constructed for the 1984 Summer Olympics. The other was the 7-Eleven Olympic Velodrome at Cal State Dominguez Hills, in Carson (16 miles south of downtown Los Angeles).  

I loved the fact that the swim stadium was open air - taking advantage of one of Los Angeles' greatest assets: the weather. 

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Hot pink: official logo of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. 

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The Olympic Tower at the Coliseum. 

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Closing out with a final photo: sunset at Lake Casitas. 

Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a correction, or share a memory from your experience there.  

© 2017