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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Walk Up Wilshire (Santa Monica to Beverly Hills)

Earlier this year I took a long walk up Wilshire Blvd; mostly I was just curious how far I could get. I enjoy hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains (especially Topanga State Park). What would it be like to do an urban hike?

I started by walking about four miles from my home to where Wilshire Blvd begins in Santa Monica. Santa Monica is named after Saint Monica of Hippo (A.D. 333-387). Here's her statue. She's remembered for praying for the conversion of her non-Christian son, Augustine (who went to become Saint Augustine).

Across the street is this office tower. When I figure out the name, I'll come back and add it. It use to be called the "Lawrence Welk Plaza" (seriously!) but that was over 30 years ago. A friend of mine is a stock broker up on the 14th floor - nice view.

What in the world? Hundreds of people were lined up at Wilshire & 3rd Street (aka the 3rd Street Promenade) at 6:30am. The line started at the Apple Store and was at least a full city block long. Why? The new iPhones were being released that morning when the store opened.

A half a mile up Wilshire (Wilshire & Lincoln) another iPhone line, this time at the AT&T store. I feel so out of it.

Not all of Wilshire is high rises. I'm not a big fan of liquor stores, but there was something so "typical" So Cal about this place, I had to get a photo. Santa Monica and much of Los Angeles is in weird place of being too crowded to feel suburban, but spread out to feel urban (does that make sense?).

I don't know why I took this picture. Maybe just a normal guy waiting for his bus.

Santa Monica is a separate, unique city from Los Angeles. Once you hit 26th Street, you're actually back in the City of Los Angeles. North of Wilshire is Brentwood, south of Wilshire is West L.A. The zoning is noticeably different.

Big mess out side of the KFC in West L.A. At first I thought this was just a late night party gone bad, but more likely it was some transient digging through the trash looking for cans. Sad, really - and, of course, we have all live with this.

Wilshire & San Vincente looking back, with the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Brentwood to the right, West L.A. to the left. No, this was NOT a Sunday morning, traffic was just amazingly light. Chalk it up to being a late Friday morning in the middle of the summer .... with gas about $4.75 a gallon.

World Savings Tower, on the corner of Wilshire & San Vincente. Back around 1984 I actually climbed up inside and got on the roof just before it was completed. Note: I would NOT recommend doing that today!

I never really thought about what happens to old limos, guess they just get parked in Brentwood somewhere. I think someone is living out of it. Wonder if it even runs? I can't imagine trying to squeeze out of that parking space!

Finally, some traffic (I was getting worried there for a moment). Heading towards Westwood, home of UCLA. Despite the 20 story buildings, it's still called "Westwood Village". Not sure if the Mayor's "Subway to the Sea" down Wilshire will ever make it all the way to the ocean - but thanks to Measure R (1/2% sales tax increase) getting to Westwood & UCLA looks like a reality.

Metro Rapid. My son really wants me to take him on one of these buses, because they've got the accordion fold in the center. Behind the bus is the Avco Cinema, where I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980. Westwood Village has the largest concentration of single screen movie theaters in the world.

Transient sleeping at the Westwood United Methodist Church. See my previous blog about some thoughts about the homeless.

I've been to a couple of weddings at this church - beautiful, historic building.

Only 2% of people living on the westside of Los Angeles attend any sort of religious service on a weekly basis (this includes churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.). Because of the proximity and connection to the entertainment industry (and it's global influence) this is especially sobering.

Fortunately, several new churches have started here on the westside in the past few years:

  • Pacific Crossroads Church (meeting at University High School)
  • Mosaic Church (meeting at Beverly Hills High School)
  • Shoreline Church (meeting in at the Regent Theater in Westwood Village)
  • Shepherd of the Hills (meeting at the Wadsworth Theater)
These new, evangelical churches are seeking to impact the westside with the gospel of Jesus Christ (topic for a future blog entry).

Condo towers continue to be built along Wilshire. What's amazing is that right behind these towers are single family homes, with backyards and everything.

This is my favorite condominium building located at Wilshire & Westholme. A bit of Manhattan plunked down on the westside. Not like I could/would ever live there: like everything else on the westside, these are extremely expensive.

One of many synagogues found here on the westside. This is at the corner of Wilshire & Beverly Glen; there's another large synagogue a block away. Los Angeles has the largest American Jewish community outside of New York City.

Amazing how powerful artwork can be. Preserving and passing on the Torah to the next generation.

Welcome to Beverly Hills. Fountain at the corner of Wilshire & Santa Monica Blvd. There was some transient using the fountain to wash his feet, but decided not to include that.

I cut through a residential neighborhood (Canon Drive) and headed north. Not all of Beverly Hills are high end mansions. This home would be pretty typical in a of neighborhoods in the United States.

Same street, just a few houses up. This is what most people think of when they think of Beverly Hills. The style of these large, opulent homes are often referred to as "Persian Palaces" due to their popularity by the community's large, and influential, Persian (Iranian) community.

Picked up a MTA bus where Sunset Blvd intersects with Canon & Rodeo (next to the Beverly Hills Hotel).

Taking a bus back worked great. I was able to get a one way hike in (about 13 miles) and see and experience a lot of the city from street level.

I'd really like to walk the entire length eighteen mile length of Wilshire Blvd someday, but don't know if I want to try that alone. It'd want to time it right, too. Some neighborhoods (esp around MacArthur Park) are a little dicey.

The book of Jonah is the only book in the Bible that ends in a question. 2,400 years ago God asked Jonah - and the people of Israel - a question which is just as relevant for us today:

"Should I not be concerned about that great city?" Jonah 4:11


Anonymous said...

Dave--once again you show an unique view of LA. Walking along Wilshire (nobody walks in LA!) from the ocean to BH, in addition to stamina, takes a great imagination to visualize the value of the walk in advance. BTW, didn't we all go see "Empire" together? I recall a group of us. But no picture of the Pali High class of 1979 prom venue, the Beverly Hilton, which you passed. And, nothing on the LA Country Club, which Wilshire splits into North and South courses. The North course is one of the finest in California, which is saying alot. As for the liquor store, OMG I can't believe it is still there! Uh, not that I bought anything there other than breathmints. Once again, mi amigo, you've got one of the best blogs anywhere. Gene

David from L.A. said...

sorry - no suggestions