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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Towers, Fountains, and Steps (Tour o' Downtown: Part II)

Our downtown excursion which began at the Westin Bonaventure (here's a link to our first post) continued with a stroll across the Flower Street skybridge toward the Wells Fargo Center on Bunker Hill.

Turning around and looking southwest for a final look at the Bonaventure.

Walking northeast toward the Wells Fargo Center we passed the downtown YMCA. I liked the sculpture and flowers. The two story YMCA and surrounding plaza was built on top of a 

parking garage. Nice use of space. 

The Wells Fargo Tower (one of two office buildings at the Wells Fargo Center) is located on Grand Ave. in between 3rd and 4th Streets. The Wells Fargo Tower always makes for a fun picture from this angle. The building is four sided, but the southern-most corner is very sharp, making this 54 story building appear like a flat, almost 2 dimensional, object.

As we crossed Grand Avenue towards the California Plaza and Water Court, the Walt Disney Concert Hall (more on this in a future post) was visible a block to the north. The tall office towers of Bunker Hill drop off quikly around the Concert Hall.

Looking west toward the 73 story US Bank Tower, another Los Angeles landmark that's been in multiple movies and TV shows (including the films "Independence Day" and "Hancock"). I never understood why the tallest building west of the Mississippi doesn't have any sort of observation deck on the top floor.

The California Plaza, located across the street from the Wells Fargo Center. The California Plaza consists of two large office towers, MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and a 1.5 acre water court. Part of the outdoor courtyard - including the upper half of this huge fountains - actually cantilevers over Olive Street. How cool is that? The California Plaza also connects Bunker Hill to the historic Grand Central Market via the Angels Flight funicular - which, unfortunately, currently isn't operating due to an accident that occured in May 2004. 

Again, I don't understand why it's been over six years and Angel's Flight remains closed.
While the Bonaventure was a unique hotel, we enjoyed walking around outside in the Wells Fargo Center ande California Plaza a lot more. Yet, these large open spaces still seemed devoid of activity, of energy ... of people. Granted, more people would be out and hour later around lunch time. But where was the "hussle and bussle" in the financial center of our nation's 2nd largest city?

"How desolate lies the city once so full of people" begins the prophet Jeremiah (Lam. 1:1). What makes a downtown - and a city - isn't the buildings (as important as they are) but the people. Other parts of downtown, especially Broadway, are much more crowded, much more alive. Ironically, you'll find more people out and about in Hollywood, Westwood, or Santa Monica than you will find downtown. 

Heading down Bunker Hill. A set of escalators run alongside the Bunker Hill steps. I took the steps, but my kids, my little nephew and my sister opted for the outdoor escalator.

Our final destination: The Central Public Library - and it wasn't just to get our parking validated. The Central Library is worth a visit in and of itself. More on this on a third and final post on our downtown excursion.

© 2009


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