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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Experiencing Pico Blvd (Again) - from the Beach to Fairfax, Part II

In May 2010, I took an early morning walk along Pico Blvd, from the beach in Santa Monica, inland to Fairfax Blvd. Here's a link to Part I of this walk. 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, located at the corner of Pico and Roxbury Drive. 

The Muesum of Tolerance is designed to examine prejudice and racism, with a particular emphasis on the Holocaust. I'm embarrassed to say I've never been inside. I thought about going when we lived in Los Angeles, but themes were simply too intense for our young kids. Of course, I could have gone by myself . . . I just never did. Something for the future. 

Felt like the Skirball Jewish Cultural Center - which our kids loved going to - was much more age appropriate. 

One of several religious based schools in the community. 

OK, super creative: crayons and a menorah (why can't evangelical churches come up stuff like this?).

Ralphs Supermarket and CVS Pharmacy on the corner of Pico and Beverwill Drive. I liked how the sunlight is coming through the sycamore street tree. Amazing how much you appreciate trees in a city. 

Parking is in an underground lot below. 

Residence Inn, corner of Pico and South Beverly Drive. OK, I've never seen an interior courtyard this narrow. 

"Hey neighbor!" 

Some co-workers stayed here a few years back. Beverly Hills adjacent, I guess. By no means a luxurious place, but it did the trick. 

Just down the street: The Mitzvah (as in "Bar Mitzvah") Store. Mitzvah is Hebrew for "commandment" (as in the Ten Commandments). 

No lack of different styles of menorahs . . . 

. . . and books. Gifts and "Stories that Warm the Heart" - in some ways, reminds me of the Jewish equivalent of a Christian book store. 

Next door is Elat Burger and Kabob (Kosher) and Sushi KO (Kosher). 

Wow, Kosher Sushi - learn something new every day. 

Smart car - with gas approaching $5 a gallon in California, I don't think many people are laughing anymore. 

Looking north up one of the residential streets (Cardiff, I believe). The city limits of Beverly Hills start just a block away.  

In the distance, the Sierra Towers on the western most edge of the city of West Hollywood. Originally built as an apartment building in 1965, at 32 stories it remains Los Angeles tallest residential tower. There's a 2300 square foot condo on one of the top floors currently listing for $3.9 - million. Yikes. Recession, what recession?

Above, the Beverlywood Bakery, located at Pico and Oakhurst in the Pico-Robertson districtt. Love the awning - the little tables and chairs out front.

If there is a heart of Jewish Los Angeles, it must be the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. This is one of a dozen Kosher butchers in the immediate area. 

In working on this post, I stumbled across Levin Ben Avraham's"an Orthodox Jew looks at the Pico-Robertson neighborhood from a Torah perspective." Different religion and different beliefs than my own -  but I can appreciate the desire to bring faith into every area of life, rather than the "secular/sacred" split so common in American society. 

If The Mitzvah Store (that I commented on in Part II) doesn't have what you need, try D. Solomon. Amazing how in one short mile, the feel on the street goes from glitzy Beverly Hills to urban Los Angeles. 

Banner for the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. As I commented in a previous post, I'm continually impressed by the impact that Jews, representing only 2% of the total US population, have made on American culture. 

Chabad is a movement within Orthodox Judaism, emphasizing "wisdom, understanding, and knowledge." The largest Jewish organization in the world, Chabad has 3000 centers in over 1000 cities around the world. 

Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, tens of thousands of Persian Jews immigrated to Los Angeles. Amazing, but there now more Persian (Iranian) Jews living in the city of Los Angeles than the entire country of Iran. So, here in Pico-Robertson you'll find a Chabad Persian Youth Center.

More outdoor dining at Bibi's Warmstone Bakery near Pico and Liviona.

Got Kosher? Haute Glatt. The word glatt is Yiddish for "smooth" - the term refers in the broader sense to food eaten by observant Jews.  The term "kosher" refers to food, but in a general sense, can simply mean anything that's OK.

Milk 'N Honey Restaurant, located on the corner of Pico and South Clark. I like the biblical reference in their name. Serving only Kosher food (of course) and closed Friday night and Saturdays (until an hour after the end of Sabbath). Here's a link to their website.

"I am a stranger in a strange land." said Moses. The huge billboard for the Paramount film "Sex and the City 2" was looming above the biblical-sounding Milk 'N Honey. There was certainly an irony to it all . . . yet, perhaps, something that I and other evangelical Christians can learn from. What does it mean to be "in the world but not of the world"? What does it mean to live out religious convictions in Los Angeles, or New York, or any other major city in the world? What does it mean to practice a faith when it's not part of the dominant culture? More questions than answers, at least for right now. 

Eliass Kosher Market, located across the street, with obligatory Persian script. 

Crossing Robertson, and looking north towards Beverly Hills and the Santa Monica mountains beyond. This is the heart, as it were, of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. You'll also notice yet another "Sex and the City" billboard to the right of the photo - just above the obligatory Starbucks. 

Crossover Robertson  - Elat Market, corner of Pico and Wooster. Elat is a full service Kosher supermarket. The writing on the side is in Persian. 

Just off this very busy commercial strip are beautiful tree-lined residential streets, generally with a mixture of two story apartment buildings, which are very common throughout most of Los Angeles, and single family homes. I love the massive sycamore trees.

Back on Pico - looking back west with the office towers of Century City in the distance. 

Another residential street, this one mostly with apartments. The palm trees and Hollywood Hills in the distance certainly give the street an "only in L.A." look, but I really prefer big leafy sycamore trees found a couple of blocks away. By the way, palm trees - like pretty much every thing else in L.A. - are imports, brought in from elsewhere. 

Looking north up La Cienega towards Beverly Hills, with the Hollywood Hills (part of the Santa Monica Mountains) in the distance. The tower on the left in the distance that looks like a mosque is actually the home to the Academy of Motion Pictures Sciences - you know, the good people who host those Awards every year - with those cool little gold statues called "Oscars." 

The Rapid 7 - the bus line I'd be taking back. Limited stops, and the ability to control traffic lights - this bus really moves. I had a few more minutes, so I could catch the next one. 

The South Carthay district, complete with map and historical photos. The neighborhood, built out in the 1920's and '30's was home to the very impressive Fox Carthay Circle Theater.

After Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Fox Carthay was Los Angeles' most famous movie theater. Location of dozens of world premiers, it was unfortunately torn down in 1969. 

Here's a link to a previous post on the similar looking Fox Village Theater, located a few miles away in Westwood. And our friends down in Anaheim are building a replica of the Fox Carthay as part of a much needed "extreme makeover" of the Disney California Adventure park.

Looking south: Baldwin Hills. Here's yet another link to when my wife and kids hiked to the top of the Baldwin Hills overlook a couple of years ago. 

A break in the traffic at HiPoint Studioslocated at Pico and Hi Point Street (hence their name). One of dozens of small, independent studios found throughout Los Angeles. Their selling point is "best green screen in town." 

Vons Supermarket at the corner of Pico and Fairfax. Somewhat anti-climactic in terms of a final destination but needed to leave enough time to catch a bus in rush hour traffic to my car back in Santa Monica by 9am. This is about two blocks from the Little Ethiopia neighborhood, which I blogged about here

40 minutes later, thanks to the Rapid 7, I was back in Santa Monica: Pico and the beach. 

Picked up my car and headed off to work. 

I honestly can't believe how far I was able to walk - and take pictures - in such a short period of time. Started at 5:45am at Pico at the beach. Walked all the way to Fairfax Avenue and then caught a bus back by 9am. 

This was really the most enjoyable "urban hike" I took while living in Los Angeles. Now that we're out of the area, I don't know when I'll be able to do something like this again. I highly recommend it: a great way to experience L.A.

.© 2013 - originally posted 5/7/11


Anonymous said...

Z--always enjoyable to read your excellent narratives on our native city. My brief time there in March--mostly down in Redondo or up in SB--visiting the Getty Brentwood (or is it Bel Air?) and having dinner at a swank Century City locale, as well as the drive up PCH (thank God I did it before the Mugu fire)reminded me of how much LA has to offer. Of course, the traffic on the SD Freeway reminded me of something else. Cheers, Gene

Jerry's Brokendown Palaces said...

I'm writing The Encyclopedia Of Jerry Garcia Music Venues. I'm interested in using the photo of Hi Point Studios. I'd need it at least 1mb or larger.
Please email me at

Thank you
Harry Angus