Sunday, January 16, 2011

Downtown LA

Disney Center at sunrise, LA, Jan 2011. @ Anna Conti (used with permission).

Anna and David are early risers (which I'm not) so this photo is another one from Anna's amazing collection. I never expected to be impressed by skyscrapers or modern architecture but there really is something vibrant and jazzy about the downtown. Parts of it are still skid row as we had occasion to find out but the rest of the area is electric with great buildings, interesting museums, a fantastic downtown market modeled on the Mexican mercado, plazas, places to eat and even a bus system that looked pretty active (at least for the downtown area). Anna says that the Starbucks in the downtown area was hopping, even early in the morning. I don't know because I never got up that early. I was conserving my energy for the day to come because each day was packed to the hilt with museum going and gallery viewing.

On the night that we arrived, we walked through LA's Chinatown that wasn't too far from our centrally located hotel. A long trudge down one of the major streets brought us to the courtyard that Anna photographed (see below). What struck me was how empty the restaurants and sidewalks were. At 6 PM or so, San Francisco's Chinatown is bustling with activity. Plus, nobody seems to live in "their" Chinatown; here (in SF), you are always aware of the families living in the spaces above the stores, children playing in the courtyards, old men gossiping on the park bench.

LA's Chinatown, for all it's age, looks like a manufactured business area, with little of SF's sense of lived in being. But there wasn't time to go back during the day and I'm interested in further exploration (once I recover from the trip).

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