Saturday, April 26, 2014

Downtown L.A.

Downtown L.A....Did you say Downtown L.A. ??

Downtown maps (I didn't find twice the same !)
Downtown L.A. is L.A. center, even if it has nothing to do with the French idea of a city center. Indeed, L.A. is not like Paris or most french cities and isn't organized around a center. Instead, L.A. is more a juxtaposition of neighborhoods (I will explain later in an other post how L.A. is organized). 
Downtown is the district you can easily recognize with its buildings and its central position. But don't wait for something like La Défense and its buildings along an axis. Downtown is once again a juxtaposition of districts, such as :
  •  Financial District, Industrial District, Jewelry District, Toy District and Wholesale District 
  •  Arts District : District with artists, 
  •  Bunker Hill : Tourist area with operas, parks and skycrapers, 
Wikipedia picture
  •  Skid Row : THE homeless area ; we went here once and honestly I was quite scared. Nevertheless, I saw a very good documentary about it (Skid Row, the Lost Angels of L.A.) which show this area with less prejudice. Even knowing that there are interesting people here, I won't be able to go in it without an organization. But if you're less yellow belly than I am and if you want to see another face of L.A., I think this is a good place to go. 
Skid row and demonstrations for the homeless rights
  •  Civic Center : administrative heart of L.A.
  •  Fashion District : Place similar to the Sentier in Paris where you can go either to designers or to wholesalers,
  •  Gallery Row : Museums and art galleries district.
  •  Historic core : Main district before the war, you can find here now many bars and nightclubs.
  •  Little Tokyo : Japanese district.
  •  South Park : Old industrial district henceforth housing the Staples Center and the Nokia Theater.
  •  El Pueblo : Old spanish Town

From the Pueblo to the City of Angels

The original town (El Pueblo) was founded by the Spanish. Then the city grew and met its golden age in the early XXth when its public transportation and its financial institution competed with NY. Back then, Downtown was a great place for culture and shopping with its numerous theaters and shops.

After the war, apparently because of the freeways construction which have impoverish the residential areas, Downtown became a paradise for homeless, gangs and junkies. Unfortunately, because of that, a lot of historic buildings and houses have been abandoned  and let without keep up. Some organizations are still today working to save them. 

For the last 15 years, Downtown is having a big make over (even if some people didn't like it and would like to keep the low class spirit). Many new buildings have been built, such as the Nokia Theater or the Walt Disney Center. Parks have been also updated or created like Grant Park. Downtown has become a nice place to walk, far from the ugly memory my grand mother had from the nineties !

Walk through Downtown

the path we took
A/ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Lady of the Angels is the catholic cathedral of L.A.. It has been built in 2002 to substitute to the old one, damaged by an earthquake.
If the building is a bit massive, the natural lightning inside has been well designed (We can't tell the same for the decoration though...). The cathedral is very bright and has a bewitching atmosphere. You can find outside a modern and nice garden. But let's see the pictures !

A building behind the cathedral that I like
the bell tower
a part of the garden
the cathedral
B/ Grand Park 

Grant Park reunited Bunker Hill and Civic Center districts.

Fountain and Civic Center
A Monarch !!
Coucou !
C/ Futur Broad Art Museum

I'm not a civil engineer for nothing and when I see a building site, I can't help : i want to know more ! So I went take a look on the future L.A. museum : the Broad Art Museum.
This museum will complete the museums of art and will allow the the visitors to enjoy for free Jeff Koon, Roy Lichtenstein or Jean-Michel Basquiat pieces of art. As for the building itself, it has been designed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro and will be delivered in early 2015. (I had another date, but if I understood everything, it has been postponed)
Oddly, the construction is more similar to the French one, than what I've seen before.

Broad Art Museum and Walt Disney Center
Broad Art Museum from de Hope st.
Apparently, the same technique as the one used for the new Opera Garnier restaurant
Des sprinklers, des sprinklers, toujours des sprinklers...


The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the numerous art museum here. We didn't enter, but I disliked the building's architecture. On the other hand, I laughed a lot with the pieces of art exposed outside !

Narcisse revisit...and more realistic !
Something wrong  ??
Artwalk (Somebody told us that L.A. was a flat town ???)

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