Eat My Words: East LA from the Gold Line

At the Little Tokyo/Arts District station!

I could not be more excited about being one of the first people to hitch a preview ride today on the Gold Line Eastside Extension, a brand-new rail line for LA which will officially chug out of Union Station this Sunday, November 15. I wrote a preview piece (with lots of blurry pics) for the Architect’s Newspaper, where I’ll also be reviewing the line once it opens. But during today’s ride I was also completely captivated by the little architectural gems I spotted from the train’s window, on this route I don’t think I’ve ever traveled before, not even by bus. That’s exactly the kind of response they want from passengers, said Frank Villalobos, who served as lead architect for the project—a new look at East LA. And how!


There are two historic crossings on this new line, one, the fact that a train goes over the 101 freeway on a brand-new bridge. (Remember, all photos shot through a possibly-not-clean window.)


And then it was crazy to take the train over the 1st Street Bridge, where a cable car once traveled over the same span.


The bridge is currently being widened so all these arches have been pulled off and are situated to the side.


This is the beautiful El Mercado in Boyle Heights, a Mexican marketplace full of delicious foods.


I wanted to set sail on the Ocean Queen.


The line travels by three cemeteries, and even uncovered one: Excavation revealed burial ground for Chinese immigrants, so the architects are working the community to build a memorial.


These are all in one block! The awesome mosaics of the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center…


…the beautiful gates to the East LA Civic Center…


…and on the other side, King Taco! They do take MasterCard and Visa, in case you were wondering.


And here’s the end of the line, the Atlantic station. That’s just a taste of what you’ll see from the windows of the Gold Line…and I haven’t even gotten to the station design yet! Stay tuned for more, and if you’re feeling up for a party, be sure to stop by Mariachi Plaza this Sunday for the opening, and what will likely be a world-record shattering convergence of mariachis.

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  • Geoff Manaugh

    Nice—I’m jealous! Can’t wait for your next report.

  • Alissa

    Thanks! Doesn’t it make you want to come home to LA???

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