The “not a good place for a bar crawl” bar crawl

Having dinner by myself is something I treasure when I'm traveling but hardly ever do at home. Here's to more meals eaten alone,

“Los Angeles is not what you would call a bar town, and for all the obvious reasons. The region covers almost 5,000 square miles. While public transit does exist there — and taxis and Uber are thriving — it is not New York: If you stumble out of a bar on the way home, there’s not a subway on the corner.”

It occurred to me some time ago that I might as well discontinue the #LAhaters project and simply award the Lifetime Achievement Award to the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, who consistently serves up the most hatery haterade with columns that are somewhere between misguided and evil. The latest, “In Los Angeles, Old-Fashioned Glamour or Hip Mixology” starts with the head-shaking paragraph above. But the one line that cuts the most comes a bit later: “This is not a good place for a bar crawl.” As a semi-professional organizer of Los Angeles bar crawls, I have to disrespectfully disagree.

I have other issues with the piece, like the inclusion of some puzzling choices—Vintage Enoteca is a nice neighborhood wine bar but in no way a destination; Sunset Tower is a pretty place for a drink but not our best example of cutting-edge mixology—and the fact that the bars he chose were all clustered in one small corner of the city (not a single bar downtown?). Upon further examination, however, the bars’ geographic proximity struck me for a different reason: These four destinations would actually make the perfect bar crawl.

Therefore, I present to you my itinerary for the “Not a Good Place for a Bar Crawl” Bar Crawl, including detailed walking and transit directions. Click the little rectangle in the upper right to expand or head over to the site to see it larger. It sounds like a great day to me, shall we plan a time soon to try it out?

Start at Laurel Hardware: The most food-oriented spot on the list is the best place to start the crawl, so might I suggest you begin here with some carb-loading. If you do the crawl on the weekend and want to start in daylight hours, brunch starts at 11:00 a.m. and goes until 3:30 p.m. And it is delicious.

Walk from Laurel Hardware to Tower Bar: After your boozy breakfast, it’s a quick 17-minute walk to the Strip. I’ve selected a route through West Hollywood’s Harper Street Historic District, which will give you a beautiful introduction to the 1920′s Art Deco architecture of Sunset Tower. The only catch for doing the crawl during the day is that the Tower Bar doesn’t open until 6:00 p.m., so time your arrival appropriately. Otherwise the Terrace Bar is outdoors, has great views, and is open all day.

Walk from Tower Bar to Vintage Enoteca: After your high-class imbibing you can walk down the Strip, with optional stop at the Guitar Center, to Vintage Enoteca, 20 minutes away. They’re conveniently open every day until midnight. (If you’d rather bus it, it’s a quick 10 minute ride.)

Bus from Vintage Enoteca to Covell: Grab the 2 bus at Gardner and Sunset. It’s only $1.50 per trip, which you can pay in cash (exact change only), but you can also ask for a day pass for $6, which gives you unlimited rides and comes with a TAP card that can be reloaded with fare next time you ride. Download the Metro app to your phone and you’ll be able to get route information as well as real-time arrivals so you’ll know if you have time to order another glass. After the 35-minute ride, hop off at the corner of Virgil and Sunset and walk a half-block to Covell.

End at Covell: There’s no better place in the city to end your night than Covell, easily one of my favorite L.A. bars. In this tiny, cozy space you can sample life-changing wines (I could write an entire article about a vinho verde I had here) with the friendliest and most knowledgable of folks, and fill up on exquisite bar snacks. If you need to get somewhere after last call, you can summon a taxi or Uber (I hear they are thriving), but it’s also very easy to get home on transit—the Red Line is less than a block away.

Yes, that’s correct. There is a subway on the corner.

Posted in eating, partying, riding, walking | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The New Yorker needs more photos of LA

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 3.36.22 PM

You may remember this image and some of the language below it from few months ago when the article “Leaving Los Angeles” received an impressive 629 points on the LA Haterating scale.

Well, this week, The New Yorker published another article about Los Angeles, and I thought for a moment I had clicked upon the very same hatery article.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 3.37.56 PM

I will not be giving Gabriel Kahane’s essay an #LAhaters rating—frankly, because it’s pretty and honest and slyly winking in all the best ways—but I do want to mention something here about the story. I’m really worried about The New Yorker. Apparently the publication only owns this one photo of Los Angeles.

It’s a beautiful photo, no doubt, shot by one Bruce Davidson. Surely it’s not the only photo of Los Angeles by Bruce Davidson, seeing as they’ve made an entire video about him taking photos of Los Angeles. But for two very different articles about two very different people experiencing two different parts of a city, they have chosen to use the exact same photo. There’s no other explanation for it: They must only have one.

Here’s the more upsetting fact to some: As several people have pointed out, this photo is of a part of town that most people would identify as San Pedro, which—while still technically LA—is its own place (and at one time, was its own city).

For a publication that sometimes runs a department called “Postcard from Los Angeles,” you’d think they’d have, perhaps, one postcard from Los Angeles?

Unfortunately, they don’t. But it makes sense to me now. It makes sense now why The New Yorker would have this skewed, stereotypical view of our city. They’ve only seen this one image of it. And it’s not even in color.

Let’s send The New Yorker our photos of LA so they might believe that there is more than just this one street, this one palm tree, this one black-and-white vista. I want to help show this publication what LA is really like. You can dispatch your images as tweets to @NewYorker. I just did.

 

Posted in reading, writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Big Parade: You can do it!

tumblr_inline_n61s94cmGb1r00zab-1

It’s time!

The routes and timetables have been posted for this year’s Big Parade, almost certainly the best urban hike on the planet. At least in LA.

As I told the Daily News in an article about this year’s event:

“The Big Parade is a great example of an event that combines everything I love about walking in L.A. — community, history, nature, architecture — into one adventure,” said longtime participant Alissa Walker, urbanism editor at the blog Gizmodo and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy organization.

“You end up meeting your neighbors and seeing parts of your neighborhood you’ve never seen before. But you also gain a greater understanding of how the city is knit together.”

I stand by that statement.

In addition to all the community, history, nature, and architecture, this year we have a really big, really awesome surprise in the form of a private concert at the home of my friend Joshua Wolf Shenk. He’s hosting the amazing Gabriel Kahane, who has written an entire album of songs about LA, which you may have heard on NPR. The party is Saturday night but you can only find out where it is if you’re walking with us on Saturday. What better reason is there to join?

I’ll also be walking the entire day Sunday, starting at the Music Box Stairs, just down the street from my house. There’s no better feeling than ending the weekend at Griffith Observatory at sunset. Okay, there’s maybe one better feeling: the first post-walk margarita.

Check out all the details over at The Big Parade website, and to get yourself pumped you can also read up on all my coverage over the years:

Walking for walking in Los Angeles (2009)
100 staircases, 35 miles, two days, and too many new friends to count (2010)
Six garages, six gardens & Taking the stairs (2011)
The very Big Parade (2012)
Five things to know about The Big Parade (2013)

I’ll see you there!

Posted in partying, walking | 1 Comment

Happy 75th, Union Station

Afterlight

It’s a place I visit several times a week as part of my car-free journeys. You’d think the drama of the spot would have worn off by now. Yet every time I round this corner with my rollie suitcase or my laptop tucked under my arm, I stop what I’m doing and absorb the beauty. Since 1939, Union Station has been turning the heads of commuters and visitors alike, and this year, our grandest and most gorgeous structure turned 75 years old.

There have been plenty of celebrations and commemorations for the station, but I wanted to point your attention to a book called Union Station: 75 Years In the Heart of LA, featuring essays about the station’s civic significance. I’m incredibly honored to say that I was asked to contribute an essay to the book, and my name is listed alongside my writing heroes like David Kipen, Marisela Norte, and D. J. Waldie.

photo 6My essay, “Union Station Today: Making Cultural Connections,” is now posted over at the Metro blog, where you’ll soon be able to read all the essays in the book. Here’s a small excerpt from mine, which explains my thesis that Union Station has become a vibrant part of LA’s swiftly urbanizing life:

When I breeze through Union Station, making my transfer to the Metro Gold Line or catching the FlyAway to LAX, I’m used to seeing a wedding party posing for photos among the rose bushes of the patio, or a film shoot bringing the long-empty Old Ticket Concourse back to life. The picturesque passageways and their well-preserved artistry will always be the go-to stand-in for 1940s L.A.

But in the last few years, with the staging of massive music performances like Invisible Cities, art-world spectacles (such as the recent Station to Station happening in September 2013), and critical civic moments, the role of Union Station has transformed from a period-perfect backdrop into an animated cultural concourse.

Now, in addition to being the connective tissue between the city’s nodes, for an increasingly transit-oriented Los Angeles, Union Station has become a crucial part of the destination.

photo 5

If you’re like me and enjoy some LA history mixed with some train nerdery, this book will hit the sweet spot. You can buy your copy here. A huge thanks to Heidi Zeller and Metro for asking me to contribute to this project.

Posted in building, writing | Leave a comment

See you in the future

jlcu5iz2gtsyuwk5ffft

Attention New Yorkers (and designy folks who will be in town for ICFF), I wanted to let you know about this very exciting event I’m helping to organize for NYCxDESIGN: the Gizmodo Home of the Future!

Yes, we are building an actual apartment inside of an old gymnasium and filling it with our favorite products, ideas and people from May 16-21. I’m going to be hanging out there all week (heck, maybe even sleeping there if the bed is comfortable) and hosting events on urbanism, food, transportation, telepresence, and more.

Come say hi and take a sneak peek on Friday, May 16 at the opening party from 7-9pm at 268 Mulberry Street, between Houston St. and Prince St.

Check out the schedule of daily events and parties, or just come hang out during the day—we will have a co-working lounge with comfy chairs and fast wifi, so if you need a place to work, you can come blog along with the Gizmodo team. See you sometime in the future!

Posted in building, designing, Gizmodo, partying, traveling | Leave a comment

Join me at CAMP

Last year around this time I headed off to a magical adventure in the woods, CAMP. This business conference that is so much more than a business conference was one of my highlights of 2013, and I even included it as an example of what to do right in this article I wrote about design conferences for Communication Arts:

That motto was on my mind this summer when I attended CAMP, a new creative business conference held at a YMCA summer camp in Big Bear, California. About 120 attendees stayed in same-sex cabins and signed up for workshops ranging from social media marketing to foraging and wildcrafting. There was even a camp dance. By the last night, I had learned new skills like indigo dyeing and professional product photography, but it all happened in a setting that was inspiring and invigorating—it made me feel as though I hadn’t sacrificed my work or life to be there. The best part of all: there was not a plastic name badge in sight.

Sounds good, right? This year’s CAMP promises to be even more magical. It takes place May 29 to June 1 in beautiful Big Bear Lake, which is only two hours from LA but feels worlds away. I’ll be giving one of the breakfast keynotes, but you’ll be wide awake because you’ll already have taken your morning polar bear plunge, of course.

Use the secret discount code CAMPlawalker and you’ll get 15% off. Register here, and read more about what I learned at CAMP last year.

Posted in crafting, creating, designing, partying, speaking | Leave a comment

Peep fashion

photo 2
Proudly partying with my Peeps on.photo 3
photo 1

As I know you know, I love my Peeps, and usually right about now I am falling into deep depression because the Peep season has come to a close. But not this year! For two reasons: 1) Peeps are now going to be in stores year-round and 2) I have this beautiful dress I can wear whenever I need to feel the glory of Peeps around me.

And I will be wearing it all throughout the year.

This beautiful frock was made by Laura Howe, who also designed my wedding dress. She makes a lot of other beautiful dresses, too, not all of which feature sugar-coated confections. Check out her work at Matrushka, and if you’re in Silver Lake, stop by her adorable store and say hi.

Posted in designing, partying, wearing | Leave a comment

The quintessential LA street

photo

I snapped this shot the other day during CicLAvia as I was walking on 5th Street (which is a pretty darn magical street) near Irving in Windsor Circle. To me, this represents the quintessential (and perhaps stereotypical) LA street, fringed with tall palm trees on either side to infinity.

Quintessentially California.

It’s also incredibly similar to some other shots I’ve taken recently, like this one which is somewhere in Alhambra from LA’s annual birthday walk. This also says “LA” when you look at it.

Beverly Hills has the best palm trees.

I’ve found myself trying to find more of these typical/stereotypical scenes. This one, in Beverly Hills, for example, is good, but I think the addition of the larger, squatter Canary Island date palms makes for a different kind of look. I seem to gravitate towards streets planted exclusively with slender, swaying Mexican fan palms.

81ec_7e1c

So for example, I should probably find out where this was shot.

If you see any good shots of “quintessential LA streets” send them my way. I’m on the hunt for the most LA street in LA.

Updates…

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 1.39.54 PM

Here’s a great shot of Laveta Terrace in Echo Park by Atley Kasky, which just happens to be the same location that the Golden Road label was shot.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 1.48.18 PM

Posted in creating, designing, growing, riding, walking | 7 Comments

Bosom Buddies invented Parking Day

One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles is looking back at the shows and movies I grew up with and realizing how many of them were filmed in LA. Something I might have watched a million times now takes on a whole new meaning as it becomes a game of recognizing buildings and streets in my neighborhood that were supposed to be New York or Chicago.

Lately, I’ve been really enjoying “The Greatest Event in Television History,” where Adam Scott recreates the opening credits of ’70s sitcoms in these incredible shot-by-shot remakes. And while I was watching the Bosom Buddies remake, I had just noticed that this famous scene takes place on Wilshire Boulevard—on this weekend’s CicLAvia route—when I realized something else.

Bosom Buddies invented Parking Day:

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 5.06.56 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.44.47 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.45.33 PM

A few decades later, people in San Francisco began feeding the meters and turning parking spaces into parks for the day. But Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari did it first.

Here are some not-as-great-quality shots of the original:

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 5.14.27 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.43.08 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.42.46 PM

The parking space is still there, of course, right out in front of Lafayette Park, on Wilshire between Commonwealth and Hoover. If someone doesn’t turn this particular parking spot into a Bosom Buddies homage this Parking Day, I’ve lost my faith in humanity.

And because you’ve absolutely got to see the whole show now, enjoy:

Posted in building, designing, watching | Leave a comment

There’s something in the air

tumblr_n30mxh5lie1qij9rfo1_500

It’s that time of year again, you guys! Easter is only a few weeks away, and it’s going to be even more special than ever before (trust me on this). Head on over to my seasonal Tumblr, PEEP THIS, for more Easter treats.

Posted in crafting, creating, designing, eating, partying | Tagged | Leave a comment