Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo-finish Friday: out and about

Two pics today. Above is a flight of steps leading from Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles to the top of what was once the city's wealthiest neighborhood, Bunker Hill. In decline after WWI, its Victorian era houses were subdivided into multi-family residences and by mid-century it was a neglected, low-rent area. To get a glimpse of it back then, watch the documentary-style movie The Exiles made by a USC film student in 1961 (an interesting film about urban Native Americans, currently available at Netflix).

Today Bunker Hill is the location of several high-rise office buildings, providing the profile of the LA skyline often seen in movies and TV series set here. Walk up those 101 steps, turn around, and you get a view of what lies below: the Los Angeles Public Library.

It's mid-morning in the pics above, but starting around noon these steps will be filled with office workers on their way for lunch. A few will be like me when I used to work near here, headed for the library to hang out with books and book-lovers.

Photo-finish Friday is the bright idea of Leah Utas over at The Goat's Lunch Pail.

Coming up: Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)


  1. Thanks so much for this slices of LA life.

  2. Nice pics of downtown LA. Thanks for the explanation.

  3. I've been to LA numerous times, but never downtown. I'll need to rectify that next time I'm there.

  4. You always make the city attractive, Ron. Great shot leading down the steps there.

  5. I have only been to LA once and missed these areas. I have a sense of not much of a downtown.

  6. Thanks for these beautiful photos. They have evoked in me a yearning to return to Los Angeles. I lived there a while in the mid-fifties, when the city seemed to glow with vitality, grace, and post-war optimism. It was the city of dreams, where countless Americans chose to live, in hope of a brighter life. I went to the Pasadena Playhouse for a while, and then drifted over to the Sunset Strip. I failed in my quest to become a screenwriter, and left. In those days Pasadena was one of the most gracious places imaginable. I have no idea what it is like now.

  7. Leah, it's a fair swap for your slices of Alberta.

    Oscar, thanks for coming by.

    Chris, downtown LA has some nice public spaces and restaurants; Wells Fargo has a museum, and there are the Disney Music Hall and MOCA Museum; not too far away is the new super-modern Cathedral; the big covered market at the foot of Angel's Flight incline is a real taste of Old LA, too.

    David, like NYC, it's got almost everything, but spread out over about 100 times the area.

    Patti, LA's downtown is a recent addition, not like other cities.

    Richard, Pasadena has probably not changed much; it's an up-scale community laid out like a midwestern town, with a lot of restored craftsman houses.