Ever wonder what Academy Road near Dodger stadium leads to? It takes you to the LAPD Revolver and Athletic Club, snuggly tucked away in Elysian Park. This 20-acre police training facility has been in operation since the 1930’s, and features a sprawling campus with the typical shooting range, tactical training areas, and a gym for police cadets and officers. But there is also a cafe that is tucked away on the ground floor of the main building. Surprisingly, the cafe is open to the public. It gives non-LAPD members the chance to chow down on quintessential cafe fare, along side off-duty police officers in uniform.
Sadly, the cafe is closing permanently after decades of operations. In fact, the entire Elysian Park facility, which has planned for an upgrade for the past 2 decades, will be under renovation until 2016. There currently are no plans to rebuild a cafe facility in the new plans. So for the closing week, I finally made my way up to the Club, and enjoyed a Pastrami Sandwich and Milkshake elbow to elbow with police officers.
I explored the grounds of the campus, which is open to the public. The entire campus and club is actually very open and quaint, with a garden and fountains in the rear section, within earshot of the firing ranges.
The Rio Hondo Confluence at the LA River, South Gate
"Convergences! The world is so full of convergences that you can find them all around you, if only you look. Well, yes, in some sense, it is rather unremarkable that small features converge to form larger ones, or that common forms are repeated in unrelated contexts. Due to basic geometry, or the laws of physics, or simply random chance, such patterns are bound to manifest themselves. And since we humans are so skilled at recognizing patterns, it may also be unremarkable that we experience a certain joy when we find these convergences and parallels, even where none are actually present.
But there are certainly some convergences present tonight. They happen to be of a rather literal and prosaic variety, it’s true, but if you are so inclined, you are certainly welcome to search for the more elaborate and metaphorical ones along the way.”
Los Angeles River
Lots of my good buddies of the Echo Park Bike Posse are doing the AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride this summer from San Francisco to Los Angeles. So they threw a fundraiser party to raise money for the cause.
Part 2 of Michael’s, Niall’s, Tobey’s, and my exploration of the LA River. This time, in South Gate where the Rio Hondo converges with the LA River.
Unlike the portion of the LA River in Downtown LA that we explored earlier in the year, this stretch of the LA River has a bike/pedestrian path running on top of the Western bank. There are no fences or gates blocking people from descending the banks and enjoying the concrete bottom of the river. This stretch of the path also runs along a heavy residential area, whose residents wouldn’t mind calling the LA River their backyard, if there were only more amenities and access points.
Lunch under the Imperial Highway Overpass.
710 and 105 Interchange.
Yes, Tobey is wearing booties on his paws.
The Bethlehem Baptist Church (1944)
by Rudolph Michael Schindler (1887-1953)
South-west corner of Compton Ave. and E 49th St.
In South LA, there is a little church building that was designed by R. M. Schindler. The church was commissioned and built in Schindler’s iconic modernist style for an African-American congregation in an urban setting, and is probably the only mid-century modern in South LA. But it was all but abandoned and boarded up for at least the past decade, and fell into blight.
Starting around late 2013, a new congregation moved in. With the help of the LA Conservancy and a 2009 LA City Historic-Cultural Monument designation, the congregation has been quietly repairing and renovating the property, which is how I found it when I stumbled upon it in February.
I had always known about the legendary and derelict Schindler church in South LA, but had never had to opportunity to visit it. Which is why when I biked past it, I was surprised to find that not only were the windows replaced and the graffiti painted over, but also the gates were open. Some of the church members were working on site, and let me walk through the architectural gem. They even unlocked the access to the roof for me.
The congregation will be holding an Open House on April 12th, 2014. 4901 Compton Ave.
He’s still doing it. Good buddy Eric Brightwell, who frequently blogs for Amoeba about SoCal neighborhoods and communities, took a train and walking tour of Watts, and I tagged along. I’ve been on only one other tour with Eric of my hometown of Tustin in Orange County almost 3 years ago. When he announced that he would be taking the Metro Blue Line down to Watts to explore, I immediately signed on. Not only is Eric excited about exploring the urban form and design of a city (experienced best by walking through the neighorhood), but he is also interested in the deeper historical and cultural context which shapes the people, businesses, and spaces (which he recounts in full detail in his blogs). Therefore, I was interested in learning through Eric’s lens about Watts, an LA neighborhood that is only known for 2 things: the riots and its towers.
Jordan’s Cafe. 1942 - 2010. Sadly, this was a common sight along our walking tour.
Lee’s Market. We didn’t actually eat here, but it’s a famous local soul food and fried chicken establishment. This also illustrates the seemingly nondescript storefronts that I walked by in the neighborhood. You could never tell, from the sidewalk, the businesses that occupied the interior of these shells.
Santa Ana Blvd. right-of-way.
Watts House Project (WHP) “is an artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment organization, wherein artists and design professionals, in collaboration with the Watts Towers area residents, employ art as an economic and community development engine to promote and enhance the quality of residential life in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.”
Watts Labor Community Action Committee. The campus of the famed WLCAC occupies a large block on Central Avenue, with various warehouse buildings housing offices, classrooms, assembly halls, and a museum.
Watts Coffee House. Eric had looked up the coffee house as a great place to eat along our journey. But even with address in hand, we couldn’t find it. That’s because it was in the interior core of this 2-story business building, half of which is occupied by a school. But once inside the coffee house, you saw this…
Eric details our day-long walking adventure in his blog entry for Amoeba. Eric delves much deeper into the historical and urban context of this great corner of LA.
I joined the USPUNK group on their adventure exploring the Benedict Canyon Channel, a tributary of the Ballona Creek.
The tributary has since been paved over and turned into a storm drain. A really big storm drain. Where people can walk through.