When people think of Los Angeles, most of us tend to think of nice weather, palm trees, traffic and Hollywood. I believe this does a great disservice to the city, as these are only superficial elements that exist on the surface and don't really describe the underlying culture of LA. As the suburbs expanded outwards throughout the decades, some of the things that make this a truly interesting place have become obscured just by the fact that simply less people were living within the downtown core and taking advantage of the wonderful amenities it has to offer. It's really only in recent years that more attention has been given to the historic downtown area, and the Night on Broadway event hosted by Councilman José Huizar plays a big part in helping to revitalize that interest. It was last weekend that I was able to witness this street fair for myself and it was certainly a night to remember!
For my trip up to LA, I decided to take a train instead of having to worry about rush hour and I just wanted to point out how lovely Union Station is! I admire the Spanish wood ceiling and Art Deco elements like the chandeliers, windows and arch way. It's an eclectic mix that is relaxed yet refined, which is perfect for the Southern California setting. After taking a moment to appreciate the look of this place, I took a subway over to Pershing Square and walked over to Broadway, which was open only to pedestrians for the event.
I got there in the afternoon and the atmosphere was lively and upbeat. There were busy shops open, street artists painting their own murals, and an assortment of activities related to the event. A few things that stood out to me was this giant harp with strings attached to the top of a building (shown above) and a planetarium-like dome that showed psychedelic imagery. What I really came to see however were the historic movie palaces that opened up for everyone to see.
For me, these historic theaters (like the Orpheum above) were the main draw in coming out to this event in the first place. There just aren't too many buildings like it in the area and I'm happy to see that most of them are pretty well preserved (some more than others). They speak to a certain side of Los Angeles that I don't think a lot of people realize exists here, kind of like having a slice of Paris or London (with their opera houses and palaces) in our own backyard! These theaters made going to the movies an experience and provided a means of escapism from our everyday lives even before Hollywood was really getting off the ground at the time.
I personally would like to thank José Huizar and his efforts to get people excited and more appreciative of this city's local culture. This is a wonderful investment that helps increase tourism and make the streets of LA all the more safe and fun to walk down both day and night.