View from Grandview Point in Elysian Park, north of downtown LA. The LA River below turns south as it enters full concrete enclosure for a twenty mile run to Long Beach and the ocean. Railroad tracks line both sides of the river to south, then the train tracks on the west side of the river cross over to join the east side tracks below before reaching the Taylor Switching Yard to the north. The Taylor Switching Yard was a Southern Pacific facility that was closed in 1985 and the south parcel is now used by Metrorail as a maintenance facility (large red roofed structure across the river to the NE). The former Southern Pacific yard was much larger and extended north around the river bend occupying the empty lot and park on the other side of the river directly north. The land is being redeveloped into residential and parkland.
Overview and History Alllllrightie now, here's your soundtrack. Please click on "Hollywood" before you make another move. "LA Woman" is next up on your playlist.Quick math lesson:"If you've got it, flaunt it. If you don't got it, invent it and then flaunt it."Los Angeles is the second biggest city in the USA, it's in Southern California where you can go surfing or snowboarding whenever you want, and it means "City of Angels."LA was first named in 1781 by a Spanish governor who called it "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de la Porciuncula", which means you need to go back to Spanish class.I mean, "The Village of our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncula." (The Porzincula part refers to a chapel in Italy dating back to the fourth century AD, not a native American tribe or anything local.)Mexico inherited Los Angeles when it won its independence from Spanish rule in 1821. Twenty-five years later LA became part of the United States territory in the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War. California became a state of the US soon after, and LA started getting excited for the arrival of Jim Morrison and the Doors.Railroads laid track to LA in 1876, which was very convenient for transporting the oil supply which was discovered in 1892 and Pow! The economy took off. With that, the population exploded, everybody ran out of water, you know, the usual story.Now that I think about it, LA has documented this story in a TV series called "The Beverly Hillbilles." Just watch the opening credits and you'll get the whole concept. This was one of the longest-running and most popular TV shows ever made in the States, which is why most Americans will think "swimming pools... movie stars..." when you say "Callyfurnia."And LA is where the TV and movies come from, specifically Hollywood, or Tinseltown, in the Hollywood Hills. This is where it all comes from, dancing pictures across the silver screen! If you've watched American TV, you've seen it. Here's the Bat Cave from "Batman".The first movie made in Hollywood dates to 1910, ("In Old California") and the first western TV station began broadcasting there in 1947.Oh, by the way, LA sits on the San Andreas geologic fault line. Fault lines are prone to earthquakes, and everybody expects LA to fall into the ocean someday.Getting There As soon as the wheels touch the ground, the cellphones flip open and you start overhearing people loudly telling everyone what their next appointment is. That's how you know you're in LA. The phone doesn't even have to be on.LAX is the main airport where it all goes down. Shuttle buses connect the airport to the city's Metro Green Line.TransportationLA is a driving city; you need a car so you have a place to sit while you are waiting in traffic. Worst traffic jams and road rage on earth.Contrary to popular belief, they actually do have a public transportation system with buses and a metro and everything in LA. Fares cost $1.25 for a single ride, $5.00 for a day pass, if you're interested. See, the thing is you need a window you can roll down to flip people the bird.Visit the LA Union Station just to see one of the last great railway stations, as it's known.People and Culture Rock and roll! Do you know what that means? That means you can do whatever the hell you want, really loud, and it should probably bounce up and down at some point... sort of like the Baroque Period, but instead of gold you can use neon and breast implants too. They both bounce a lot better than gold, anyway.Charles Mingus, The Doors, The Mothers of Invention, Guns N' Roses, Public Enemy, N.W.A, Snoop DoggThese people did not get there by asking anyone else for permission, see what I'm saying? Dr. Dre's classic album "The Chronic" will instruct you in everything else you need to know about L.A.Famous L.A. writers who did the same thing but on paper: Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, John Fante.Q:How do you say, "F--- You" in LA?A: "Call me."Things to do & RecommendationsDisneyland is a massively popular vacation destination, especially for people with children. Walt Disney was the pioneer of animation who created Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Cinderalla and some interesting WWII training films.Architecture: Disney's Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. For more architecture, look up the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and visit some of the residences he built.For some of the artistic flavor of LA, you can do lunch at Casbah Cafe on Sunset Boulevard, and catch some live jazz at Spazio.Absorb the genius of Diego Rivera in the LA County Museum of Art, and then ask yourself how you will do something to keep up with him and Batman. Thank you L.A.! Text by Steve Smith.