So, So Shopworn

As long as I’m virtually touring L.A., I might as well hit all the clichés. Also, I love funicular railroads and ride them whenever I get the chance. The best thing about funiculars is how thoroughly they blur the distinction between railroads and their bastard offspring, roller coasters.

How do you run a railroad up the side of a hill? The Angels Flight shows how.

The proverbial mountain goats, with legs on one side shorter than the other.

Guest Coast

In honor of M. Bouffant, Dusty, and Aunt Snow, I’m pretending I know something about L.A.

All of us who don’t live in southern California have a media-supplied image of what it looks like, which is exactly as accurate as the media-supplied image of New York. One aspect of the reality that fascinates me, for obvious reasons, is that the oldest parts of L.A. proper have buildings that look more like their east coast contemporaries than they do California buildings. In other words, there was a style for center-city buildings that overrode local style.

One of my favorites is the Bradbury Building. Like a lot of people, I first learned of it while watching Blade Runner. It’s L.A.’s entry in the cool-atrium sweepstakes. The architectural cast iron is pretty, and the original open-cage elevators are great, but it’s the steel trusses supporting the skylight that take my breath away.