(Postcard via YesterdayLA. Sadly, the Mullen Bluett building you see in the shot is being torn down AS WE SPEAK.)
Earlier this year, I marked my ten-year anniversary in Los Angeles. For that entire decade, I've worked on Wilshire Boulevard -- first at 6500 Wilshire, and for the past seven years at 5700 Wilshire. In other words, I've spent more time on the "Grand Concourse of Los Angeles" than any other place in L.A.
So it's time to get to know the street even better. Up close and personal. And I want you to come along.
I'm going to walk the entire length of Wilshire Boulevard, from downtown to Santa Monica. All 16 miles. With plenty of stops along the way to gawk at buildings, eat some food and take it all in. I'm hoping to get as many people as possible to join in on the fun, to make it an urban safari -- and perhaps gain a new perspective on our city in the process.
I was inspired, of course, by Kevin Roderick's and Eric Lynxwiler's "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles." Not only does Eric's author bio mention an all-day Wilshire hike he once took, but the book itself notes that end-to-end Wilshire treks are common:
Natives and tourists alike have been known to answer the call to explore the whole thing end to end, often in a convertible with the top down or on bicycles. Artist David Hockney pedaled the entire length on his second day in town. Others walk Wilshire and treat the quest like a pilgrimage, devoting a long day to the hike up and down more dips and inclines thant passengers on four wheels realize.
Most who try begin downtown, where the boulevard appears, seemingly at random, between palm trees planted in front of the thirty-story One Wilshire building, which despite the name actually has a Grand Avenue address. This was not the original starting point. Grand Avenue has been the eastern terminus only since the 1930s, when the most signficant thoroughfare in Los Angeles finally reached downtown.
Trekkers who make it all the way greet the Pacific between more palm trees, in front of a Depression-era statue of St. Monica on cliffs that soar above the beach. En route they traverse the hearts of two cities besides Los Angeles, cross a trio of telephone area codes, stroll over one interstate freeway and beneath another, and pass unaware over buried creeks.
It's happening SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18.
It's an all-day thing: We'll meet for breakfast at 7 (I'm thinking the downtown Standard's coffee shop, which is close by and open 24/7), start hiking at 8 a.m., and leisurely make our way to Santa Monica by 4 p.m. or so -- topping it off with dinner as the sun sets over the Pacific. (Don't worry, we're keeping things cheap here. Suggestions are welcome.) Comfy shoes and water? A must. Some sort of plan to get home from Santa Monica? Probably a good idea. Camera to blog the adventure? Of course.
You up for it? C'mon, do it! You'll be able to rest on Sunday. Plus, it's the Saturday before Thanksgiving -- so how 'bout getting some exercise before stuffing your face the following Thursday. And as an Angeleno, it's something you'll be able to proudly say you did.
To join in, Email us, or comment below. And spread the word! Let's dispell the "nobody walks in L.A." myth once and for all.
(Check out Curating the City: Wilshire Blvd. and, if you don't have it yet, pick up a copy of "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles" here.)