Sunday, December 31, 2006

Central Plaza, Chinatown

The Central Plaza in Chinatown, located just north of downtown Los Angeles, was established in 1938, moving the Old Chinatown from about a mile away to this area that was once the Little Italy of L.A.
On the final day of 2006, just as these two men contemplate their next move in a game of Chinese chess, many of us consider what we will do to accomplish our goals in the coming New Year. Best wishes for making all the right moves in 2007.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Phillipe's, Los Angeles

This is a cornerstone restaurant of Los Angeles. Established in 1908 by Phillipe Mathieu, the inventor of the French Dipped Sandwich, Phillipe's still has a great old fashioned menu and an atmosphere that manages to make you feel like you've stepped back in time. This Saturday afternoon crowd is what you're likely find here any day of the week, but it's worth the wait.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cruising, Santa Fe Springs

Cerritos may have that huge Auto Square, but they don't sell any cool classics like this one (1954 Chevy Bel Air?), cruising east on Washington Blvd. in Santa Fe Springs.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cerritos Auto Square, Cerritos

The Cerritos Auto Square is the largest and most financially successful auto mall in the world, according to J.D Power and Associates. It's a great place to test drive several different manufacturer's automobiles without having to drive to dealers all over Southern California. Located next to the 605 Freeway at the South Street exit in the city of Cerritos, there's currently 25 dealerships lining the 100 acres of property.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Aerial Lifts, Pico Rivera

These aerial lifts were actually photographed a few days ago and I didn't use the shot on that day. But something about the dinosaur-like appearance of these "cherry pickers" made me go ahead with it and post it today. Lifts and other equipment are available to rent from United Rentals in Pico Rivera (not Pico Riv-i-era, as some people call it).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cloudy Sunset, Manhattan Beach

This lifeguard tower on Manhattan Beach appears to be watching the sunset from just south of the pier as the last rays of light spill over the horizon.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, L.A.!

OK, so Santa is cool and represents what is good about the spirit of giving at this time of year. But God gave the greatest gift of all through the birth of His only Son, Jesus Christ, who came into this world to save us from our sins. The image of the Bible passage here is from Luke chapter 2. It's what Christmas is really all about.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve, Monrovia

Santa may be exhausted from working the malls yesterday, but tonight he's making the annual trek around the world to deliver gifts. He's a pretty cool old dude. Impressive.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mall Santa, Arcadia

This Mall Santa Claus has just enough time to stretch his legs before another child visits him with Christmas wishes at Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Masonic Lodge, Covina

I'm not sure what struck me about this side view of the Covina Masonic Lodge, but I thought it was worth taking a moment to photograph it. The Lodge is located at the corner of 2nd and School St. in Covina.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fosselman's Ice Cream Co., Alhambra

Fosselman's Ice Cream Company has been a family owned and operated business since 1919. They have won numerous awards for their delicious premium ice cream and malts. This is one of those cool places that has a retro feel and offers high quality products with friendly service. They are located at 1824 W. Main Street in Alhambra.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Donut Hole, La Puente

This drive-thru donut shop on Amar Road in La Puente is the sole survivor of four Donut Holes that were built in the 1960s. Business looked a little slow today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cactus Garden, East Los Angeles

This cactus garden is near the intersection of Floral Dr. and Humphreys Ave. There seems to be something interesting around every corner in East L.A.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Train Depot, San Dimas

The old Santa Fe train depot in San Dimas now serves as home of the Pacific Train Museum and the San Dimas Historical Society. This town has managed to keep its Old West character and has a very interesting little downtown area along Bonita Avenue.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

11th Tee, La Verne

After some much needed rain yesterday, it was one of those picture-perfect days in Southern California as a golfer hits a drive off the 11th tee this afternoon at Sierra La Verne Country Club in the city of La Verne.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Getty Center, Los Angeles

It's difficult to put this place into words, but there's plenty of information available on the Getty Center website. Architect Richard Meier designed the complex to utilize a lot of natural light on a ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains. The travertine stone - 16,000 tons of it - was imported from Italy for the building exteriors. Best of all, the museum is free to visit. You only need to make a reservation and pay for parking.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hilltop, Bradbury

The driveway of a hilltop estate in Bradbury leads into a great view of the San Gabriel Valley and beyond. This exclusive gated community covers less than two square miles, but its serenity was jolted on March 16, 1988 when racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were murdered in their home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chicken, North Hollywood

The Los Angeles area isn't exactly a farming community, but North Hollywood High School has an agricultural department with a cooperative farm, and a magnet program through the L.A. Zoo for animal studies. The livestock at the high school includes chicken, goats and a pig.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Undie Run, Westwood

UCLA students jockey for position at the start of the quarterly Undie Run, a ritual at the Westwood university where students mark exams week by running across the campus in their underwear.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Tree Lane, Altadena

No, this isn't a photograph of Christmas fireworks. It's just an in-camera enhancement of the colorful holiday lights on the deodar trees lining Christmas Tree Lane, a National Historic Landmark. It's actually Santa Rosa Ave. in Altadena, looking north from Calaveras St. The old trees on this street are strung with 10,000 lights every Christmas season, a tradition since 1920.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Evergreen Cemetery, Boyle Heights

Founded in 1877, Evergreen Cemetery is the oldest existing cemetery in Los Angeles. It's in an area of the city known as Boyle Heights, just east of downtown L.A. This lonely, generic tombstone leaves much to the imagination.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Old Building, Baldwin Park

This old industrial building sits at the intersection of Ramona Blvd. and Badillo St. in Baldwin Park. The razor-wire fence surrounding the deserted structure gives it a sinister look. I don't know what type of business used to be here, but it appears to be well-protected from trespassers, so maybe it's going to be preserved or restored for commercial use.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Range "Rover", Tarzana

This big black dog is cruising in style, getting a ride through Tarzana in the back seat of a cool Range Rover, westward on Ventura Blvd.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Olvera Street, Los Angeles

Delicious taquitos are prepared by hand at Juanita's Mexican Cafe on historic Olvera Street. This tiny cafe has been in business since 1944 and continues to carry on the tradition of making simple but tasty Mexican food. Olvera Street is the birthplace of the city of Los Angeles in 1781 and is a popular tourist attraction.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sierra Madre Playhouse, Sierra Madre

The Sierra Madre Playhouse is one of many small theaters with an annual adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale of redemption, "A Christmas Carol." This theater is unique in that it is non-profit and staffed by volunteers, including many of the performers and production crew. It's the type of place that fits perfectly into the character of the city of Sierra Madre.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Produce Market, Sun Valley

The parking lot was full and Sunland Produce was bustling with shoppers looking for the best local deals on fresh produce at this independent market in Sun Valley.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Graffiti, Lake View Terrace

I have mixed feelings about even posting an image of graffiti, not wanting to draw any attention to the "tagger" of this type of trash that's sprayed across walls, fences, buildings, bridges, homes, trucks, etc. in the L.A. area. The city of Lake View Terrace, merchants and homeowners must spend a lot of money to paint over all the mess. What kind of person would willingly deface someone else's property?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Trailer Park, Glendora

Vintage mid-century photograph? No, this was shot today at one of the many trailer parks that line legendary Route 66 in Glendora.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bike Path, Irwindale

A lone bicyclist reaches the top of the bike path at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. This city of gravel pits was once considered as a possible stadium site for the NFL's Raiders.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Trojan Marching Band, Pasadena

The Trojan Marching Band played loud and clear outside the Rose Bowl prior to the big game between USC and UCLA, but it was somewhat muffled later in the day as the underdog Bruins defeated the Trojans, 13-9, to knock USC out of contention for a BCS title.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Santa, Beverly Hills

The countdown to Christmas becomes more tangible as the calendar hits December 1st and many people, especially children, begin to open the daily doors of their Advent calendars. Santa is a big part of the season as seen here in the windows of the House of Bijan boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Street Corner, Hollywood

Hollywood is an enigma. Things aren't always what they appear to be and the glamorous facade is pure glitz. Even though it's famous for movies, most "Hollywood productions" are not produced in Hollywood. It's a strange place, where dreamers come to be discovered, only to discover that Hollywood is full of broken dreams. Is this a photograph of two women going for a walk, or two women walking the streets? In Hollywood, it wouldn't be a surprise to discover they're not even women. Your imagination is not far-fetched here. But reality is.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tower Records, West Hollywood

Unfortunately, this is the end of an era for bankrupt Tower Records. The once mighty music retailer has recently begun liquidating through its new owner, Great American Group, which plans on closing all 89 Tower Records stores. This store in particular has been a landmark on Sunset Blvd. for about 35 years, and often had live in-store performances from many bands and entertainers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jet Propulsion Lab, La Canada Flintridge

The NASA-JPL site is nestled at the base of the mountains below the Angeles National Forest. This lab was established by California Institute of Technology in the 1930s and is "part of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration, designed to explore Earth and space and to send robots and humans to explore the Moon, Mars and beyond." (Note: The mailing address for JPL is Pasadena, but the physical location of the buildings is La Canada Flintridge).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Honolulu Ave., Montrose

Montrose is one of those small towns that has an old-time charm, where the main street has independent shops and restaurants and you find people just patiently strolling along. It's kind of hard to believe that it's only about 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Metro Gold Line, South Pasadena

The Metro Gold Line stops at Mission Station in South Pasadena to allow a rider & bicycle to exit at the corner of Mission and Meridian.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

View From the Pier, Santa Monica

The morning sunlight illuminates Santa Monica State Beach in this view from the pier.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Escalator, Century City

Early in the morning, on the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year (aka "Black Friday"), this escalator was moving quietly without shoppers at Westfield Century City. It must have been the calm before the storm.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, Monrovia

There is so much to be thankful for, and certainly too much to post here. But it all starts with God and family. And after our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I was truly thankful for the first slice of my wife's homemade pumpkin cheesecake and the opportunity to watch some football on TV.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Traffic, Duarte

Traffic builds in both directions on the 210 Fwy. as cars zoom in and out of town for the Thanksgiving holidays. This shot was made from the pedestrian overpass between Mountain and Buena Vista in the city of Duarte, looking east.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Golden Gate Theatre, East Los Angeles

This was once an incredible movie theater, with a cool exterior building and a covered courtyard entrance leading to the main building, which is now the only thing remaining. It stands at the corner of Atlantic and Whittier in East L.A. There is a great website devoted to old theaters, called Cinema Treasures, and there's a photograph of what the Golden Gate Theatre looked like in 1965. My older brother and sister would bring me here when I was just a little boy, and my grandparents lived a few blocks away.
On a side note, while I was snapping a few images here, a man approached me and asked if the rest of the theater was going to be torn down. I don't know. But we got into a discussion about this theater and the area. He told me his dad used to bring him to the movies here and he had vivid memories of that era. When he mentioned where he went to high school, I was surprised that it was also my alma mater. Then he said that he graduated in 1978 and I was blown away! We graduated from the same school in the same year, but didn't know each other. And here we are, nearly 30 years later, talking about people we knew in high school while standing in front of a shut down theater in East L.A.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bridal Shop, Temple City

The retail district in Temple City runs about a mile along Las Tunas Dr. between Baldwin Ave. and Rosemead Blvd. I counted at least 15 bridal shops in this short stretch of the downtown area. (The Temple City Bl. sign appears in the reflection of this store's window.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Starbucks, Azusa

This could be pretty much anywhere in the country (or the world, for that matter) because it's the view of the baristas while you're waiting for your coffee at any Starbucks. I really don't consider myself a coffee drinker, but my wife got me started on an occasional small (oh. . .excuse me, I mean "tall") latte or mocha about a year ago. The Starbucks pictured here opened in Azusa this year at the corner of Foothill and Azusa.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Portable Toilets, Los Angeles

Man, I hate these modern outhouses. But they sure are convenient when you're not near a clean restroom. . .if you can handle the smell.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Doctors' House, Glendale

This Queen Anne Victorian style home is located in Brand Park next to the library. Originally built on a different site in Glendale in 1888, it was moved and restored in 1980 under the leadership of the Glendale Historical Society. The name of the house is in reference to the doctors who lived there at different times. It's open for tours and special exhibits.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Clown Sign, Norwalk

I couldn't resist taking a snapshot of this sign in Norwalk because it reminded me of an encounter I had many years ago. I used to own a Honda Accord, and it broke down one day while exiting the freeway. As I pushed it to the side of the road, a car pulled up next to me and I heard a voice ask, "Do you need any help?" When I turned around, the good samaritan was a guy in a clown suit! I said, "Uh, no. I think I got it covered, man." And the clown went on his merry way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

L.A. Equestrian Center, Burbank

A handler readies a horse for participation in the Los Angeles National Horse Show, this week at the L.A. Equestrian Center. They do more than make movies in Burbank. . ."They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Big Tires, City of Industry

Do you think tires this size would look cool on a Chrysler PT Cruiser? Does Pep Boys stock these babies?
The oversize load is being carried by a truck heading north on the 605 Fwy. in the City of Industry.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vacant Lot, Monterey Park

OK, so a vacant lot isn't the most interesting subject matter. But vacant land is becoming more scarce, especially in areas that have experienced the growth that this city has in the past 20-30 years. The property is at the southeast corner of Atlantic Blvd. and Hellman Ave., and is already being primed for development of a new shopping center. I'm familiar with the area because I grew up in Monterey Park. The influx of Asian immigrants changed the demographics so dramatically that by 1990, this city had the first Asian-descent majority population in the continental U.S. There was some backlash from area residents and politicians, and at one point an ordinance was passed that required businesses to post their signs in English. It's a diverse and interesting community now, with some of the best Chinese restaurants in Southern California.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lakers, Los Angeles

The Lakers warm up at Staples Center before the start of their NBA matchup against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies as the Laker Girls wait their turn to take the court. The Lakers won the game, 91-81.