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Garris

Los Angeles photos...

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Here are some photos of downtown L.A. I took during a trip there about 2 weeks ago:

Downtown L.A., daytime:

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Different L.A. downtown architecture:

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Reflections from a glass building lighten up a building across the street:

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Skyscraper downtown:

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Interesting angles downtown:

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Signs of life downtown:

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Sunset downtown:

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L.A. Times Building, downtown:

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L.A. City Hall:

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Skyline at night:

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The Disney Concert Hall:

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An interesting view of a wall at the Getty:

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More of the Disney Concert Hall...

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The entrance...

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An interesting sculpture hangs in a building's entrance...

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More shots of the L.A. skyline as jets streak through the sky...

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L.A. facades...

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That's it!

- Garris

Providence, RI

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BEAUTIFUL! I must say, I like LA more than I dislike it.

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Garris, those are some beautiful shots. :thumbsup:

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Amazing photos Garris :thumbsup: Ive never been to LA, but its sure looks cool!

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Garris, I sense you have a weakness for that 777 Tower. :thumbsup:

Call me crazy, but I hate this:

laskylinecopy3gc.jpg

And of course it's not your photography either. It's something about the skyline itself that looks garish (no pun intended) to me. As if it lacks ... I dunno, spontaneity. It doesn't look genuine.

It looks like exactly the sort of skyline all the money in the world can (and would) buy.

Anybody else feel that way? Am I making any sense? Like I said, call me crazy ...

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Garris, I sense you have a weakness for that 777 Tower. :thumbsup:

Call me crazy, but I hate this:

laskylinecopy3gc.jpg

And of course it's not your photography either. It's something about the skyline itself that looks garish (no pun intended) to me. As if it lacks ... I dunno, spontaneity. It doesn't look genuine.

It looks like exactly the sort of skyline all the money in the world can (and would) buy.

Anybody else feel that way? Am I making any sense? Like I said, call me crazy ...

I know what youre talking about, almost as if the buildings were all too new or too nice. There seems to be no old highrises mixed in. Its an almost too perfect skyline in a way.

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Unbelievably fantastic photos Garris! Unbelieveably blah skyline for the second largest city in the country. Chicago and Mpls blow LA away.

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Thank you to everyone for your kind words.

It's something about the skyline itself that looks garish (no pun intended) to me. As if it lacks ... I dunno, spontaneity. It doesn't look genuine.

It looks like exactly the sort of skyline all the money in the world can (and would) buy.

Anybody else feel that way? Am I making any sense? Like I said, call me crazy ...

No, I agree with you. I think I actually captured the character of the city's skyline quite well, for better or worse. I posted my impressions of the downtown on the Providence board and will paste them below:

"Hey everyone,

After being away on and off for almost two weeks, I thought I'd post some travel impressions and some photos of L.A. after being there for a conference. While I've popped into and out of L.A. for interviews a few times in the last few years, I hadn't been there for an extended period in almost a decade. In summary, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, especially seen through newly urbanist eyes. Here, in no particular order, are some impressions:

Character:

Love it or hate it, L.A. is unabashedly, unashamedly what it is - one of America's flashiest, wealthiest, auto dependent cultures. It makes no apologies for its sprawl and its conspicuous consumption and, indeed, it embraces such values enthusiastically. Oddly, this lead me to view it more favorably than I expected. I respect the city's embrace of self. It isn't trying to be anything other than what it is. In many ways, much of America has become more like L.A. than the reverse, but in L.A.'s case, it's "authentic." I left thinking that trying to force a "new urbanist," walkable, Northeast style lifestyle on L.A. would be like trying to force L.A. style living on Downcity Providence... Likely impossible, and certainly not desirable.

In upscale neighborhoods, wealth is on display and is everywhere, leading one of my co-workers to marvel, "Wow, where does all this money come from?" Such displays are worn quite literally on people's sleves. We think places like the East Side or Little Compton are upscale... Those communities are thimble sized compared to such places in L.A. In many places, there are upscale neighborhoods that feel like they are the size of the entire state of Rhode Island. Drive around neighborhoods in the Hollywood Hills or Beverly Hills, and it's clear why this lifestyle continues to fascinate and enthrall the American popular culture.

The city is certainly auto friendly. Signage is outstanding and, save for traffic (more about that below), it's very easy to navigate and get around almost blindly. Highway entrances/exits are clearly marked, large, and unambiguous. Every destination had ample street, lot, or garage parking without exception.

Density:

Despite its reputation for suburban sprawl (and it's definitely there in spades), there's a lot of density to be found in the L.A. megapolis and, interestingly, due to continued price increases and continued interest of people to relocate there, developers are trying to squeeze more units into their lots and the most height allowable in many neighborhoods. Indeed, I saw many a suburban neighborhood with new or ongoing 3-4 story, street fronted development that was starting to transform them into something looking more like Cambridge or Brooklyn than Scarsdale. Lamented my uncle who lives in such a neighborhood, "Everyone except me seems to want as much density as possible here. No one is fighting a thing."

Downtown:

This is actually one of the least impressive aspects about the city. First of all, the downtown core is quite small, especially for a super-sized metro like L.A. It felt about "third tier" city sized, much smaller, comparatively, than the mixed use cores of other cities I'm familiar with like Minneapolis, Seattle, or Boston. The downtown footprint is probably more the size of a Center-City Philadelphia, but not nearly as dense.

Downtown L.A. has a reputation for being on the "rebound," and that certainly appears to be true to an extent. There's a good amount of building ongoing (both residential and commercial) and the skyscraper density (see photos below) is quite impressive. The streets and sidewalks were quite clean and I felt safe at all hours.

That said, the atmosphere is more like that of Stamford, CT on steroids. There's a very "tall-corporate-office-park" sterility about the place (kind of like the business district of Seattle, but not as nice), and the streetscape is underdeveloped. The L.A. affinity for broad plazas and graded terraces which gives so much of the rest of the metro its character doesn't work at all here, making many of the building entrances feel cold and distant.

Oddly, unlike the rest of the auto-friendly metro, the downtown can be seriously confusing for the non-native to navigate by car, especially around the public library and arts district.

Disney Concert Hall:

This is worthy of separate discussion. This was my third or fourth exposure to Frank Gehry's architecture, and I am becoming more of a fan each time. The new concert hall is the undisputed architectural star of the downtown, and it's a real gem. Gehry's designs are endlessly fascinating to gaze upon and the look of the metal surfaces and how the light plays on them change with almost every step down the sidewalk. Unlike much of modern architecture, the Concert Hall feels warms and welcoming. The swooping wings of metal almost seem to embrace you, begging you to come inside. Gehry's curved metal surfaces are so foreign, so de-differentiated that the scaling of the structure is almost universal since there is no stereotyped point of comparison.

I found myself wondering what a whole street or block of Gehry architecture would look like, rather than just one building, and I found myself concluding that it would be a thing of wonder. Thankfully, I think we'll get just such an opportunity soon in downtown Brooklyn...

Food:

L.A. is a fantastic food town. Almost everywhere I went, from the hole in the wall red-sauce Italian in Studio City to the high end restaurant in the Disney Concert Hall to the unambiguously named "Ethiopian Restaurant" in the Little Ethiopia section of town was wonderful. As a friend there put it, if a restaurant opens that isn't wonderful, "it doesn't have a chance of lasting more than a month."

Attractions:

I didn't have much time for entertainment due to the conference, but I did go to the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Getty Museum. The Petersen is a must for any auto enthusiast, but I found it a bit disappointing. Their collection is indeed amazing and deep, but rather than it being a huge garage with as much packed in as possible, it strives to a more relaxed, museum type layout that limits the number of cars there, which was a bit disappointing. A huge percentage of floor space was currently devoted to hot-rods and customized cars, which also didn't appeal to me nearly as much as the rare originals I preferred to see.

The Meier design Getty Museum in West L.A. was simply remarkable. The architecture of this city on a mountain, accessed by tram, is one of impressively cool precision (with just a hint of superior detachment). The view, which is a near 360-degree vantage point over the L.A. megapolis, is worth the visit alone, with its sightlines from the Valley to the ocean limited only by the degree of haze hovering over the city. The exhibits (which I limited to seeing ones of photography due to constraints of time and interest) were fascinating.

Traffic

I can't discuss L.A. without discussing traffic. It's quite real, and quite amazing. The best driving conditions on the highways would be described as "congested." Our hotel was less than 15 miles from LAX and it took us very well over an hour to make the trip coming and going."

- Garris

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Execllent pics Garris! I think that Disney Concert hall is atrocious. :sick:

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I know what youre talking about, almost as if the buildings were all too new or too nice. There seems to be no old highrises mixed in. Its an almost too perfect skyline in a way.

Yeah. It's all too new. It looks like the skyline the city of LA thought it was supposed to build, being such a populous, wealthy, powerful city of the world.

Or I guess I could have saved myself some trouble and just said that it looks like something straight out of SimCity.

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But the skyline is rather new isn't it? Didn't the city have a restriction on building heights because of earthquakes for quite a while before better earthquake proof buildings were developed?

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Execllent pics Garris! I think that Disney Concert hall is atrocious. :sick:

Haha, that's the only building of these that I like Andy. And City Hall is pretty cool.

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one thing i've always noticed about LA's skyline, it rises out of nowhere, some places the skyline kind of slopes up, But in LA you go from short structures, to BAM 500 feet up. Don't really know how to explain it other than that. I like LA, I feel it doesn't get the respect it deserves. One city that reminds me of LA is Phoenix, It's Auto culture, less than stellar downtown. But the truth is, Phoenix is the place people go, when they can't afford to live in LA.

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Great pics Garris, wasn't that NCW Tower the Mellon Financial tower a few years back, or am I thinking about another structure similiar to that?

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Wow, impressive. Did you get any of the historic district as well?

Thanks for sharing your opinion about LA, I'm glad you enjoyed your short time here.

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I'm glad this was pushed back up, because I believe I missed it before.

Garris, you take awesome photos. While I'm not particularly fond of LA's skyline as one of the top 4 cities in the nation, I believe your photography works wonders for it. Awesome, man!

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Awesome pictures. LA's skyline certainly lacks density, but it is what it is. Thanks for sharing!

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I like how the Library Tower is on that huge hill. Makes it larger than it actually is. Neat pictures.

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Fantastic pictures! I have been looking (though not too hard) for some pics of L.A. About the traffic. I think this is something more and more cities are facing. I live in Tampa, Fl. and it is something I deal with every day as well. I only live 20 miles from work and it takes me an hour to get there, on a good day and if i avoid the highways for a good portion. At least LA and other cities have a transportation option, even if it is underdeveloped. We have nothing but a ineffective bus system and an isolated trolly line in DT. Hopefully cities around the country will wake up and give us all other options than our cars.

Steve

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