It was a Great Los Angeles Walk like no other, but despite this year's socially distanced limitations, we're proud to say that hundreds still hit the pavement on Saturday to explore our city, and back on its ultimate main drag: Wilshire Boulevard.
There was no pre-Walk gathering this year or set start time, so that people could walk when they wanted to and not get bunched up. (We weren't about to be a superspreader event!) So indeed, some folks started walking as early as 7 a.m., while others slept in and joined later in the day or afternoon. Sadly, that means we never got a chance to see everyone, but we did collect some pics of people who we did run into, either in the morning or throughout the day. (And even talked to a couple that first met on the Great Los Angeles Walk a few years ago! Some of this year's participants are above.)
The Great Los Angeles Walk began in 2006 as a hike down Wilshire Boulevard, inspired by the book "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles," written by Kevin Roderick with research by J. Eric Lynxwiler. We returned for a second trip in 2010, and now for our 15th edition. But this was our first full Walk down Wilshire in a decade — and quite a bit has changed.
Many buildings are gone, plenty new have sprouted up (or are still in the process of construction). And there's a lot more trash on the street, as the city is in a bit of chaos — some because of the pandemic, and some a lingering problem from even before this year.
From the starting point at Wilshire and Grand (aka One Wilshire), we followed the street's 15.8 miles, passing through MacArthur Park, and seeing sites like Bullock's Wilshire and The Park Plaza Hotel. There were the conservation disappointments (The "Shambassador" high school and the remains of the Brown Derby) and the successes (the Wiltern Theatre). Then there was the shock of seeing what has happend to LACMA, while also enjoying an irreverent art installation there.
We've heard from some of you, and please keep sharing your experience. Thanks to everyone who made all of the trek or some of it, and here's hoping next year we'll be back to a regular, group event. Here are some highlights from the day (some descriptions by the Los Angeles Conservancy):
One Wilshire, the starting point of this year's Walk. This former office tower now serves as a telecommunications hub.
Of course, a car commercial filming down Grand at Wilshire. When is a car commercial *not* filming in downtown?
One of our favorite utility box murals.
Christmas is under way across Los Angeles.
A busy 110 freeway.
The "Wilshire Special" light, an early street light design in Los Angeles.
Watching over us.
Passionate about Wilshire.
And the end point, the Santa Monica statue at the end of Wilshire, overlooking the ocean. We spent our time exploring this year, since there wasn't an end party like normal. Hopefully next year we'll be back to doing this all together. As usual, it will be the Saturday before Thanksgiving. See you all then!