Sunday, November 18, 2012

THE GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK 2012 RECAP: Braving the Rain From Downtown, Through Melrose and To The Ocean

#glaw #greatlawalk
The starting point: Walt Disney Concert Hall

Rain? What rain?

OK, so it was a bit wet this year. But nonetheless, at least 200 passionate Angelenos woke up early and braved an early-morning drizzle to take part in the seventh annual Great Los Angeles Walk.

The best part? Most of the Walk-ers braved a downpour or two and made it to the very end, 17 miles later! (Although the length is in dispute -- Google Maps claims we walked 16.92 miles, but several pedometers clocked in at closer to 19 or even 20.) More than half of this year's participants were brand new to the Great Los Angeles Walk -- which makes it even more impressive that so many of them weren't turned off by the rain! (Of course, we were expecting closer to 400 or more participants had it not been so gloomy on Saturday morning.) Folks came in from San Diego and elsewhere to pound the pavement, and this year see Melrose Avenue up close and personal.

Maybe it was the rain, or perhaps it was the shorter route than last year, but Great Los Angeles Walk veterans told me they felt much less winded this year. "Overall this Great LA Walk was less exhausting than prior ones," one regular, Raul, wrote on Twitter. Another Walk-er, Rhema, noted that she completed the Walk even with a bum knee, and mentioned how great other Walk-ers were: "Great day, Great walk, Great people! You guys are a good bunch. When my knee was giving out everyone stopped to make sure I was OK and asked if I needed something. GLAW participants are a very cool bunch!!"

Along the way, this year's Walk centered on Melrose, where Walk-ers walked by Paramount Studios and Raleigh Studios; unofficial L.A. Democratic party homebase Lucy's El Adobe cafe; the epicenter of L.A. bike culture at Heliotrope; the famous Melrose shopping district, home also to the Groundlings, the Golden Apple, the Improv and others; the tremendous (and colorful) Pacific Design Center buildings; the original Tommy's shack; the Ukranian Cultural Center (formerly Jensen's Melrose Theatre); legendary Brooklyn's Bagels; and so much more.

This year's Walk kicked off with a bit of a history lesson behind the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as shared by volunteer Bob Scales, who also worked on the building's construction. Then our pal (and L.A. expert) Chris Nichols, who's behind the popular Los Angeles magazine column and blog Ask Chris, gave a pep talk to the Walk-ers. (Thanks to both Bob and Chris -- and my embarrassed apologies to Big Parade LA's Bob Inman, who I had every intention of introducing as well, but then in my frazzled state, completely forgot.)

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The crowd outside Valerie Confections.

At 9:15, we embarked on our journey -- leaving the Disney Hall and turning west on 1st, which quickly turned into Beverly. At Beverly near Virgil we were welcomed by Valerie Confections (3360 W. 1st), which had free, rich hot chocolate (with homemade whipped cream!) waiting for us, as well as homemade gourmet pastries. Truly yum. Valerie Confections will be selling pastries on Saturday mornings, and I know we'll be back to enjoy items like lemon tea cake with pomegranate frosting, creme fraiche scone and apple/pear pie with caramel. Did I say yum?

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Tai Kim serves up ice cream goodness at Scoops.

From there, we walked up Virgil to Melrose, and immediately headed West to start the portion of the hike down this year's featured street. But soon we were at Heliotrope, where Scoops Ice Cream (712 N. Heliotrope) maestro Tai Kim was busy working overtime selling ice cream to the Great Los Angeles Walk masses. Normally Tai opens the store at noon on a Saturday, but he was gracious enough to open it at 10:30 for Walk-ers. PLUS, among Saturday's flavors were two breakfast-themed ones created especially for the Great LA Walk: Maple Cap'n Crunch and Cornflakes. Both were delicious. And with lines out the door, I'm sure this was the first Scoops experience for many of our Great LA Walk participants -- and I'm pretty sure it won't be their last.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The crowd outside ink.sack.

We then continued down Melrose, from East Hollywood into Hollywood, and then West Hollywood. Near La Cienega, our pals at ink.sack (8360 Melrose) had prepared special lunch packs for Walk-ers: A gourmet turkey sandwich, a banana, granola and water, all for just $8. The regular ink.sack menu was, of course, available too.

Swift walkers got to the end as early as 2 p.m., but the biggest crowd hit the ocean at around 5 p.m. for a group shot. As always, there were Walk-ers who did the event right, stopping at The Village Idiot on Melrose for Bloody Marys, etc. For the after party, Santa Monica's Wokcano gave us a large space to sit down and enjoy happy hour drinks, while Smashing Young Lad & Co. set up a digital photo booth for all of us to take photos as souvenirs. (You should have received them via email by today.)

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012

The rain may have kept some people away, but it meant that the Walk-ers who decided to brave the event were still gung-ho and happy to be there. If anything, surviving 17 miles in the drizzle gave all of us an even bigger badge of honor. Even my 7-year-old, the Blogger Kid, walked about half of it. (Next year he wants to do it all. We'll see.)

Read most of the Tweets from the day -- at least the ones with the #glaw hashtag -- here!

Post your Great Los Angeles Walk photos to our Flickr stream here.

Still want a t-shirt as a souvenir? They're available here: http://greatlawalk.spreadshirt.com/.

We'll post a link soon (or else, even post them here) from the after party's photo booth.

Some pics from the day:

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Chris Nichols talks to the crowd.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The crowd listens.

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I talk to the crowd before we embark. (Pic by Anthony Uy)

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
And we're off!

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Passing by downtown.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Shakespeare? Cat? Shakespeare Cat?

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
'Tis the season: "The Nutcracker" now on stage at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Some take the bridge, some do not.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The people of Los Angeles, in mural form.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Something I had never noticed before: The United Firefighters of Los Angeles is based in a building that looks like it's literally on fire.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Filipino history mural in Historic Filipinotown.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The original Tommy's!

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
You think the $2 bath deal is still in effect at the Hotel Lafayette?

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
I shall name this chicken "Holly."

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Ukranian Culture Center. Opened as a silent movie theater in the 1920s.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The Octagon "Church on Melrose"

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Maple Cap'n Crunch and Cornflake, among the flavors at Scoops!

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
As Michael Jackson looks on, a crowd anxiously awaits the 11 a.m. open of their friendly local medical marijuana dispensary.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
OK, what's going on here?

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
The woman in the billboard is clearly shocked at seeing so many people walk down her street.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Will likes what he sees.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Brief detour to check out the house that Jack London allegedly slept in.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Paramount.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Anthony and Spidey.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Insomniac.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Monsters on Melrose.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Kids, just stay away from Peter Pan. Stay. Away.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Dance class.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Thank You, Andy Warhol.

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The Record Collector for 39 years on Melrose. (Photo by Anthony Uy)

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Where The Wild Things Are: Cake Edition.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Widely considered the ugliest building in all of Los Angeles. Located at La Cienega and Melrose.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Downpour.

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Vacancy at the Royal Santa Monica!

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
Whoa. What are they about to cut off that horrible-looking dog?

Great Los Angeles Walk 2012
We made it to the ocean at around 5 p.m. -- where we met with several other finishers! Some got there earlier, and some later. (Photo by Anthony Uy)

Thanks to Chris Nichols; Bob Scales; Bob Inman; Tai Kim from Scoops; Joy, Will and the guys from ink.sack; George at Wokcano; Joshua from Smashing Young Lad & Co.; kim from Spin PR for finding us Wokcano; and Stan from Valerie Confections for participating in this year's event! And most importantly, thank you to the 200-plus die-hard Los Angeles fans who took part in the walk!

Save the date for next year -- Saturday, November 23, 2013. If you're looking to do more urban hikes before then, make sure you check out the regular epic walks that Big Parade LA puts together. Not only is it good exercise, but their walks are filled with history, culture, music and a lot of fun.

Here are some links to other recaps of this year's Great Los Angeles Walk. Send us your links!

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2012 Flickr Pool

2 comments:

Rita said...

Looks like it was an extraordinary event--as always! You guys really get to know LA on a whole new level. I can't wait to do it one of these years!

I am definitely going to check out the ice cream and pastry vendors. Sounds delish.

Katie said...

Looks like a great turnout! I'm hoping to make it to next years.

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