20 August 2007

My First Week in LA: Testing the Waters

Well, here I am. Living in the center of one of the most car-obsessed cities in the country without a car. The good news, of course, is that I am living in center of the city so my public transportation options are plentiful. Plus, I am withing walking distance of a drug store, a couple of markets, and several restaurants and bars. I am within (easy) biking distance of school, and soon I will start freaking people out with my mad bus-riding skills.

One thing I've noticed is that people seem amazed that it takes them so long to get from one side of town to the other in their car. The reality is, in a city of similar size, like Chicago or New York, you'd be lucky to get from point A to point B in an hour by car, and it would probably cost you a chunk of change in tolls. In fact, in New York, if you went the 13 miles from the northern tip to the southern tip of Manhattan by Subway, you'd be lucky if it only took an hour. This is roughly the distance between Downtown LA and the West side.

One of the highlights of my first week was an "architectural bike tour" given by the architect David Hertz in Venice on the western edge of LA. It was massive and chaotic, with probably 100 people on bikes, which was both difficult and highly amusing. At points we were certain that someone was going to get arrested, but we biked on and got to see a lot of cool buildings.

Early work by Frank Gehry:

Several times when we stopped to look at someone's house, the owner would come out with a look of complete awe on their face at how many people were staring at their home. Then they would tell us about the house, and we would roll on.

I could not have imagined a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

1 comment:

erin said...

car-free is the way to be! Especially when you live right in the bit of the city most serviced by transit, and hardest to find a parking spot in.