Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 110th, Angels Flight!

Today is not only the final day of 2011, but 110 years ago today, Col. J.W. Eddy gave us our beloved  Angels Flight funicular railway, which has survived countless ups and downs through the years - literally.

Unfortunately, it wasn't even given a Centennial celebration in 2001 since it suffered a tragic accident in February of that year.

So today, to honor its century-plus-a-decade birthday, the Shortest Railway In The World is offering prices like it was 1901. So instead of a quarter -- You get to ride for a penny!

Interesting, since, when you adjust for inflation, one cent back in 1901 is worth about 27 cents today. But who cares? You get to use up your pennies!

For most of Angels Flight's history, the fare was five cents. According to an article in the Pacific Electric Railway Journal, written in 1958:

"Shortly after the service officially opened on December 31, 1901..."Tickets were cheap and it soon became labeled as 'The 1-cent Line' because of the penny service. It competed with nobody, except for theunlikely pedestrian who tried to save a penny by hiking up the 207 steps along the Third Street tunnel.

Increased operating costs eventually forced Col. Eddy to consider and then finally raise the fare to 5 cents."

Today, though, the railway will also be selling up to 1,000 commemorative tickets for a dollar. All you collectors in da house!

This year was also a special one for Angels Flight -- in true Hollywood fashion, the funicular played a cameo role in the current movie, The Muppets (A film that happened to be written by a couple of Los Angeles natives and was surprisingly militant in nature at times).

Last year, The Militant earned the dubious distinction of being the last Angels Flight rider of 2010, the year it finally returned to service after the 2001 accident. He may or may not repeat that feat this year!

In any case, the railway is open today until 10 p.m., so bring some pennies and wish Sinai and Olivet a happy 110th!

Pictures of the 110th Anniversary:
A father and son enjoy the flight up.
The annual Angels Flight bulletin.
City Hall with the Lindbergh Beacon FTW!
The Militant got his ticket!

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Balian Points Of Light

For those of you still trying to get your Holiday Spirit on, get on up to Altadena. It's not only home to the famous Christmas Tree Lane on Santa Rosa Avenue, but it's also home of one of the biggest light displays in town.

The famous Balian mansion on Mendocino Lane near Allen Avenue, has been lighting up their house every Christmastime since 1955. The Armenian American family built an empire out of selling ice cream in 1949 and today is the largest supplier of ice cream to the LAUSD and other school districts (those of you who went to LAUSD schools know what's up).

The Militant would have linked to their website in the above paragraph, but...they don't have one.

The Militant checked it out recently and was floored. Yeah, it's bright, but surprisingly not as tacky as you'd think (seriously, there have been some real awful ones around town). It's also an equal-opportunity Christmas display, with religious figures of The Nativity, Three Wise Men and angels on one side, and secular wintery figures of Santa Claus, snowmen and sleighs on the other. Naturally, it's a tourist attraction - The Militant counted about two dozen people, mostly families, posing for pictures or taking videos.

It's relatively easy to get to - just take Allen Avenue north, keep going, keep going, keep going...after you pass New York Drive and the school on the right side, make a right on Mendocino. YOU CAN'T MISS IT, LOL. It's also transit-accesible - take the (M) Gold Line to the Sierra Madre Villa Station, and take Metro Local 264 (why you can't take a single bus from the Allen Station (the 686 stops there, but only takes you to New York Dr.)...that's Metro Logic). You can ride your bike, of course, from the Allen Station.

A Nativity scene with the Three Wise Men...

...and just a couple yards away, another set of Three Wise Men. That's gonna be awkward when they arrive.
Jolly Old St. Nick appears to be setting a brush fire!

Families pose for pictures at Altadena's biggest tourist attraction.