Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Championship 11,695 Days In The Making

Is this the real life? Or is it fantasy?
"Wait 'til next year!"

The rallying cry of despair, yet one of seemingly futile hope, was the Dodger fan's mantra come October for many seasons, but most specifically for the past decade and a half. A phrase that seemingly began in the pages of the local Brooklyn newspapers in the 1940s that applied to Dem Bums of Flatbush, a Dodgers team that had boasted seven pennants to its name, yet not one World Series title since the competition began in 1903. A team that had seized the NL Pennant during the War and Post-War years of 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953, yet falling short when it came time to face the AL Champions, which, as cruel fate had it, was the form of the Evil New York Yankees Empire - all five times. It was a period of instability, forcing six different managers to go through the wringing machine of frustration. Not even the arrival of great pioneering Pasadena phenom known as Jack Roosevelt Robinson, now canonized throughout MLB, was able to turn the tide of tribulation during those years.

 "Wait 'til next year!"

But in 1955, that year finally did come. The great Walter Alston, into his 2nd summer as skipper, led his Boys of Summer, including Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and some kid named Koufax, to glory. 

Those of you who follow The Militant Angeleno on Twitter, or have read This Here Blog since BITD (that's 2007), know that he has talked a whole lot about the Dodgers. They have been a part of his life since 197x, and without expounding on it too much (yeah, this post is gonna be long, brace yourself), Dodgerdom is one of the basic tenets of being an Angeleno. The Militant has, among other things, covered the epic 50th Anniversary Coliseum Exhibition Game, attended Clayton Kershaw's MLB debut, rode his bike to the games, featured the early efforts to get permanent bicycle parking implemented at The Stadium and took a tour of the first set of stadium renovations by Los Guggenheim in 2013.  

So, even if The Militant doesn't really blog that much (unless there's an Epic CicLAvia Tour to be revealed), he felt it was important, in light of recent developments, to break out of his quasi blog-retirement and hammer out a post for old times sake. Cool?

The Militant has witnessed three Dodgers World Series Championships in his lifetime. The second was in 1988, the Year of the Improbable. Gibson. Orel. Hatcher. Et al. "She is gone!" Ad infinitum. You all know it by now.

So what has it been like for a Dodger fan to wait 32 years for another Championship?

"Wait 'til next year!"

...We waited in 1989, vaingloriously. Back-To-Back? The Lakers did it in '87 and '88, right? But not even the addition of Eddie Murray and Willie Randolph could get the Boys in Blue past 4th place. And to add insult to injury, our Hated Rivals took the Division and the Pennant...

Sombreros to the sky! Fernando's no-hitter on June 29, 1990.

...We waited in 1990, things got a little better. That Ramon Martinez kid was showing some promise. Fernando Valenzuela threw a no-hitter on June 29. We traded some of our '88 heroes for obscure guys. Second place to the Reds...

...We waited in 1991, we got Mets '86 Champion and Crenshaw product Darryl (DAAAAA-RUUULLL) Strawberry in Dodger Blue. 28 Homers and 99 RBIs, but aside from that, it got...a bit...complicated. Second place to the Braves (an NL West team back then, by virtue of their Milwaukee years)...

...We waited in 1992. The city burned down and so did the team's hopes. Despite Kevin Gross' no-hitter on August 17 and the emergence of a young first baseman named Eric Karros, who won Rookie of the Year, it was a season to forget. A 63-99 record. Last place (in a 7-team division then). Their worst year in Los Angeles. Ugghhh...

Piazza Man: He delivers.

...We waited in 1993. The Dodgers changed their broadcast channel from KTTV 11 to KTLA 5.  The season got better - how could it get any worse? A rookie catcher and Lasorda family friend named Mike Piazza gave us 35 HRs, 112 RBIs and a ROY award. Still, it was the most mediocre season ever - 4th place, 81-81, a .500 year...

...We waited in 1994. A couple NL n00b teams in Colorado and Florida changed the division maps, and the NL West became a strictly California-Colorado affair of 4 teams. A rookie outfielder named Raoul (RAOOOOOOOOOUULLL) Mondesi hit .306 and stole 11 bases. And he won ROY (Do we detect a theme?). Even though the Doyers finally finished the season in 1st place, WTNY was a mantra for every team in the MLB, as the great Players' Strike shut the season down in August and cancelled the World Series for the first time in 90 years...

Wondering who was our ace in the mid '90s? Say Nomo.

...We waited in 1995. GM Fred Claire got us some arms from across the Pacific. A tornado by the name of Hideo Nomo caused damage at home plates across the NL and got him the start at the All-Star Game and the organization's 4th consecutive ROY award. Nomomania had arrived. The Dodgers also placed 1st in the NL West and entered the postseason for the first time since '88...but were swept by the NL Central Champion Cincinnati Reds...

...We waited in 1996. The Los Angeles sports landscape was radically changed that year. Both the Rams and Raiders had left town, the Lakers took a backseat to Michael Jordan's Bulls (but signed Shaq and a high school student from Philly named Kobe Bryant) and the nascent MLS gave us the Galaxy. The heart of the Dodger organization, Tommy Lasorda, suffered a malady with his own heart and retired after 20 years, passing on the Skipper torch to world champion shortstop Bill Russell. Nomo notched a no-no on September 17. The hot bat and baserunning of rookie OF Todd Hollandsworth garnered an unprecedented (coun 'em!) fifth consecutive ROY honor for the team. The Dodgers were edged by the Padres, losing the NL West title by one game, but made the playoffs for the first time as the NL Wild Card team...only to fall to the Braves in the NLCS...

...We waited in 1997. Piazza, Karros, Mondesi and Todd Zeile went yard all season long, but the Boys in Blue placed 2nd in the West, losing the division to the Hated Giants...

...We waited in 1998. The O'Malleys sold the Dodgers to Fox (a.k.a. The Worst Dodger Owner Ever). Russell and Claire were ousted, and Glenn Hoffman became the new skipper, with Tommy Lasorda stepping into a front-office role as GM. Team favorites Piazza, Zeile and Nomo were traded away for a bunch of players relegated to Dodger obscurity. A really young farm-grown third baseman from the DR named Adrian Beltre made his debut. The team placed third in the NL West, now it its current form of 5 teams due to the addition of the D-Backs. The Milwaukee Brewers flipped over to the National League, while the AL expanded to one more team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays...

What can Brown do for you?

...We waited in 1999. The "Los Angeles" script road uniforms, possibly the only positive contribution by the ownership during the Fox Regime, made a comeback after a 30-year absence. Another shakeup was in place with Kevin Malone stepping in as the new GM and veteran MLB manager Davey Johnson as the new skipper. They spent a ginormous amount of money (at the time) on a dude named Kevin Brown, who pitched an 18-9 record with a 3.00 ERA. But all we got was another mediocre 3rd place finish...

...We waited in 2000. It's a new century, so it's gotta be good, right? Brown led the NL in ERA, and Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros lobbed bombs. Dave Hansen and new acquisition Shawn Green also were offensive producers, but the Dodgers placed a distant 2nd place to the Hated Giants. The Lakers were able to win their first title since '88...

Blue was all about Brown and Green in 2001.

...We waited in 2001...Johnson was fired and Jim Tracy took over the managing helm. Shawn Green was hot at the plate with a franchise record 49 HRs. Catcher Paul LoDuca was also an offensive force. But the Kevin Brown Project was starting to break down with injuries and not-so quality starts. Orel Hershiser made his 2nd tour of duty in Blue, only to be released before the middle of the season. 9/11 paused the nation, and the MLB season, for nearly a week. The Lakers went Back-To-Back. Dodgers? They just got set back - a 3rd place finish to the year...

...We waited in 2002...The games were now broadcast on KCOP 13, Dan Evans became GM. Green continued to be hot, and a starter-turned reliever named Eric Gagné notched a team record 52 saves. Game Over. Nomo returned to Los Angeles for his 2nd tour of duty. A newly-acquired OF named Dave Roberts also made his Dodger debut this season. The Lakers went Back-To-Back-To-Back. The Dodgers got a Back-To-Back 3rd place finish. The Angels won the All-Wild Card World Series. But, coached by 1988 WS Dodger heroes, at least they beat the Hated Giants.

...We waited in 2003...Green and LoDuca were still hot at the plate, and Gagne was so hot, he won the Cy Young. And yet, a distant 2nd place finish...

Beltre belted in 2004.

...We waited in 2004...Another ownership change. Fox, the only Dodger owner to never win a game in the Postseason, sold the team to Boston parking lot developer Frank McCourt, who promptly brought in Paul "Pre-pedo Jared from Subway" DePodesta as GM, introducing this weird exotic concept called sabermetrics to the organization. Adrian Beltre had a breakout year with a team-leading .334 AVG, and fans chanted "MVP!" during his at-bats. The Dodgers win the NL West and got their first postseason win since 1988 thanks to starter Jose Lima's stellar NLDS shutout of the Cardinals. But the Dodgers were eliminated in 4 games. DePodesta also traded away Roberts to the eventual World Champion Red Sox, where he played a key role in their title run...

...We waited in 2005...After a phenomenal 14-2 start to the season, it quickly crashed the rest of the way. Early-season hero Milton Bradley became a clubhouse cancer by the second half, and injuries and mediocrity galore plagued the season, ending in a pathetic 71-91 4th place finish. The Montreal Expos immigrated south to Washington D.C. to become the Nationals. It's now been 17 years since the last Championship; the previous title drought was the 16 years between '65 and '81. What's going on here...

Nomar capped off an unbelievable rally on September 18, 2006.

...We waited in 2006...McCourt cleaned house and hired Cubs/Giants front office veteran Ned Colletti and Red Sox World Champion manager Grady "Forrest Gump" Little. Whittier native Nomar Garciaparra got to return to both his hometown and his old manager, and trading Bradley for an A's prospect named Andre Ethier started to pay dividends. The farm system also produced a promising harvest in the form of OF Matt Kemp and catcher Russell Martin. On September 18, the team hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back HRs to tie the Padres in the late innings, and won by a Nomah walkoff in extras. Little's postseason experience did get the Dodgers a Wild Card appearance in the playoffs, only to be swept by the Mets in the NLDS. Now 18 years without a title...

...We waited in 2007...Colletti signed Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf to the rotation, and homegrown rookies Martin, Kemp and James Loney took the team to the top in the first half, but ended the season in fourth. Nineteen years without a title...

Dodger baseball back in the Coliseum, 3/29/08!

...We waited in 2008...Happy 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles! Grady was of Little help. In came Joe Torre, an Italian American manager with 4 titles in his resume. We seem to do well with Italian American managers, right? For the first time since 1961, the Dodgers played a game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a one-off exhibition game against Frank McCourt's favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Though the Dodgers lost the preseason match, the event gathered a world's record 115,300 in attendance - the largest for a baseball game (The Militant was there...). In May, a young rookie named Clayton Kershaw made his major league debut. Colletti worked All-Stars and ring-holders Manny Ramirez and Greg Maddux into the roster. Torre took us to the top of the NL West! Then we swept the Cubs in the NLDS! The Dodgers were finally in the NLCS fir the first time since nan-teen-ety-et. COULD THIS BE THE YEAR? Nope. Dodgers lost the NLCS to the eventual World Champs, the Phillies 4-1. It was an emotional end of the season getting eliminated at home. Nomar did not want to take off his jersey, despite it being the last time he would wear it. Twenty years without a title...

...We waited in 2009. McCourt dumped Vero Beach for Saddleback Ranch in Glendale, AZ. Orlando Hudson hit for the cycle on Opening Day (The Militant was there!) and Manny got suspended 50 games for PEDs. The season was a near copy of the last, winning the West, sweeping the NLDS (against the Cardinals this time) and losing the NLCS to the Phillies, 4-1. Only this time, the NLDS began with a kicker: Frank McCourt and his wife Jaime were separating. This was the beginning of the end of the McCourt Empire. Twenty-one years without a title...

Clayton Kershaw. There's something about this kid...

...We waited in 2010. The McCourt Divorce was getting messy. Weird-ass Russian psychics and all that. What was formerly a personal matter was now adversely affecting the organization. But this Kershaw guy was starting to look good. A rookie reliever named Kenley Jansen made his debut. The Dodgers were tired of Manny being Manny and made a whole bunch of trades for obscure dudes. Fourth place finish. To add insult to injury, The Hated Giants won their first Championship in Frisco. For the Dodgers, 22 years without a title...

...We waited in 2011. Dark days in ownership. The McCourt Mess had gotten so messy, the MLB wanted to take over the day-to-day operations. McCourt filed the team for bankruptcy. The same fans who cheered "Frank! Mc! Court!" during the '04 Postseason were now calling for his ouster and to sell the team. It got ugly. Torre decided to jump off the sinking ship by retiring and passed the lightsaber to his Jedi padawan, former Yankees All-Star Don Mattingly.  The Dodgers took on an ingredient of the Giants' title success by signing their star infielder Juan Uribe, but it went off on a rough start. Clayton Kershaw won the Cy Young Award, but the team finished 3rd. Twenty-three years without a title...

Enter Los Guggenheim.

...We waited in 2012. McCourt relented and finally sold the team. It literally took some Magic. The Lakers legend-turned-businessman who wore #32 (an auspicious number, as we will discover) teamed up with a bunch of rich white dudes to form Guggenheim Baseball Management and become the new owners of the Dodgers for the nice price of $2 Billion With A B. "We are going to bring a championship back to Los Angeles," they said. Yeah. We've heard it before. A few big names were signed/traded in the middle of Los Guggenheim's first year, including Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez and the epic trade for two pairs of Red Sox - Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. Lo, the team placed 2nd and The Hated Giants won their 2nd Championship in SF. The Kings won their first Stanley Cup! The Dodgers? 24 years without a title...

...We waited in 2013. The first full year under Los Guggenheim looked promising; Again the FO tried to nick the good vibrations of the Giants' 2012 title by signing their reliever Brian Wilson. Clayton Kershaw not only pitched a shutout on Opening Day, but hit his first HR (The Militant was there!). Kersh eventually won his 2nd CyYoung. The Dodgers added Zack Geinke and lefty South Korean rookie phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu to their rotation. A rookie OF from Cuba named Yasiel Puig also made his debut. The season had its ups and downs, but ultimately ended by winning the NL West (The first in a series...). They went on to win the NLDS, besting the Braves 3-1. The Dodgers made their 3rd trip to the NLCS in 6 years, ultimately losing to the Cardinals 4-2 due in large part to Hanley Ramirez's injury and a tired team. Former NL West rivals the Houston Astros flipped over to the American League. Twenty-five years and my life is still, tryin' to get up that great big hill of hope, for a destination...

...I SAID HEY YEA...oh sorry, got carried away there. Wow. That's a quarter century. Time to take a deep breath. Or a bathroom break. Sheesh. Now where are we...

He did it! Kershaw's no-hitter, 6/18/2014.

...We waited in 2014. Los Guggenheim took the games off free local TV forever by inaugurating the Sportsnet LA cable TV network...which was only available exclusively to Time-Warner Cable (now known as Spectrum) subscribers. A-Gon was hot with the RBIs, Dee Gordon was hot with the baserunning, and Josh Beckett got a no-hitter on May 25. Kersh got his own no-hitter on June 18, and later, his 3rd Cy Young, and his first NL MVP Award. A former mediocre Mets infielder who grew up in Lakewood named Justin Turner became a regular 3rd baseman later in the season. A rookie named Joc Pederson made his debut. The Dodgers won the NL West again, but lost to those f'in Cardinals 3-1 in the NLDS. Despite his season success, in the playoffs, Kershaw was not lights out. Argh! The Hated Giants...well you know. The Kings won their 2nd Stanley Cup! The Doyers? 26 years without a title...

...We waited in 2015. Longtime GM Colletti transitioned out of the GM role and was replaced by Farhan Zaidi, with former Tampa Bay Rays executive Andrew Friedman as his boss. And whoa, they made some moves. They traded a quartet of players, including fan favorite leadoff man Dee Gordon to the Marlins for another quartet, which included utility player Kiké Hernandez and catcher Austin Barnes. Longtime Dodger and Rihanna's ex Matt Kemp was part of a trade deal with the Padres that brought Yasmani Grandal behind the plate. They also brought in Phillies veteran, Long Beach boy and UCLA Bruin Chase Utley back west, and a rookie infielder named Corey Seager made his debut. The Dodgers went on an NL West three-peat - the first in franchise history - but lost to the eventual NL Champs, the New York Mets in the NLDS, 4-1. Twenty-seven years without a title... 

...We waited in 2016. Things changed; The Rams and Chargers brought the gridiron back to Los Angeles, and Kobe Bryant called it a career. Mattingly and the organization made a conscious uncoupling, and the search was on for a new manager, ultimately found in Padres coach, UCLA Bruin and former Dodgers outfielder Dave Roberts. The Friedman Machine signed pitcher Kenta Maeda from Japan, and traded prospect Zach Lee to the Mariners for some unknown dude named Chris Taylor. A rookie pitcher named Ross Stripling came real close to throwing a no-hitter in his MLB debut, and a rookie pitcher from Mexico named Julio Urias made his entrance. Reliever Kenley Jansen was named NL Reliever of the Year and made the All-Star team. The great Vincent Edward Scully announced his retirement after 67 glorious seasons at the mic and called it a career at the end of the regular season. For the fourth year in a row, the Dodgers won the NL West, and beat the Nationals in the NLDS 4-1. They went on to the NLCS, but lost to the eventual World Champions, the Chicago Cubs, themselves ending a 108-year championship drought. Twenty-eight years without a title (But it could be worse?)...


...We waited in 2017. Unfinished business as usual. A rookie from the farm named Cody Bellinger was played OF and took over for an injured A-Gon at 1B. And boy did he take over, leading the team in HRs and eventually winning NL Rookie of the Year. Formerly-mediocre acquisistions like Turner, Taylor and Hernandez were turning into solid players both at the plate and on the field. The Dodgers won the NL West for the 5th year in a row winning 104 games, and swept the D-Backs in the NLDS and finally got over the NLCS hurdle by besting the defending champion Cubs 4-1, winning their first NL Pennant since '88. The Dodgers were finally going back to the World Series! They faced an evenly-matched Houston Astros in a much-heralded playoff smackdown but lost in Game 7 due to lackluster hitting and the implosion of midseason trade acquisition pitcher Yu Darvish - Or so we thought at the time. Twenty-nine years without a title...

Late Night with Max Muncy, 2018 World Series Game 3.

...We waited in 2018. Matt Kemp made a return engagement. Corey Seager ended his season early due to injury. Justin Turner spent a good amount of time on the Injured List, and some unknown guy named Max Muncy filled in at 3B, only to lead the team in HRs. Rookie Walker Buehler played in his first full season and made a huge impression. They acquired Orioles infielder Manny Machado at the trade deadline. Winning a 163rd regular season game against the Rockies as the division tiebreaker, the Dodgers captured the NL West title for the sixth straight year. They beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLDS and edged the Mlwaukee Brewers in 7 games in the NLCS to win their 2nd consecutive NL Pennant (the first back-to-back pennants since '77-'78). But despite winning the longest World Series game in history clocking 7:20 with an 18th-inning walkoff HR by none other than season hero Max Muncy, they were outmatched by a heavily-armed Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic, losing 4 games to 1. Thirty years without a title...

The agony.

...We waited in 2019. Puig and Kemp made their exits, but Russell Martin made a return. Diamonbacks star OF A.J. Pollock was signed, as well as BoSox reliever Joe Kelly (who killed the Dodgers in the 2013 and 2018 postseasons). Cody Bellinger went on a tear and won the NL MVP Award. The other hitters weren't bad either. The Dodgers set a franchise record with 106 wins, winning the NL West for the 7th season in a row. They were hungry for that title, and had all the right ingredients. But the wheels fell off in the NLDS and the team was eliminated by the red-hot Wild Card Washington Nationals in a heart-wrenching Game 5. Kershaw jerseys were mutilated. Thirty one years without a title...

...And we learned the Astros cheated the Dodgers out of a title in 2017?

[cue sad soundtrack music]

And then 2020 came. 

The tragic loss of Kobe Bryant.

The COVID-19 pandemic.

The world, the nation, the city -- all on pause.

It wasn't time for Dodger Baseball.

[cue gradually uplifting music]

And then the abbreviated, 60-game, fanless, cardboard cutout, piped-in crowd noise, regionally-scheduled season began on July 23.

The Friedman Machine worked out a trade that acquired OF Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price, both Tennessee natives from the same Red Sox team that dashed our title hopes in 2018. The Friedman Machine was supposed to trade away Joc Pederson but it fell through.

Needs no introduction.

Fans weren't there, but the cameras captured it: The suspension-inducing Joe Kelly Face. Kiké making funny faces. Mookie stealing bases, stealing away runs and slappin' dat ass on doubles. Reliever Brusdar Graterol passionately praising The Lord Above. A rested, healthy Kershaw playing like the Cy Young Kershaw. It was a blur, but...

The Los Angeles Dodgers won 43 of those 60 games.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West for the 8th consecutive season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Brewers in a best-of-3 Wild Card Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers called the Texas Rangers' Globe Life Park home for the rest of the season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the emerging San Diego Padres in the NLDS.

The Los Angeles Dodgers bested the Atlanta Braves in a 7-game NLCS.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won their third NL Pennant in 4 years.

Air Mookie.

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the AL-best Tampa Bay Rays 4 games to 2 in the 2020 World Series.

Eleven thousand, six hundred and ninety-five days later, at 8:37 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, the wait was finally over.

The Militant wrote this post because, for the 13 years since The Here Blog began, he has longed to type out the following words on this site: "The Los Angeles Dodgers are World Champions."

This is our year.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are World Champions!





Friday, February 21, 2020

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXXV!!!

Click here for larger map!

CicLAvia season is back! The first of six open streets events in 2020 (CicLAvia's 10th anniversary year) and 35th-ever iteration is upon us this Sunday, February 23. It is the earliest calendar date CicLAvia, the first-ever in the month of February and the 3rd in the Winter season, although the high of 66 degrees won't be as low as previous ones. This 5.9-mile route returns to South Los Angeles running primarily down south Central Avenue with a new unique route that features sections of previous routes: the December 7, 2014 route, which ran on Central between Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, and the May 15, 2016 mega-route that extended towards Watts, Huntington Park, South Gate and Lynwood (which shared the southernmost part of this Sunday's route, from Manchester Blvd down).

The scheduling is most appropriate, as February is Black History Month and Central Avenue has defined African American history in Los Angeles. This route involves locations associated with not only local black history figures, but those of national and worldwide stature. Central Avenue is also a major north-south thoroughfare, and this route also pays historical homage to the Los Angeles Railway and the Pacific Electric Railway, as well as the site of a major industrial institution related to the auto industry.

As usual, see you or not see you on the streets on Sunday! Happy CicLAvia!

1. Lincoln Theater
2300 S. Central Ave, South Los Angeles

From 1927 to the 1950s, this Moorish Revival theatre, designed by John Paxton Perrine featured the finest live entertainment by black performers, to a predominantly black audience (though notable white folks like Charlie Chaplin dug it as well). It was even nicknamed the "West Coast Apollo" during its heyday, which featured the likes of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Billie Holliday gracing its stage. In 1962 the building was purchased by the First Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ and remains a house of worship today, this time as the the Iglesia de Cristo Ministries Juda. The Lincoln Theater building was designated as a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2003 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

2. Second Baptist Church
2412 Griffith Avenue, South Los Angeles

Built around the same time as the Lincoln Theater is this building that has always been a church. But it's one building that's rich in African American history. It was the host venue for the NAACP's national conventions in 1928 (the first-ever on the West Coast), 1942 and 1949. In 1962, Malcolm X spoke at a meeting held at the church. And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr himself spoke here in 1964 and 1968 -- the latter appearance being his last in the City of Angels, just two weeks before he was martyred in Memphis, Tennessee. To top it all off, this Lombardy Romanesque Revival building was designed by none other than famed African American architect Paul R. Williams, who designed many buildings around Los Angeles, most notably this one. This building is also designated as a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (1978) and was likewise added to the National Register of Historic Places (2009).

3. Masjid Bilal Islamic Center/Site of Elks Lodge
4016 S. Central Ave, South Los Angeles

This mainstay of the local Muslim community since 1973 also has a deep history in the local black community. The building was originally built in 1929 as the home of the local Elks club. But it was no ordinary Elks Club (who discriminated against black membership). It was run by the Improved and Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World, an African American-run organization founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1898 that functioned as a fraternal order for people of color. Though obviously not directly affiliated with the white Elks club, it is run with the otherwise identical customs and traditions, and with nearly half a million members worldwide, is the largest black fraternal organization in the world.

4. Ralph J. Bunche House
1221 E. 40th Place, South Los Angeles

The Central Avenue corridor was home to Los Angeles' black community, primarily due to the racial covenants that restricted them from owning homes elsewhere in the city. But great things can come from places of injustice. Ralph J. Bunche was a teenager arriving with his family from Detroit, by way of Ohio and New Mexico, who attended nearby Jefferson High School and went to UCLA, graduating as the valedictorian at both schools. He went on to Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D in Political Science (the first African American to receive a doctorate in PoliSci from a U.S. university), and later was one of the founders of the United Nations. In 1950, due to his diplomatic work in the negotiations that ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he won the Nobel Peace Prize -- the first nonwhite person to ever win the esteemed award. And he once lived right here, just two blocks east of the CicLAvia route.

5. Site of Black Panther Headquarters
41st Street and Central Avenue, South Central Los Angeles

Nooo, this isn't where Wakanda is. The northwest corner of 41st Street and Central Avenue wasn't just the Los Angeles headquarters of the 1960s-era Black Panther Party (that's some real Militants right there), but in a time where the names Mike Brown and Eric Garner have been fresh on the minds of people, it was the site of a significant event in the tumultuous history of relations between the black community and the Los Angeles Police Department. On December 8, 1969 -- 45 years before the day after CicLAvia -- police officers arrested a number of people on that corner for loitering, which eventually escalated into a four-hour armed confrontation. The LAPD used a previously untested paramilitary unit during the raid, which was called the Special Weapons And Tactics unit, or SWAT. Four LAPD officers and four Black Panther members were seriously injured during the shootout, but miraculously no one died. The building that housed the headquarters was demolished in 1970.

6. Dunbar Hotel/Club Alabam
4225 S. Central Avenue, South Central Los Angeles

Built in 1928 (then known as the Hotel Somerville, the only hotel in Los Angeles at the time to welcome black people) as the primary accommodations venue for the 1928 NAACP national convention at the nearby Second Baptist Church, The Dunbar is one of the few remaining physical symbols of the Central Avenue of yesteryear, the hotspot of all that is jazz and blues. In the perspective of Los Angeles music history, Central Avenue in the 1920s-1950s was the Sunset Strip of the 1960s-1980s. And perhaps even more. A nightclub opened at the hotel just a few years after its opening, and legends such as Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne and Billie Holliday. Next door was the Club Alabam, another one of the most popular jazz venues on Central Avenue. Known for its classy image and celebrity clientele (both black and white), legends such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis graced the stage. Today, the Dunbar Hotel building serves as an affordable housing complex for seniors.

7. South Los Angeles Wetlands Park/Site of Los Angeles Railway South Park Shops
5413 S. Avalon Boulevard, South Central Los Angeles

Head west on 54th Street for just a few blocks to Avalon Boulevard to visit this relatively new park space, which opened in 2012 and was covered by The Militant on his blog right after its grand opening. Previously the site of the sprawling South Park Shops, it was a major facility for storing, maintaining and repairing transit vehicles, used from 1906 to 2008 by the Los Angeles Railway, the original Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Southern California Rapid Transit District and today's Metro (ride around San Pedro Street nearby for Yellow Car track cracks in the street!). After the transit facility was retired, the brownfields were re-purposed as a nine-acre public open space that features native plant landscaping (yessss!), a lagoon that functions not only as a bird habitat, but as a natural stormwater cleaning facility. In addition, a LACMA satellite museum space will be opening at the park soon.

8. Los Angeles Railway U Line
Central and Slauson avenues to Vermont Avenue and Manchester Blvd via Downtown Los Angeles

Central Avenue hosted not one, but two Los Angeles Railway Yellow Car lines in different locations along the CicLAvia route. One of them was the U Line, which originated west of here, at two different branches on Vermont and Manchester and another at Western and 39th. They met near Exposition Park and ran through the USC campus (one of the reasons for the "U" in the line name) and northward onto Downtown Los Angeles before heading back south on Central Avenue and ending at Slauson. The line ran until 1947.

9. Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park
5790 Compton Ave, South Los Angeles

A few blocks east of the CicLAvia route along Slauson lies another one of the best-kept secrets in South Los Angeles -- Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park, an 8.5-acre surreal green oasis in the 'hood, featuring ponds, native plants, hiking trails, picnic areas and even wildlife. This former DWP pipe yard was converted into a re-created natural park (named after the late African American congressman who represented the area for 28 years) in 2000 by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which trucked in actual dirt from Malibu mudslides to the site to form the park's terrain. The park is popular with local residents seeking refuge from urban life, and the park is also popular with members of the local Audubon Society, who frequent the park to do bird sightings and bird counts.

10. Los Angeles Central Post Office/Site of Goodyear Tire Factory
7001 S. Central Ave, Florence-Firestone

In 2008, The Militant visited this ginormous USPS facility, with the numerical designation as the very place where the western ZIP codes begin. Most of Los Angeles' mail gets processed through here, which means letters or packages mailed through here will get sent out of town faster (since they have to come through here anyway). The post office facility opened relatively recently, in 1984, as part of a redevelopment project for the massive parcel, whose previous life was that of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. California factory, which existed from 1920 to 1979.

Automobile tires and other rubber products were manufactured here for nearly 60 years, and early versions of the iconic Goodyear blimp once had its own hangar at the southwestern corner of the lot. But wait -- there's even more history on this lot: nearly two decades before the tire plant opened, this was the home of Ascot Park racetrack, which opened in 1903. The ornate design of the early 20th-century hippodrome inspired the aesthetics of another So Cal racetrack - Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, which opened four years later and still exists today as a place where racehorses meet their untimely death.

11. Los Angeles Railway S Line
Santa Monica Blvd & Western Avenue to Central Avenue & Firestone Blvd via Downtown Los Angeles

Central Avenue's other Yellow Car line was the "S" line, which ran in many different configurations through the years, but most of its life it ran from Santa Monica & Western in East Hollywood through Downtown (like nearly all Los Angeles Railway lines did) and down to Central and Firestone. The picture to the left depicts a Yellow Car in 1963 (then painted green in the old Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority's colors) running by the old Goodyear Tire factory! The line was discontinued (along with many of the other surviving Yellow Car lines) on March 31, 1963 - the final day of rail transit in Los Angeles until the Metro Blue Line (now the Metro A Line) opened on July 14, 1990.

12. Green Meadows Diagonal
Central Avenue between 92nd and 95th streets, Green Meadows

As you ride on the CicLAvia route along Central Avenue, the road makes a seemingly arbitrary diagonal jog between 92nd and 95th streets. Why is that? Well, if you know your Los Angeles history, many non-grid street alignments follow the boundaries of ranchos, properties/land parcels, and legacy cities/towns that were lost to annexation. The latter was the case here, as an unincorporated farm town called Green Meadows sprung up here circa 1887. True to its name, it was a rural settlement with artesian wells, alfalfa fields and apple orchards. The northeast corner of the town featured the diagonal notch, and when the town was finally annexed into the City of Los Angeles on March 18. 1926, the boundary was incorporated into the city street grid and Central Avenue was forced to follow suit. The name Green Meadows was re-claimed in the early 2000s and given to the portion of South Los Angeles where the old town once existed. So now you know!

13. Ted Watkins Memorial Park
Dedicated 1995
1335 E. 103rd Street, Watts

Originally built in the 1930s to memorialize Western actor Will Rogers, this 28-acre Los Angeles County park was re-named in 1995 after the late Ted Watkins, a local community activist and the founder of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, which he started in 1965, just months before the Watts Riots. The aftermath of the rebellion heightened the purpose of his nonprofit agency, which dealt with social services, community development and empowerment for the Watts area. The park also features a youth baseball field built by the Los Angeles Dodgers, a newly-built community swimming pool and gym with basketball courts.

14. Pacific Electric Watts Depot
1686 E. 103rd Street, Watts

Adjacent to the Blue Line's 103rd St/Watts Towers station is a mustard-colored building that was once the Pacific Electric's Watts depot. A popular stop along the old PE Long Beach Line, the building survived not only the PE's abandonment, but was the only wooden structure that was not set on fire during the 1965 Watts Riots. After a renovation project in the 1980s, the Watts Station has functioned since 1989 as a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customer service center.

15. Watts Towers
1727 E. 107th St, Watts

You all know the story by now: Italian immigrant Sabato "Simon" Rodia collects scrap reinforced steel bars (using the adjacent Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line tracks as a fulcrum to bend them) and other found scrap material from rocks to broken glass to bottle caps, and builds 17 structures on his property over a period of 33 years. Then in 1955, he up and left for Northern California and never came back. Now that you know the story, see them up close for yourself. You don't deserve to call yourself an Angeleno if you've never visited the Watts Towers before.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour XXXIV!!!!

Click here for larger map!

The 2019 CicLAvia Season has come to an end, and the sixth and final (and 34th ever) open streets course runs through the west San Fernando Valley, this time running on an all-new alignment along perhaps the most boring-shaped CicLAvia route evar (Dude, it's literally a straight line running exactly five miles...), and The Militant was thinking of putting down like half a dozen points of interest on this here Epic CicLAvia Tour guide and calling it a day, but nooooo....Like a Transformer, there's always more than meets the eye when it comes to Los Angeles history, and this route is no exception. Most of you know your SFV history: It was largely open agricultural land, in came the Pacific Electric in the 1910s, selling land tracts, and after World War II - KABOOM - a suburb was born.  The result is 14 points of interest on for this Sunday's CicLAvia route, which is expected to be cold chillin', but not rainy (we hope). But always remember, The Sun Always Shines On CicLAvia, and no matter how overcast the day is, El Sol always finds a way to make a cameo appearance. So here we go (better late than never), and as always...See you or not see you on the streets!

1. Sherman Way
Sherman Way, Reseda

Named after railroad executive Moses Hazeltine Sherman (you should be familiar with that name from the "Meet The Hollywoods" CicLAvia), who was responsible for bringing his Los Angeles & Pacific Railway (later merged into the Pacific Electric Railway) into the San Fernando Valley. The street was originally a zig-zagging $500,000 grand boulevard built in 1911 along the Red Car right-of-way, stretching from North Hollywood, running west along what is now Chandler Blvd, then north along what is now Van Nuys Blvd, and west along the current Sherman Way. As the SFV farmland gave way to (sub)urbanization and the street grid, Sherman Way was re-aligned and extended eastward as a straight thoroughfare in the 1920s.

2. Site of Sherman Square Roller Rink
18430 Sherman Way, Reseda

In the 1970s and 1980s, this was The Center of the Universe for many Valley youth: A roller rink during the skating heyday of the '70s (and on Monday nights, the Skataway club, a weekly private hangout for celebrities such as Cher and Jack Nicholson), and also hosted a roller hockey league and a bowling alley. Towards the '90s, the venue hosted computer shows during the weekends, but was also plagued by gang activity. It was razed in 2001 and replaced by the current Walgreen's pharmacy.

3. Site of Chuck Landis' Country Club
18419 Sherman Way, Reseda

Originally built as a Sav-On Drugs store, Los Angeles nightclub entrepreneur Chuck Landis bought the property in 1979 and converted it to a 1,000-seat concert venue originally intended for country music acts. But the burgeoning local punk, new wave and heavy metal acts of the early 1980s found an ideal venue - artists such as Motley Crue, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Bangles, Jackson Browne and Guns N Roses played here in their early years, as well as established acts like B.B. King, The Beach Boys, James Brown, Prince and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. U2 played their very first concert in Los Angeles here in 1981. In the mid-'80s, the venue also hosted boxing matches. It petered out in the 1990s and is now the Restauracion Reseda Church.

4. Reseda Theatre
18447 Sherman Way, Reseda

The beginnings of the Sherman Way/Reseda intersection becoming the entertainment capital of Reseda started as far back as the 1940s when this S. Charles Lee (You'll recognize his name as architect of many other historic theatres in these Epic CicLAvia Tour guides)-designed Streamline Moderne cinema showed double features to the nearby newly-developed residential community. The theatre closed in 1988, but it gained some notoriety in the 1997 film "Boogie Nights" and is planned to be resurrected as a Laemmle multiscreen cinema.

5. Reseda Vietnamese District
c. 1980s
Near Sherman Way & Reseda Blvd, Reseda

Thought Westminster and Garden Grove are most synonymous with the Vietnamese community in Southern California, the largest concentration Viet Americans in the 818 is located right here in Reseda. This mile-long stretch of Sherman Way is home to several Vietnamese eateries, including Pho 999 (7255 Reseda Blvd), Pho So (7231 Reseda Blvd), Luc Huyen Cam Cafe (18541 Sherman Way), Sandwich Express (18575 Sherman Way), Vinh Loy Tofu and Bun Bo Hue (18625 Sherman Way).
There are also many more businesses, cultural institutions, organizations and houses of worship with a two-mile radius of Sherman and Reseda.

6. Aliso Canyon Wash
Sherman Way between Crebs and Wilbur avenues, Reseda

One of the Los Angeles River's many tributaries, this seasonal wash carries stormwater from Aliso Canyon (yep, that Aliso Canyon) up past Porter Ranch, running due south and joining the Los Angeles River near Yolanda Avenue.

7. Los Angeles Jewish Home
19308 Sherman Way, Reseda

Like many Jewish institutions in Los Angeles, this senior living and health care facility originated in Boyle Heights in 1916, expanding to the SFV in the late 1940s. It's one of three campuses of the Los Angeles Jewish Home - the other nearby on Victory Blvd and another in Playa Vista. This campus, known as the Grancell Village Campus, is home to 1,000 seniors. Wonder if the residents know that the 1952 Spanish Colonial Revival structure on Sherman and Tampa was originally the Lorenzen Mortuary? 

8. Platt Office Building
19725 Sherman Way

Conceived by carpenter Dennis Platt and designed by T.W. Layman, this office building built in the 1980s (but meant to look like it was made in the 1880s) contains remnants from the Queen Anne-style Little Sisters of the Poor Rest Home originally located in Boyle Heights and various parts from Victorian homes in Bunker Hill, combined with re-created architectural sections.

9. Site of the Weeks Poultry Colony
Area bordered by Winnetka Ave, Leadwell St, Oso Ave and Lanark St, Winnetka

Charles Weeks was a Midwesterner who moved to California in 1904 and in 1916 established a utopian poultry farming community named Runnymead in Santa Clara County where families lived on one-acre farms and sustainably raised chickens and eggs, and through that, would establish ideal social structures. In 1923 he moved south to the farming community of Owensmouth in the San Fernando Valley and established a similar colony here known as the Weeks Poultry Colony. The Great Depression put the idealistic colony to an end, and Weeks moved to Florida where he lived the rest of his life until his death in the 1960s. The colony is long-gone, but Weeks left his mark on the community which still exists today: The area is now known as Winnetka, named by the remaining colony members after Weeks' Illinois hometown, Runnymede Street and park were named after Weeks' original Nor Cal colony, and nearby Independence Avenue originated from his poultry colony marketing pitch, "One Acre and Independence."

10. Browns Canyon Wash
Sherman Way between Cozycroft and Lurline avenues, Winnetka

Another Los Angeles River tributary runs under Sherman Way, originating in Browns Canyon in the Santa Susana Mountains. It joins The River just west of Mason Avenue.

11. Canoga Park Antique Row
Sherman Way between Canoga and Owensmouth avenues, Canoga Park

This half mile-long stretch of Sherman Way contains at least eight stores selling antiques and collectibles, including Red's Antiques (7221 Canoga Ave), Alabama Antiques and Collectibles (7209 Alabama Ave), Galeano's Treasures (7207 Alabama Ave), Retro Relics Etcetera (21501 Sherman Way), Antique Store Canoga Park (21507 Sherman Way), Sherway Jewelry & Loan (21514 Sherman Way), Old Friends Antiques & Restoration (21517 Sherman Way) and Canoga Vintage and Collectibles (21619 Sherman Way).
12. The Source of the Los Angeles River
Owensmouth Avenue, south of Bassett Street, Canoga Park

Take a short ride down Owensmouth Avenue to see where The Los Angeles River officially begins, at the confluence of Bell Creek (pictured right), which flows down from the Simi Hills, and Arroyo Calabasas (pictured left), which flows down from the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains. Together they become the Los Angeles River, flowing 51 miles eastward then southward into Long Beach Harbor. 

13. Site of the Pacific Electric Owensmouth Station
Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park

On the northwest corner of this intersection stood the Pacific Electric's Owensmouth (Canoga Park) depot. Built in the days when land companies were promising access to Owens Valley water via the upcoming Los Angeles Aqueduct (despite the fact that its terminus was some 20 miles to the northeast), the area eventually adopted the name of a nearby Southern Pacific Railroad depot, itself named after Canoga, NY. The U.S. Postal Service insisted on adding the word "Park" to lessen confusion with its original East Coast namesake. The Pacific Electric was a Craftsman-style structure that outlived its tenure as a Red Car depot when service ended in 1938. Unfortunately, it burned down in a fire in 1994.

14. Carlson Circle/Proposed PE Extension
c. 1910
Sherman Way at Carlson Circle

At the southeast corner of Sherman Way and Shoup Avenue is a street called Carlson Circle - a cartographic curiosity that stood out to The Militant. Back in the day, before the SFV conformed to an absolute grid, Sherman Way curved down using this quarter-circular thoroughfare and merged with Shoup Avenue (which, like Sherman Way, was also named after a Pacific Electric Railway executive -- Paul Shoup). The circle also had some connection to the Red Cars: Although there was never track laid on it, it was part of a onetime 1910 proposal to extend the Owensmouth streetcar line to what is now Valley Circle. So who was Carlson? Hugo Carlson was an immigrant from Sweden who settled in Owensmouth in 1912 and was one of the town's pioneers. He owned a 55-acre farm in the area that grew beans and tomatoes, was an active member of the local chamber of commerce and was also instrumental in supporting efforts to build flood control channels in the area. He died in 1958. His old farm, just inside of his eponymous Circle, is now home to the posh Canoga Lakes condo community.

BONUS: And since we've seen some #lasnow on our mountains lately, here's a flashback to 1957 when it snowed in the Canoga Park/Woodland Hills area, just south of Sunday's CicLAvia route. This is Topanga Canyon Blvd at Ventura Blvd:

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXXIII!!!

Interactive map! Click here for larger map.

The fifth CicLAvia of 2019 and the 33rd edition of Los Angeles' premier open streets event is here.
The October CicLAvias are normally a certain version of the classic "Heart of L.A." route. Almost every CicLAvia route is unique, but this is the the third time the event has used a duplicate route - this course is exactly the same as the October 2016 "Heart of L.A." alignment (The other two are the first and second CicLAvias (October 2010 and April 2011) and the June 2013 and April 2014 "Iconic Wilshire Boulevard" routes). So this Epic CicLAvia Tour guide is more or less a re-run of what The Militant has written before. But he's posting this anyway so that maybe if you are already familiar with the points of interest (Some of you have memorized these entries, right?), you can impress other CicLAvians with your (Militant-enabled) knowledge of the route!

This route is supposedly a partnership with the ongoing UCLA 100 Centennial celebration. But since it neither goes through Westwood nor the original site of the campus on Vermont Avenue (now Los Angeles City College), the route itself has very little relevance to the university. And UCLA's connection to the original location of the California State Normal School (i.e. the educational institution that became the educational institution that became UCLA), located at the current site of the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library, is reeeeeeeeaaaallly stretching it. And furthermore, it's not even on the CicLAvia route. But there will be a number of UCLA-related events going on along the route this Sunday, and hey, it's a sweet sponsorship to ensure this event takes place. As someone who may or may not be a UCLA alum, The Militant may or may not be proud of the UCLA-centric theme of this CicLAvia, so he may or may not check them out. 

As usual, see you or not see you on the streets on Sunday!

1. Eastside Luv
2006 (Built 1940)
1835 E. 1st St, Boyle Heights

One of The Militant's favorite hangouts in the Eastside, this bar, started by a bunch of friends who grew up in nearby City Terrace, took over the former Metropolitan bar eight years ago and updated it to a more contemporary Eastside-style flavor. Don't call it gentrification, call it gentefication.

2. Mariachi Plaza
1st St and Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

This is the new town square for Boyle Heights, anchored by the historic 1889 Boyle Hotel on the historic Cummings Block, where Mariachi musicians have been hanging out to get picked up for since the 1930s. The Kiosko, or bandstand, that sits in the plaza is actually not that historic. It was given as a gift from the Mexican state of Jalisco, who literally shipped it over in 1998 where it was assembled in place. But it only gets used once a year for the Santa Cecilia Festival around every November 21. The plaza is also home of the Metro Gold Line station of the same name, which opened in 2009. The unique lending library Libros Schmibros relocated here in 2011. This place could warrant a Militant blog post in itself -- no, an entire week of posts! Don't miss the Farmers Market events there every Friday and Sunday!

3. Simon Gless Farmhouse
131 S. Boyle Ave., Boyle Heights

Back in the totally radical '80s...That's the 1880s, Boyle Heights was an open, rural area and French Basque immigrant Simon Francois Gless built a Queen Anne style house on his sheepherding farm at this location. Today, the house is a City Historic Cultural Monument and is a home that's rented out to -- Mariachi musicians! Just a few blocks west of here is Gless Street, and you might have heard of Simon's great-granddaughter -- actress Sharon Gless, who starred in the series Cagney and Lacey, which aired a century after her arrière-grand-père first settled in Boyle Heights.

4. Keiro Retirement Home/Jewish Home For The Aging
325 S. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

With Boyle Heights being a historically Jewish and Japanese community, how's this for an ultimate Boyle Heights institution? This property was originally built in 1916 as the Jewish Home for the Aging (now operating in Reseda), and in 1974, the Keiro Senior Health Care organization, basically their Japanese American counterpart. With the Hollenbeck Palms retirement home just down the street (and site of the John Edward Hollenbeck Estate, remember?) Boyle is a popular corridor for Senior Livin.'

5. Neighborhood Music School
1947 (Built 1890s)
358 S. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

The Neighborhood Music School is exactly what it is. But it's also a Boyle Heights institution. Originally founded over 100 years ago when it was located on Mozart Street (orchestral rimshot), the school moved to this Victorian home in 1947 where it still offers music lessons to local youth and the public can drop by on weekends to attend free recital concerts.

6. Metro Division 20 Subway Car Yard & Site of Old Santa Fe LaGrande Station
1992 / 1893
320 S. Santa Fe Ave (visible from the 4th Street Viaduct), Arts District

Take a break from riding/walking/skateboarding/pogo-sticking/etc. and take a glance off the north side of the bridge from the west bank of the River. This facility is where the 104 Italian-built subway cars of the Metro Red and Purple line cars are stored, repaired, serviced and cleaned. This was also the temporary storage and repair site of the Angels Flight railway cars after the fateful 2001 accident. The Militant actually visited this facility back in May 1992.

The subway cars are also serviced on the site of the old Santa Fe Railway La Grande Station (hence the name of the street) that was on Santa Fe and 2nd. Built in 1893, it was precisely where midwestern transplants arrived in Los Angeles after paying their $1 train ticket from Chicago. In 1933, the landmark dome was damaged by the Long Beach Earthquake and subsequently removed. In 1939, it was rendered obsolete by the opening of the new Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal a few blocks north.

7. Metro 1st St /Central Station Site
1st Street and Central Avenue, Little Tokyo

Prior to 2014, this lot was home to the popular Señor Fish taco joint (formerly the site of '70s-'80s punk venue Atomic Cafe) and Weiland Brewery Restaurant (which opened replacement locations in Echo Park and Uptown Long Beach, respectively). Both buildings were demolished in  to make room for this new Metro subway station for the  Regional Connector project, a new subway under Downtown Los Angeles that will re-align three light rail lines into two and provide continuous, transfer-free service from Azusa to Long Beach and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Although Little Tokyo already has a Gold Line station just yards away, that will be demolished and the station replaced with a new underground facility where the current construction activity exists. It's rather fascinating, and it's one way Little Tokyo will more resemble Big Tokyo.  The businesses around the station have been impacted by construction, so make sure you support them, not only during CicLAvia but after!
8. Site of Quaker Dairy, Original Little Tokyo Restaurant
304 E. 1st St., Little Tokyo
On the southeast corner of 1st and San Pedro streets once stood the Quaker Dairy, a restaurant started on this site in 1890 by Sanshichi Akita, an immigrant from Japan. Though preceded five years earlier by another restaurant on First St (location unknown), this is the oldest traceable location of a Little Tokyo business. By the end of the 19th century, there were over 16 Japanese-owned restaurants in this stretch of 1st Street, creating what we know as Little Tokyo.
9. Los Angeles Sister Cities Monument
1st and Main streets, Downtown

On the northeast corner of 1st and Main streets stands a pole bearing signs (in the "Blue Blade" style, no less) for every one of Los Angeles' 25 Sister Cities, each pointing towards their location. The signs range from Lusaka, Zambia (the farthest sister city, 10,017 miles) to Vancouver, Canada (the nearest, 1,081 miles) and everywhere in between. Nagoya, Japan is Los Angeles' oldest sister city (1959); Yerevan, Armenia is the newest (2007). Los Angeles, an Olympic host city (1932, 1984) also has that in common with sister cities Athens (1896, 2004), Berlin (1936), Mexico City (1968) and Vancouver (2010). Okay, the Militant is just filling up this paragraph with mindless trivia.

10. U.S. Federal Courthouse
145 S. Broadway, Downtown
This big glass cube that is responsible for blocking your view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline from Grand Park used to be a hole in the ground was once the site of the Junipero Serra State Office Building, which was damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and abandoned and demolished in 1998. This 10-story, 400-foot-tall U.S. Federal Courthouse building (don't we already have a few of those?), designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, opened in 2016. Do check out the embossed bald eagle situated over the main entrance on 1st Street.

11. Site of 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing
Northeast corner of Broadway and 1st Street, Downtown

This longtime empty lot, previously identified in this CicLAvia tour as the foundation of a state office building condemned after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake has some additional history. It was recently dissevered to be the location of the 1910 bombing of the (then) Los Angeles Times building, which happened 104 years ago this week. The dynamite bombing was discovered to have been the work of Ortie McManigal and brothers John and James McNamara, all affiliated with the Iron Workers Union,  in what was meant to protest the newspaper's staunchly anti-union practices. 21 people died when the 16 sticks of dynamite exploded just outside the building at 1:07 a.m. on October 1, 1910, the explosion was exacerbated by natural gas lines which blew up a large section of the building. The Times since built a new building in its place, and later relocated across 1st Street to its current location. Today, the lot is being readied for an expansion of Grand Park.
• If heading north to Chinatown, skip to #21.

12. Bradbury Building
304 S. Broadway, Downtown

A building that's famously meh on the outside, but OMG from the inside, this building has been featured in movies from Chinatown to Blade Runner to 500 Days of Summer. Designed by Sumner Hunt and modified by George Wyman, this 5-story structure was designed to look like the 21st century from 19th century eyes. Despite the ahead-of-its-time design, this building has nothing to do with sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, but was named after developer and 1800s rich dude Lewis Bradbury.

13. Biddy Mason Park
331 S. Spring St (entrance on Broadway), Downtown

Born as a slave in Georgia over 200 years ago, Bridget "Biddy" Mason was a renaissance woman of her time. Having followed Mormon settlers west, she gained her freedom when California became a slavery-free Union state. As a nurse, she founded the first child care center in Los Angeles and later became a lucrative property owner and philanthropist, having founded the First AME Church, now a major institution in Los Angeles' African American community. She died in 1891 and was buried at ...Evergreen Cemetery (which you might have also seen earlier...see how things all tie together?). A century after her passing, this mini-park in DTLA, on the site of her house, was built and dedicated.

14. Broadway-Spring Arcade Building
541 S. Spring St, Downtown

This unique building is actually three, opened in 1924 on the site of Mercantile Place, a 40-foot street cut between 5th and 6th streets connecting Broadway and Spring. Mercantile Place was a popular shopping and gathering locale in the early 1900s. Having fallen into decay by the 1970s, it was recently renovated and is now famous for, of all things, vendors selling rock band t-shirts. It also becomes an artistic venue during the DTLA ArtWalk. And The Militant probably doesn't need to mention that this building is home to the DTLA Guisado's.

15. St. Vincent Court
St. Vincent Ct and 7th Street, Downtown

You'd hardly knew it was there, but this alley nestled between Broadway and Hill (blink and you'll miss it!), with its decorative brick pavement and European decor, seemingly belongs to another world. Originally the site of a Catholic college that was the predecessor of today's Loyola Marymount University, today it's a unique food court featuring Armenian and Middle Eastern eateries. The Militant calls it, "Littler Armenia." Check out this Militant Angeleno post on St. Vincent Court from 2008 for more info!
16. Diamonds Theatre (Warner Theatre & Original Pantages Theatre)
401 W. 7th Street, Downtown
This jewelry retail mart is actually a re-purposed theatre that was the original Pantages Theatre (remember from the last CicLAvia?) opened in 1920 by Greek American entertainment magnate Alexander Pantages for Vaudeville productions. Designed by B. Marcus Priteca (who also designed today's Pantages Theatre in Hollywood), it was sold in 1929 and eventually became the Warner Theatre, screening motion pictures from the WB during the days when the movie studios ran their own theatres. The theatre closed down in 1975 and became a jewelry mart in 1978.

17. The Bloc (Formerly Broadway Plaza/Macy's Plaza)
7th Street between Flower and Hope streets, Downtown

A poster child for change in Downtown, this shopping center, originally built in 1973 and designed by Charles Luckman & Associates as the first suburban-style mall in DTLA combined an indoor (though massively truncated) indoor galleria, a hotel and a 32-story office building. Initially known as Broadway Plaza, named after the old upscale Southern California department store anchor tenant, its name was changed to Macy's Plaza in 1996 after The Broadway merged with the NYC-based equivalent Macy's. Its blocky, street-unfriendly design was derided by many, especially in an era where the outdoor mall format pioneered by Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, and Rick Caruso's faux-urban monstrosities (and more recently, the newly-opened The Village at Westfield Topanga),  so in 2013 it was re-conceptualized as "The Bloc" and currently stands as a work-in-progress, (which also features a direct entrance to the 7th Street/Metro Center subway station).
18. Wilshire Grand Center
900 Wilshire Blvd, Downtown

On this site rises the new Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles' (and the West's -- suck on it, Transbay Tower SF!) tallest building at 73 stories and 1,100 feet (kinda sorta, there's a spire, you see...). Opened in June 2017, it is the city's only modern skyscraper without a flat roof, the only Los Angeles building since Hollywood's Capitol Records tower in 1956 to feature a spire, the first skyscraper anywhere to sport a mohawk, and it also has its own irreverent Twitter account. ;) Owned by Korean Air (hence the red and blue taeguk LED logo), the tower houses the 900-room Hotel Intercontinental with its 70th-floor Sky Lobby and the unique Spire 73 skybar, with wonderful views of the south and west (the sunset vista from here is not to be missed). The building's construction site was the location of "The Big Pour" - which lasted from February 15 -16, 2014, where 21,200 cubic yards (81 million pounds) of concrete for the tower's foundation were continuously poured - earning it a Guinness World Record for that feat. Before the skyscaper, the site was home of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, formerly (in reverse chronological order) the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles Hilton, Statler Hilton and Statler Hotel.

19. City View Lofts/Young's Market Company Building
1610 w. 7th St., Pico-Union

Ever wondered what's the deal with this 4-story Italian Renaissance-style building? It was built in 1924 as a liquor warehouse and original headquarters for Young's Market Company, which still operates today as the largest liquor distributor in the West. This building features actual marble columns and a decorative frieze made of terra cotta. The company, in the roaring, pre-depression 1920s, just felt like it. The building was looted and burned in the 1992 Riots and was rehabbed in 1997 to become the City View lofts. The building is in the National Register of Historic Places.

20. Gen. Douglas MacArthur Monument
Southeast corner of MacArthur Park, Westlake

It's sort of strange how a monument to the park's namesake seems almost invisible (Gen John Pershing, MacArthur's WWI counterpart, could totally identify). In fact, most people don't know it's even there, but on the southeast shore of the lake is a dormant memorial fountain featuring a statue of the WWII general overlooking a model of the Pacific theatre (no, not that one) where he led allied forces to eventual victory. It was designed and built in 1955 by Roger Noble Burnham, who previously sculpted the Tommy Trojan statue on the USC campus and taught at the Otis Art School, formerly located nearby.

• North Spur to Chinatown

21. Site of Court Flight
1904 (demolished 1943)
Broadway between Temple and Hill streets, Downtown

With Angels Flight fiiiiiiiiiinally up and running again (fingers crossed), it's time to pay tribute to the city's other funicular, its cousin to the northeast, Court Flight. Built in 1904, it went up the northern end of Bunker Hill and was next to a former road called Court Street, hence its name. Even shorter than its more famous cousin at 200 feet, it ran steeper at a height of 200 feet. It was burned by a fire in 1943 and never reconstructed. The hill was eventually chipped away. The north side of the stairways going up to the Court of Flags (wonder if that was intentional there) in today's Grand Park is the precise location of ol' Courty.
22. Hall Of Justice
Temple Street and Broadway, Downtown

No, you won't find Superman or any of the Super Friends here.  But this building, the oldest surviving government building in the Los Angeles Civic Center, was built in the mid-1920s as the original Los Angeles County Courthouse and Central Jail (which once housed the likes of Busy Siegel, Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson), as well as the headquarters for the Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney and the County Coroner. This Beaux Arts-style building was designed by Allied Architects Association, an all-star team of local architects put together to design publicly-funded buildings. The building is currently undergoing a major renovation project to modernize the facilities and repair damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. It re-opened in 2015 as a LEED Gold Certified building (gotta be sustainable, y'all) with the return of the Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices.

23. Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial
451 N. Hill St, Downtown

Way, way, waaaaay back before we had tall building and freeways, Downtown Los Angeles (well Los Angeles, period back then) had a bunch of hills, Bunker Hill being the most famed one. There was also Fort Hill, the site of a Mexican-American War encampment. On July 4, 1847 the facility was called Fort Moore (and the hill Fort Moore Hill), after Captain Benjamin D. Moore of the U.S. 1st Dragoons regiment, who was killed six months earlier in a battle near San Diego. The 1st Dragoons and the Mormon Batallion established the new fort and raised the U.S. flag during the first-ever observed Independence Day in Los Angeles. This event was immortalized in a bas-relief stone monument made in the 1950s. Speaking of forts, the very street you're riding (or walking, or skating, or scootering, or stand-up-paddling, or pogo-sticking) was once called "Fort Street," which inevitably led to directional problems some six blocks south of here. The monument also includes a fountain, which was shut off in 1977...due to the drought at the time.

So where's the actual hill, you ask? It was bulldozed away in the late 1940s to make room for the 101 Freeway (is this a recurring theme for this CicLAvia or what?!)

24. Chinatown Gateway Monument
Broadway and Cesar E. Chavez. Avenue, Chinatown

Designed to be the symbolic entrance to Los Angeles' Chinatown District, The Chinatown Gateway Monument, a.k.a. the Twin Dragon Towers Gateway, depicts two dragons grabbing at a central pearl, which symbolizes luck, prosperity, and longevity. The 25-foot-tall structure was put up in 2001 and occasionally emanates steam coming from the dragons' mouths. Unlike Anglo dragons, the creatures in Chinese folklore are the good guys, meant to scare away evil spirits.

25.  Buu Dien
c. 1990s
642 N. Broadway (Facing New High St, south of Ord), Chinatown

If you're ever in some TV trivia contest on your way to being a millionaire and the host asks you, "What is the Militant Angeleno's favorite Vietnamese banh mi place West Of The Los Angeles River (WOTLAR)?" you won't need to call a lifeline, because the answer is Buu Dien. When the Militant has only $4 in his pocket and wants to get a meal in Downtown, this is his go-to joint. A literal hole in the wall in every regard, this place serves bomb-ass (do people still use that phrase) Viet sammiches for less than $3 a pop. And the bread is awesome. And nice and warm. Plus they also serve up spring rolls, desserts, pastries, Vietnamese coffee and pho (never had it here yet, but The Militant's favorite pho WOTLAR is Pho 79 just up the street). People complain about parking in his micro-mini mall, but this is CicLAvia!

26. Capitol Milling Co.
1231 N. Spring St, Chinatown

One of the last visible vestiges of Los Angeles' agricultural industry, this family-owned flour mill operated from 1831 to 1997, before moving its operation to a much larger facility in Colton. The facility that still stands today was built in 1883. The mill supplied flour to clients such as Ralphs, Foix French Bakery and La Brea Bakery. In 1999, the family-owned operation was purchased by industry giant Con-Agra Co.
The historic building, built even before the railroads arrived in Los Angeles, still has a horse-tethering ring, back to the days when grain was hauled by horse carriage from farms in the San Fernando Valley. The property is currently being adaptively reused into retail and creative office space.

27. Old (New?) Chinatown Central Plaza
Gin Ling Way between Broadway and Hill, Chintown

The new northern terminus of CicLAvia is no stranger to public events; it was made for them. In the Summer it hosted three very popular Chinatown Summer Nights events. But don't let the "Old Chinatown" neon sign fool you -- This is actually Los Angeles' new Chinatown, which dates back to the 1930s. The real Old Chinatown was several blocks south, where a thriving community of Cantonese-speaking immigrants lived near the river, north of Aliso Street. Of course, they were kicked out in the early '30s to make room for Union Station. So they moved a few blocks north, in the former Little Italy, and they've been there ever since. Well, not really, since some of them moved east to the San Gabriel Valley and were supplemented with Mandarin-speaking immigrants from Taiwan and Mainland China. But you get the idea.

Happy CicLAvia, Los Angeles! Enjoy and STAY MILITANT!