“Taste the Difference at New York Pizza Next Door”

Who doesn’t love Pizza? Especially, when it’s an out-of-this-world, heaven on earth round delight New York Style pizza.

Count me in and I know where you can find this delicacy. While downtown, working on a recent story, low and behold, a neighborhood pizza establishment caught my eye—the New York Pizza Next Door. What a treat to find New York Pizza in downtown Los Angeles. After speaking with the owner for a few moments, he informed me that during the work week, many of the downtown high rises full of bankers, brokers, lawyers, accountants, and thousands of other professionals, order pizzas non-stop every working day.

 

The Pizza Oven

All of their pizzas are made fresh daily, made with hand kneaded tossed dough, incorporating double cheese portions. Whether purchased by the slice, or whole, their menu has enough variety for all pizza aficionados. For starters, there’s the Greek Delight, chock full of fresh feta and mozzarella cheese, sliced Roma tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers and kalamata olives. Or you could order their delicious Chicken Caesar pizza, full with mozzarella, Caesar dressing, tender juicy chicken, and red onions. Another possible option is their Tijuana Jane—its baked with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapenos.

 

New York Pizza Next Door

Overwhelmed with choices, I ordered their Meat Deluxe picture above. The large order came piping hot with pepperoni, sausage, Canadian Ham, and bacon. The best way I can describe the delicious food and my dining experience at the Pizza Next Door, is to quote the now unoriginal Arnold Schwarzenegger’s slogan from The Terminator—“I’ll be back!” FYI/BTW/411, when the Pizza Next Door says a “Large,” Pizza, they mean LARGE.

The cooks and large pizza oven are guaranteed to deliver to you 18 inches of mouth-watering slices of heaven. New York Pizza Next DoorWith their extremely reasonable prices, your wallet will love the pizza as much as your budget does. Fortunately for me, I was there on a Saturday, when business is a little slower. As mentioned above, during the week, Pizza Next Door is a favorite lunch spot for all the offices surrounding it. In fact, once a month, one local office alone, orders 22 pizzas to go.

If you work, live, or want to experience New York Pizza the way Pizza’s supposed to be made, stop by 8th and Figueroa, and look for the Pizza Next Door, and be sure to tell them that you read about them at Travelin’ Local.

New York Pizza Next Door

806 West 8th St. Unit B

Los Angeles CA 90017

213.622.6595

http://www.pizzanextdoor.com

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A Building that defines Public Art

MLAPA

After a lot of time and work, Travelin’ Local has formed a California non-profit corporation– Mapping Los Angeles Public Art, aka “MLAPA.” In addition, we’ve submitted our application to the IRS for our 501c (3) tax exempt status designation.

Because the stated mission of MLAPA is to initiate, compile, and complete a fully digitized, documented, cataloged, indexed, and photographed virtual map of all of the Public Art located throughout Los Angeles County and its surrounding areas, I’ll be featuring all of the future public art posts in excerpt format here on Travelin’ Local, with a link to MLAPA. From that point, you’ll be able to click the link to finish the story.

Our envisioned cultural catalog, has never been attempted, nor has anybody or entity ever come close in our project’s depth, breadth, coverage, and use of technology, photography, and other planned knowledge management systems to create a visual and written compendium of all of our Public Art. To be sure, it’s an important educational, artistic, and historic reference of our city’s physical surroundings.

In today’s foundational MLAPA story, we’re featuring the Home Savings of America building.

Located at the corner of Figueroa and 7th streets, is a one-building public art tour de force. I could have easily spent an hour there just looking at the myriad and meticulous details, colors, and shapes that adorn and define this structure. With that as the backdrop, let’s discover the Home Savings of America building together.

Home Savings of America

When the Home Savings of America building was originally built in 1988, $450,000 of the building’s costs were dedicated to public art. That equaled to 1% of its total construction and development budget.

As pictured above, the building’s façade hosts two mosaic tile murals by Joyce Kozloff. To balance and maintain its indigenous theme with its architecture, the two forty-foot-high by ten-foot wide Italian glass murals, on the building’s exterior, feature 16th Century decorative artifices, and are a derivative from the chateaux gardens at Villandry and Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley. Rounded lunettes at the top of each illustrate Ms. Kozloff’s vision of Los Angeles– one depicts two angels and the other, a festoon of oranges.

Glass Passage

These large sculptured glass windows by the celebrated New York artist, Patsy Norvell, were installed on the ground floor. Ms. Norvell’s glass panels are spectacular architectural ensemble pieces in which their intricately carved leaf and vine motifs create richly luminescent effects. Its named "Glass Passage," as each window is covered with an arch detailed in gold leaf.

City Above

Above, the ceiling at the Metro Rail portal, at Seventh and Figueroa, was painted by Los Angeles artist Terry Schoonhoven. It features a large panel surrounded by five smaller panels, that generously provide viewers with a tipped perspective of the sky, and Los Angeles’ urban scene. Mr. Schoonhoven’s work is entitled "City Above."

For a detailed up close look at this extraordinary building, Travelin’ Local has prepared a slideshow presenting its aesthetic details. To be able to walk one city block, and see this much public art and architectural beauty–steeped in both modern and past history– gives true meaning and defines Los Angeles as being truly one of the great cities of the world.

Romanesque Revival Architecture in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles–the last bastion and frontier of our Republic’s “go west” ethos–can’t tout the cultural, historical, architectural, and political underpinnings that New York City and the Commonwealth states lay first claim to posses; but we are second to none in our important, unique, and historic cultural and historical landmarks.

To understand this, all you have to do is walk around Downtown and you’ll inevitably find an overabundance of a bygone era and artistic heritage that defines our city. This history is typically found within a few blocks of any particular area of Los Angeles, which symbolizes our iconic architecture and public art.

Our past architecture serves as a prelude to our area’s public art and extraordinary design aesthetic, which will be covered in detail in future stories.

Let's take a closer look

 

Built in 1927, the Fine Arts Building picture above–located at 811 7th Street– is an experience for the eyes, heart, and soul. Each time I looked at it, I was moved by its inherent beauty and essence. It’s an extraordinary building by any measurable standard.

Exploring the details of this special Romanesque Revival Fine Arts Building, explains and demonstrates what makes this building so special.

Romanesque Revival Architecture

 

Originally designed as a haven for the then local artist community, the Fine Arts Building’s upper floors were “devoted to artist studios and workshops. Here gifted tenants were granted an opportunity to create and display their products in a structure which would be, in itself, a work of art.”

Sculpture

 

On the third floor, you’ll notice two statues on each side of the building. Here, “Sculpture” overseas his domain. Designed by Burt Johnson, “Sculpture’s” companion is

Architecture

 

Architecture.” They sit here statuesquely looking out at a city that has grown up around them. If they could speak, I wonder what they would say.

Amazingly, “while working on the artwork for the Fine Arts Building, Johnson had a heart attack. Confined to a wheelchair, he directed his assistants–Merrill Gage, his wife Annetta St. Gaudens, Hall St. Gaudens, and Gilbert Morgan to complete his vision.”

Indeed, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the opening of the Fine Arts Building in late 1926, as a “tribute to the awakening interest in art among Southern California residents and organizations. Three months later, Johnson died at age 37.” Source: PublicArtinLA

It serves as an exceptional example of Romanesque Revival architecture, in which “a style of building employed in the late 19th century, inspired by the 11th and 12th century style of architecture, served as the basis of the Fine Arts Building’s entryway.”

Up close and personal

 

For a top to bottom reproduction of what the entire building looked like, this photo taken in 1933 courtesy of USC via PublicArtinLA, is a defining example:

Fine Arts Building - 1933

 

To enjoy additional vantage point pictures and an outside tour of this building , please view the slideshow below.

Travelin’ Local is a journey into beauty, art, and indeed, history. History to this day, reigns supreme.

Tools to help Communities help Themselves

Yesterday, I received an email from Mark Abraham of Design New Haven, an open civic forum, blog, and resource about design and urban affairs in Downtown New Haven, Connecticut. He introduced me to a new site I thought was a perfect match for Travelin’ Local.

SeeClickFix was created to allow communities everywhere to report, track, and ultimately address, find, and fix hazards for the public right of way, “which is defined as any sidewalk, planting strip, alley, street, or pathway, improved or unimproved, that is dedicated to public use.  The term includes any strip of land over which public facilities such as highways, railroads, or power lines are built.” Source: USDA

Through our collective will and desires, it’s imperative that we take our power back into our control, to report on issues that we see and want to change. In doing so, SeeClickFix will help us to better know and to understand which issues to track, and to catalog our needs in order to get the issues solved and resolved. All you have to do is report an issue.

This is how it works:

tl10-21

SeeClickFix is fairly new to the LA area, however several local governments and organizations are already receiving an email each time an issue is reported. Better yet, as a community we can let them know about the issues and problems that affect our everyday lives. It’s empowering!!

If you know about an issue you think needs a fixing, just click the link at the top of this widget and report it.

 

Although everyone is invited to report what’s on their civic to-do list, this program is especially viable for bicyclists. As we ride, we’re in a better position—literally and figuratively–to see the road hazards, graffiti, and other non-emergency issues which impact each and every one of us. Seize the day and let your voice be heard now.

After you report an issue, and depending on the report’s geographic area, these government officials at the various municipalities will be notified:

  • City Of Santa Monica
  • Los Angeles Regional Nonemergency Issue Watch
  • Los Angeles Department of Public Works
  • City of Santa Monica City Council
  • Santa Monica City government
  • California State Assembly District 47
  • City of Inglewood Mayor
  • City of Hawthorne Mayor
  • Redondo Beach Mayor
  • City of Torrance Public Works
  • Gardena Mayor
  • City of Burbank Public Works
  • Glendale Public Works
  • City of Carson Mayor
  • Huntington Park Mayor
  • City of South Gate City Treasurer
  • Lynwood Mayor
  • City of Simi Valley Public Works
  • Highland Park Residential watch area
  • City of Long Beach

 

It’s working in other cities.

This program and idea is a perfect example of acting locally while thinking nationally. Being part of the SeeClickFix network, numbers are empowering and for a community, it means empowering the people to effectuate change from our government officials. It’s called “Accountability.”

Do you have any issues to report? I know Will has already reported a couple. Join the "Watch Area Followers" at Travelin’ Local’s Citizen Watch Area, in order to receive instant updates on traffic safety issues in Los Angeles.

Now, that we have the tools to effectuate change, it’s up to us to do the rest.

The Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook

A few weeks ago, Travelin’ Local featured a story about the Mulholland Scenic Route. Within that story, I briefly mentioned the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook.

Before I talk a little about the features of this Overlook/Park, I’d like to share who Nancy Hoover Pohl was.

Nancy Pohl was a resident of Fryman Canyon, who for more than 60 years fought to curb development in the Santa Monica Mountains and to create local parkland. Her efforts enabled the acquisition of Fryman Canyon Park, Coldwater Canyon Park, and Wilacre Park. We’re all eternally indebted to the vision, courage, and dedication of visionaries like Ms. Pohl, whose efforts wouldn’t have allowed us to preserve our precious natural resources, and the mountain retreats and reserves of yesterday, so that they’re available to enjoy today and for future generations of tomorrow.

To cover this small, but unique facility, I’d like to share more of what it has to offer.

 

Majestic Views

Majestic Views

 

Fitness Stations

A station-based fitness path

 

Steps up and down

Steps which lead to a better view, more fitness and a working water fountain for hydration

 

Stop and smell the fresh air

In case you didn’t know, which I didn’t, the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook is also one of the trailheads for the Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail. It traverses Wilacre Park, Franklin Canyon, and Coldwater Canyon Park, the home of the TreePeople. For a 3 mile trail at the top of Mulholland, this trail is well worth a hike or two, especially on any given sunny afternoon.

It’s always amazing the little things you can find in the big city while Travelin’ Local.

Bikestations: Safe, Secure, and Commuter Friendly

Both Los Angeles (scroll down to page 129) and Santa Monica City Zoning laws require additional space for bike parking for every new commercial building, signaling the beginning of a newly emerging trend both here and around the nation. That is, the development of more bike-friendly communities.

BikeStation’s name is eponymous with its mission– a safe and secure place to park your bike, go to work, and then return to find your bike in exactly the same condition you left it—safe and secure. Depending on the type of storage facility built, they also provide bike maintenance for your bicycle from their staff on-site.

 

BIkeStation

The idea is simple. Place a Bikestation close to major commuter, working, or tourist clusters. People can then either purchase a very reasonably priced, annual membership, which gives them 24/7 access to bike parking spot, or use the daily parking valet services.

One reason I don’t ride my bike more often is because I don’t want it to get stolen. Or almost as bad, have parts of it stolen. I own a mid-range folding bike, so my u-lock will protect the bike, but not the seat or the handle bars, which can be easily taken off. If I had a secure parking spot for my bike, I’d be much more inclined to use my bicycle to go to the beach, shop, or watch a movie. As it now stands, I either drive or more often than not, take the Metro to get to my destinations.

 

New Long Beach Bikestation

Currently there’s only one local Bikestation facility, which is located in Long Beach. The current facility has space for about 75 bikes– but a new facility, already in the works, is planned to open in the spring of 2010. This facility will include over 100 parking spots, a repair facility, plus showers and changing rooms.

Recently considered as pie-in-the-sky thinking, is now very much real and part of Bikestation’s forward planning and thinking. Once you purchase an annual membership, you can use your entry card at any Bikestation around the country. In fact, a brand new facility just opened at Union Station in Washington DC. Within two weeks of its opening, over 100 of the available 125 annual memberships had already been sold.

 

DC Bikestation

Even though DC is across the country, it’s great to have the ability to take your bike with you on a trip. Besides the Bikestations in Long Beach and Washington DC, there are also facilities in Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and three more slated to open soon in Salt Lake City, UT, Claremont, CA., and Tempe, AZ.

According to studies performed with CALSTART formulas, in 2008, the then six Bikestation

Facilities and their members:

  • Served their communities by securely parking 66,820 bicycles
  • Lessened congestion by 133,640 car trips
  • Improved air quality by keeping 400,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air
  • Saved energy and increased energy independence by saving over 1,000 barrels of oil

Source: Press Release

In a recent interview with Andrea White-Kjoss, the CEO of Bikestation, at least two parking garages in Santa Monica will soon include new Bikestation’s. She thinks the trend is for cities to build more of these bike friendly facilities.

Ms. White-Koss, ardent in her business mission, states that her company “Helps to create a vibrant and active space for the areas who want these types of bike facilities.” She further concludes that “With our turn-key features and design, our intent is to be a part of these exciting opportunities, and to lead the way for more green and healthy communities.”

 

Please don't steal my bicycle.  Thanks

With the ongoing problem of bike theft being just one of the thoughts on most biker’s minds, the Federal, State, and local governments need to take a closer look at bicycle parking, and to provide the needed resources to increase both the availability, and accessibility of bike parking facilities, as well as providing for bike security.

Healthy Menus, Fresh Herbs, and Sunshine Thai

When you’re in Long Beach, and want to have a quick, affordable, and tasty meal, check out Sunshine Thai Cuisine, located on Pacific Avenue. Its broad menu, clean surroundings, and cheap eats without usurping on quality, make it worthwhile.

The Sunshine Thai Cuisine restaurant, which specializes in fresh daily prepared vegetable broth and healthy homemade meals, is unassuming from the outside, but once inside, the cleanliness of the small dining room, the smell of its Thai-Asian cuisine, and the pictures of its different dishes on the wall begin the time-honored tradition of getting your mouth savoring and your appetite ready for a delicious meal.

 

Let's start with salad

After perusing the extensive menu, which by the way contains no msg, I chose the lunch special, which includes a small salad, eggroll, and main course for only $5.99. The salad, with homemade dressing, was light and the perfect start to whet my taste buds.

 

Let's eat!!

As soon as I finished my salad, the plate was whisked away and replaced with the main course. Along with the dishes served on modern white dinner plates with perfectly sized portions, the waitress also brought a small tray of condiments familiar with Thai restaurants. The friend who accompanied me for lunch ordered the Chicken Noodle dish, which was melt-in-my-mouth delicious. I started my meal with the crispy eggroll, and then began to thoroughly enjoy the spicy yet familiar dish of vegetables, fried rice and chicken in my Pak Ka Prow.

After we finished, I talked to the owner, In, for a few minutes. She talked about her desire to grow, create, and serve the best and freshest ingredients for her customer’s meals. To that end, she has a small garden in the back of the restaurant where she grows lemon grass, basil, and mint which she uses in her soups and salads.

 

Fresh herbs

To top it off, she uses recycled material to grow her basil, as exemplified it growing in an old plastic container. I immediately loved the idea of both sustainability and recycling combined to flavor a meal with herbs and essences naturally grown.

With only the plant and water, nature takes over and the end product is a fresher, more flavorful meal, which is just what you’ll find at:

Sunshine Thai Cuisine

2233 Pacific Ave.

Long Beach CA 90806

866-749-2294

562-426-2677

www.sunshinethaicuisine.com

When you eat there, be sure to bring your appetite as well as mentioning to In, that you found out about the restaurant from Travelin’ Local.

A Different View of the Hollywood Sign

While researching my Mapping Swimming Pools in LA article, I discovered a new trail I wanted to hike–Bronson Canyon. The trail’s mount begins in Griffith Park, and twists and turns all the way up to the Hollywood Sign. What’s different about this hike than my previous treks to the Hollywood Sign is that I’m starting and ending up at two completely different points toward the Hollywood sign. In doing so I was interested in both having fun and exercising at the same time.

The Trailhead

Often times, when I find myself hiking, I’m not always so sure where the trail will go or what I’ll see. The only information I had on this trail, was what the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation site told me:

Special Features: HIKING TRAIL

HOLLYWOOD SIGN

PARKING

TUNNEL/CAVE

As soon as I saw the words “HOLLYWOOD SIGN” and “TUNNEL/CAVE,”

Needless to say I was “All In!” Although I’ve hiked to the Hollywood Sign before, I never tire of seeing it, and as soon as I read the words tunnel and cave, the deal was sealed thrice over.

After grabbing my camera, my water bottle, and my determination, off I went.

 

Graffiti

Who knew I was going to find public art at the start of my hike. Judging by the looks of it, this patch of concrete is meant as some kind of water run-off system. Someone took their time in spray painting this big green guy.

 

Hiking the Trail

This shot gives you an idea of what the trail looks like. With wide walkways, many hikers brought their friendly dogs out to get a bit of exercise with their masters. As you can see, I was on the way up, which didn’t surprise me.

What did surprise me is that this trail connects to the same trail I had previously taken to view the Hollywood sign. This time, however, I didn’t turn left when I approached the fire road. I went the other way trending right; I was headed toward the direction which I hoped would take me to Shangri-La—the place where I could actually touch the Hollywood Sign. Little did I know that as the trail goes up, it keeps going up and up, and then some.

 

Forest Lawn Cemetery

Close to the top, the northern views were spectacular. Above is the world famous Forest Lawn Cemetery, where recently, Michael Jackson was buried.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the top of this mountain because I had never walked it before. Not armed with enough information to know what was at the top of this mountain hike, I did know that it had a steep inclined and was a long walk–it took 1.25 hours to reach my final destination.

 

No hiking allowed to the Hollywood Sign

If you haven’t guessed it already, at the top, I found myself at the Hollywood Sign, but in reverse. Yes, that’s the back of the Hollywood Sign’s letters. As I stood there, trying to snap a picture between the fence that prevent visitors from getting any closer, I thought about the people who have climbed the ladder only to jump to their deaths. What was going through their minds? We’ll never know.

 

Security and Cameras

If you’re thinking about trying to get around the fence, I’d think again. This gate with all of its camera security is the conclusion to this trail. I didn’t count the cameras, but just in this picture alone, you can see several pointing in all directions.

 

Hollywood Reservoir

 

In case you didn’t know, that’s the Hollywood Reservoir. I can hardly wait to go back on a clear day.

After over two hours of hiking and with the trail behind me, I felt tired but good. Even though I didn’t know where the trail would lead, I left happy knowing a question I’ve had was answered.

 

You made it  :)

To give you a photographic idea of the distance and elevation traversed, I took this shot less than half way up. I’m not sure why it says what it says, but you can clearly see the tower at the mountain’s top– which is the end– in the background.

As for the tunnel and cave mentioned above, I didn’t find it, which leads me to believe either I took a wrong turn, or I took the wrong trail, or both. This of course means that, in the pursuit of journalistic excellence, I’ll be going back. I’m sure that my staff won’t mind. J

This hike also allowed me to try out one of my new gadgets and toys. After searching long and hard for a GPS unit that did what I wanted it to do for Travelin’ Local’s mapping purposes, I finally found the right one to buy, after going through a few lemons:

 

This is a visual reproduction of my hike, and when you click a particular link, you’ll see a new photo. I’ll still be using Google maps, but I’ll also include some maps on this software as I keep on Travelin’ Local to bring you the best of what Los Angeles and environs has to offer.

Del Rey Lagoon Park in Playa del Rey

In Playa del Rey–a sleepy little town just south of Marina del Rey–there’s a little known park called Del Rey Lagoon Park.

The two times I’ve previously visited this park, I had no trouble finding parking, and the weather and scenery were to die for.

I really don’t know why it’s not better known, but what’s not too love about it?

Ballona Creek Trail

Del Rey Lagoon Park is the ending or beginning point, depending on how you look at it, of the Ballona Bike Trail. Across the bridge, you’re on your way to Culver City.

 

Del Rey Lagoon Park

Although the park doesn’t have any basketball courts or baseball diamonds, it does have a Lagoon.

 

Feeding the ducks

The lagoon is home for several varieties of water fowl ready for a stale loaf of bread, as this stately gentleman found out.

 

Oh, a playground!!

Playa del Rey Lagoon park also has a small playground for kids. Here a fine young fellow enjoying a game of hopscotch. The playground’s surface is made of some sponge like material for safety reasons, and after feeling its buoyancy, I felt compelled to jump up and down on it–I’m still a kid at heart.

 

Let's Swing

Its swing set is useful, delightful, and well situated facing the beautiful homes alongside the coast.

 

Sun and Relax

When visiting here, don’t forget to bring your bathing suit and beach toys.

With the beach directly across the street, you can relax in the shade at Del Rey Lagoon one minute, and catch some rays at the tide’s seashore the next.

Just remember, there’s lots to see and do while Travelin’ Local, but:

 

Please don't climb the trees

 

Please do not climb trees.

Mapping Swimming Year Round in LA

Los Angeles and Southern California are famous for our hundreds of miles of lovely beaches which face the Pacific, running the length of our western coast. But even here, the temperatures in the winter get a little cool to swim in the Pacific every day. Accordingly, it rained yesterday, which reminds us that rain does occasionally fall in Southern California.

LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium

Swimming and swimming facilities are a major component of everyday life, and for every age group. Unlike many parts of the nation, Los Angeles is rich in swimming pools– 59 to be exact. But to find one that suits both your desire and needs, you’ll need a map to figure out which pool wets your whistle.

What map you might ask yourself? Why a Travelin’ Local interactive map of all of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation swimming facilities:


View Los Angeles Swimming Pools in a larger map

When making this map, I used two different symbols. The Seasonal Pools represents the seasonal pools and the Year round pools represents the year-round pools. So when you click on the link on the map, you’ll find the name, address, phone number, and web link for that particular pool.

When summer gets closer I’ll feature this map again; but for now, with winter right around the corner, it’s great to know that there’s a year round swimming pool nearby. All you have to do is bookmark our site to get 24/7 easy access for mapping information.

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Join the 20 Gallon Challenge

Rain is in the air. I know, I know, if you feel it coming soon and are also talking about it with your friends, you wouldn’t be alone in doing so. Indeed, it’s been quite awhile since we last had any rain whatsoever–not even a drop. It could be because Los Angeles averages only 14.8 inches of precipitation per year. By contrast, Baltimore MD receives 77.8 inches of precipitation per year. That’s a major difference!

Indeed, when the East Coast is expecting a major snowfall, everyone talks about it; people prepare for it. The weather is also creating a similar buzz here, because a large rain storm is headed our way.

However, even though rain is on its way, don’t forget Southern California is in its third year of a drought, and we’re mandated to ration every gallon of water we expend to ensure supply. People sometimes have a problem with conservation–especially as it applies to water.

Lake Oroville

This picture is of Lake Oroville, one of several reservoirs that are a major source of our water. It’s courtesy of the Santa Monica Water Crisis page.

It’s important to keep fact and figure in proper context– both in quality and quantity– because we’re dangerously close to not having the water we require for such a massive city like Los Angeles. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the basics. For example:

What’s 20 gallons of water?

  • If you turn off the water while brushing your teeth, you can save about 2 gallons per minute.
  • If you fix a leaky toilet, you can save 30-50 gallons per day per toilet.
  • If you water your lawn your yard only before 8 a.m. to reduce evaporation and interference from wind, you can 20-25 gallons a day.
  • If you use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks, you can save 8-18 gallons per minute.

 

If everyone put more thought and effort toward water conservation, it would result in having more water available, especially when we don’t get a lot of rain. To help you use the above examples to save 20 gallons of water per day, you should definitely join the 20-Gallon Challenge.

Another public resource to help you save water is bewaterwise.com . Additionally, to take your water savings to the next level, SoCal Water Smart is offering rebates for qualifying purchases of water saving appliances.

As mentioned, even though it’s going to rain, our drought is far from over, so let’s save water today so we’ll have it for tomorrow.

Blogger Beach Cleanup

If you you haven’t been to the beach in awhile, you should, because there’s always so much to do and see by the seaside–for instance, just a few days ago I went walking on the beach and saw people:

Walking

Walking

 

Jogging

Jogging

 

Volleyball

Playing volleyball

 

Surfing

Surfing

 

Meditation

And even meditating

 

Our feathered friends

In addition, we aren’t the only ones who use the beach.

I’m sure you’re probably wondering why people would want to enjoy their activities on the beach barefoot, when there’s garbage on the beach.

Garbage on the Beach

Picking up trash on the beach has become the mission of Sara Bayles over at The Daily Ocean. She spends 20 minutes every day picking up trash on the Santa Monica beach. I first learned about Sara’s efforts from Siel over at Green LA Girl.

 

Blogger Beach Cleanup

Now these two beach cleaning mavericks have joined forces, and are sponsoring the Blogger Beach Cleanup on Saturday, October 24. The event starts at 4:00pm, with the cleanup lasting between 4:20-4:40pm.

The Blogger Beach get-together will be fun. Even more so, because they’ll also have prizes as well.

After all, while Travelin’ Local us “locals” like our favorite places cool as well as clean.

Crestwood Hills Park

If you’re looking for a place to kick back with the kids, play some sports, or enjoy the outdoors, check out Crestwood Hills Park. I did, this past beautiful Saturday morning.

Crestwood Hills Park

Although it’s a little off the beaten path–it’s high up in the Brentwood Hills–it’s worth spending a little extra time to get there.

 

Toddlers love this

There’s a playground for younger members of the family

 

Baseball diamond

A baseball diamond, which, as you can see by in this picture, has multiple uses

 

Let's play som bball

Two basketball courts set in the cool shade, among the statuesque tall pines

 

Picnic area

And a picnic area, complete with barbeque grills

 

Steps leading down

A few of the park’s neighbors even have steps leading from their property directly to the park. Although not the largest park I’ve seen in LA, it’s definitely high on my list of shady spots, to spend a warm sunny afternoon at.

Just the smell of its gorgeous pine trees would bring me back to Crestwood Hills Park. If you’d like more information about the various programs and classes available here, just head on up the hill during the facility’s hours of operations:

Monday - Friday: 10:00am to 5:00pm 

Saturday: 12:00am to 4:00pm 

Sunday:   12:00am to 4:00pm

Parks and Travelin’ Local are synonymous, because Southern California’s physical beauty is what keeps many of us here, and what beckons others to come here every single day.

The Georgian Hotel where Old meets New

The Georgian

Many adjectives, and descriptions, paint a portrait of The Georgian Hotel–beautiful, well-run, the sun, sand and sea, luxurious, the perfect get-a-way, and so forth– and they all fit.

The Georgian Hotel inspires and defines Passion

The Georgian’s Hotel‘s dedication to Passion is what makes a stay here uniquely special. It’s ubiquitous the moment you enter the hotel, until you depart. Spending time here is an experience and a feeling at the same time.

With its cozy lobby, pictures of Santa Monica’s historic past, veranda, intimate access and view of Santa Monica’s world-class beaches, its art deco lobby, the luxurious mahogany bar, and the effort put forward into making The Georgian Hotel a premier destination resort, is the reason that the Broughton Hospitality Group boutique hotels distinguish themselves both in California, and around the world.

Here they not only meet any reasonable expectation of comfort, they define luxury and excellence.

Art Deco

Have you been recently thinking about a romantic getaway? Or a relaxing weekend to get away from the city while still being in the city? I found the relaxation I needed recently at my stay at The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica to feel and know everything that makes Southern California special right at my front door.

The Georgian has it All

Built in 1933 with an art deco exterior, The Georgian Hotel is where the Hollywood of old called home. The Georgian’s rich history parallels that of early Hollywood – many famous actors and actresses have stayed here over the years. The LobbyIndeed, as soon as you step into its welcoming entrance, the hospitable staff greets you warmly.

Their light and airy hallways immediately immerse you into belonging and feeling a part of Santa Monica’s seaside resort community.

After entering your room or suite, your troubles and stress are immediately left behind. My suite included a spacious living/sitting room on one side, and a gorgeous bedroom on the other– I felt right at home.

Everything at The Georgian is brand new—from its lobby, to veranda, to everything in its rooms.
The Georgian Rubber DuckyFor example, its richly ingrained and finished mahogany tables, desks, and wet bar, not to mention sofa, pictures, chaise lounge, and Flat Panel televisions—no detail was ignored, nor any shortcut employed. Recently, The Georgian underwent a multi-million dollar renovation to bring this magnificent art deco hotel to today’s luxury standards.

After unpacking my luggage, I went to the one room which never lies, and tells the true story of any hotel– the bathroom. If the bathroom isn’t clean and shiny, I won’t enjoy my stay. The bathroom outdid my expectations—it was spotless, delightful, and possessed a charm one doesn’t usually equate with the same. The Veranda and a Glass of WineThe sitting room and the bedroom had fresh crisp sheets, and had to-die-for views toward the east of Santa Monica, and on the other side, I could enjoy and see the Pacific Ocean.

The Georgian’s Veranda

After I ordered a perfect aged dry white California wine from Sonoma County from the Georgian’s full-service bar, I sat back to enjoy the ocean breeze, while the sun set over the horizon. I then leisurely sauntered toward the aqua-tinted beach’s sand, and walked across the street. I was on the beach in minutes, stepping in the moist sand. At water’s edge, I dove into the Pacific’s warm and inviting waves for a quick swim.

After my soulful foray to the beach, I returned to my suite, and took a long and relaxing bath. Of course, they supplied the necessities, which included a Rubber Ducky!

Afterward, I walked a short two blocks to the world famous Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. From that point, my potentials and possibilities for enjoyment were endless–shopping, eating, taking in the latest movie or book, and enjoying the best that Santa Monica has to offer.

Comfort

After a day and night of gourmet eating, beach trotting, walking, shopping, fun, and leisure, I returned to my suite to watch a bit of television.

After watching the ocean’s sunset from my room–as the Pacific’s winds were gently blowing–I drifted to sleep with the relaxing sound of the beach’s breaking waves in the background.

Perfect Bliss

I started out the next morning true; I brewed fresh coffee from the suite’s private coffee maker. There’s no better way to start the day off than to enjoy breakfast on The Georgian’s veranda, where I ordered their world famous and signature French Toast Soufflé.

Unlike French toast that is fried, this is baked, and with a touch of maple syrup, it literally melts in your mouth.

Afterward, to plan my day, I perused my Santa Monica walking map, which displays some of the many spots and locations of interest go and do of interest. With the beach in front of me and the hotel as my anchor– I was armed, ready, and willing to enjoy my stay in town, but feeling a million miles away.

Here’s where you can get additional information about the hotel, room rates, corporate bookings, or other questions to plan a stay or world class vacation:

The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica

Reservations: 800.538.8147

Tel: 310.395.9945

Fax: 310.451.3374

Mailing Address:

1415 Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica, CA 90401

A Mulholland Drive Adventure

When you want to get away from it all, enjoy the vistas of Los Angeles, and experience the best-of-the best of our city’s surroundings, locale, and environment–especially without the traffic and crowds–enjoy a Mulholland Drive Adventure.

The journey along Mulholland extends between the 405 and the 101, and has public stops at each of its scenic spots.

Mulholland Drive

Constructed in 1924 by the famous Water Bureau Chief and City Engineer, William D. Mulholland, the twenty four-mile long Mulholland Drive was envisioned as a scenic road, which would transport city dwellers to the mountains and beaches. According to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory, eight miles of this Scenic Parkway–from the 405 freeway west to Woodland Hills–remain unpaved.

Comprising 153,075 acres, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, is part of the larger Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory. Its the nation’s largest urban national park, and has more area codes (5) and zip codes (26)–including the notable Beverly Hills zip code 90210–than any other portion comprising the National Park System.

Stone Canyon

Stone Canyon Overlook

The Charles and Lotte Melhorn Overlook

The Charles and Lotte Melhorn Overlook

The Barbara A. Fine Overlook

The Barbara A. Fine Overlook

The Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook

The Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook

University City Overlook

The Universal City Overlook

For this Mulholland Scenic Parkway adventure story, I’ve included the top 5 vantage point views of the city from each stop. Along the way, there are more overlooks, including the Hollywood Bowl stop.

Here’s a map to help you find each overlook:


View A Mulholland Drive Adventure in a larger map

If you’re looking for amazing views of Los Angeles, the surrounding areas and the mountains, by Travelin’ Local all you have to do is take the Mulholland Drive tour.

The Great California ShakeOut: Are you Prepared?

Join millions of Californians on October 15th 2009 at 10:15am, to participate in the largest earthquake drill ever sponsored by the State. Its name is a bit whimsical; however the subject matter is deadly serious.

The stated and implied goal of participating in the Great California ShakeOut, is to improve your ability to prepare, and also understand the ramifications, if and when such a natural disaster occurs. Its importance in how we’re able to function and survive this force majeure, cannot be overemphasized. The Great California Shakeout instructions and preparedness include how to protect yourself and your loved ones during an earthquake, and afterward as well.

Earthquake in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of USGS

You need to be prepared, because, unfortunately, not being prepared is risky business; because you could be just about anywhere, if and when a catastrophic earthquake occurs — work, school, home, freeway, elevator, car, etc. It’s not really a matter if such an event occurs, it’s when.

Earthquakes and California are synonymous—we have already had several significant ones over the last one hundred years, and the San Andreas Fault line traverses north to south along hundreds of miles–so it pays to know what to do in the midst of and during a natural disaster.

We never know when a major earthquake may occur—we have no way of measuring or anticipating it. But the plain fact of the matter is that “The Big One” is virtually a certainty within the next 100 years. The Big One is measured in degrees and kinds of seismic activity and the infliction of damage measured by the Richter Scale. A Richter Scale’s number isn’t in percentages or the percentage differences between numbers. The difference and degree between Ricther Scale measurements could mean the difference between a city surviving intact or its complete destruction. Indeed knowing what to do after and during an earthquake, can and will save your life, or the lives of your loved ones, despite the event in and of itself.

To best protect you and your family during an earthquake includes:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Photo courtesy of Southern California Earthquake Center

To obtain additional information to help prepare you for an earthquake, the Great California ShakeOut has written several brochures—they’re free, they’re important, and most importantly they help to save lives:

ShakeOut Drill Manual for K-12 Schools

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Businesses

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Non Profits and Other Organizations

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Government Agencies and Facilities

For business’ interested in having their employees, staff, and management to get involved–you’ll have good company. Other organizations which have already signed up to participate in The Great California ShakeOut include the following:

Southern California Edison

Southern California Earthquake Center

Metrolink/SCRRA

California Science Center

American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles

L. A. Care Health Plan

American Red Cross

Natural History Museum

City of Los Angeles

Community Outreach Promoting Emergency Preparedness

Claremont Chapter, American Red Cross

California Department of Public Health, Drinking Water Program

Southern California Earthquake Center

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

University of Southern California

Emergency Planning Consultants

United States Geological Survey

Earthquake Solutions

Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office

Structural Engineers Association of Southern California

California Emergency Mangement Agency

RPV Neighborhood Watch & Emergency Preparedness

COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE (ROSE HILLS REVIEW)

University of Southern California

Weston Mason

Steppingstone Enterprises

LA County Office of Emergency Management

Fire & Disaster Trainng Services

Pearce Global Partners

Area B of Los Angeles County

Office of Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield

United States Geological Survey

RAND Corporation

CB Richard Ellis

Long Beach Peninsula CERT

Armaga Springs Home Owners Association Inc.

Los Angeles Unified School District

Providence San Fernando Valley

Los Angeles County

High Desert CERT

Eagle ScoutParents

California Institute of Technology

Pacific Alliance Medical Center

SESOL, Inc

LW Communications

California Independent System Operator

U.S. Geological Survey and UCLA

Southern California Earthquake Center

SoCalHUG and San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Diease Association

Noah’s Water Fundraising / Eagle ScoutParents ESP

University of Southern California

You still have time. Just click here.

So, when the next major earthquake hits California–as we all know it will–please use the advice of Travelin’ Local and the Great California ShakeOut, practice and be prepared. Because knowledge is always power.

To your good health.

We Live in Public the Rise and Fall of an Internet Guru

We Live in Public

Before there was facebook, My Space, Twitter, You Tube, instant messaging, the Blackberry, and the rise of the social media phenomena of websites, gadgets, apps, and so on–there was a child-genius come Internet millionaire and guru named Josh Harris.

Harris, before and after the 90’s Internet bubble, predicted and saw the future–the web’s potential. Harris then proceeded to capitalize on it–both in the financial sense; but as well in its social and privacy sagacity. Harris would explore and manipulate issues that presaged it as we know it today:

While he wanted to be both the Internet’s pioneer, guru and prognosticator, he chose to do so by creating various “experiments” and companies, that were either before their time, or before technology or social mores were able to catch up to his ideas.

Josh Harris’ curriculum vitae sound reasonable enough—CEO and founder of Jupiter Communications, and Pseudo.com. After his companies went public, Harris became a multi-millionaire. By fashioning himself an artist like Andy Warhol, he proceeded to use the Internet’s ability to have other people view other people in their most intimate moments around the clock; while having them simultaneously “virtually” connecting with one another.

His obsession became his life, and his life was to control others, which became his raison d’être. Harris’ unhealthy compulsion led him to prove how his “ideas” were the future, by creating, among other ideas and projects, the New York underground venture “Quiet.”

The New York Times characterizes the Quiet project as follows:

Harris sealed some 100 volunteers in a bunker in Manhattan wired with cameras and outfitted with guns. He called this 1999 project “Quiet: We Live in Public,” though it was anything but. Over their month of confinement these pod people turned progressively rowdier, letting it all hang out, sometimes while weeping and screaming, for the viewing pleasure of the other inhabitants.

We Live in Public

We Live Life in Public the Movie

Ten years in the making and culled from 5000 hours of footage, We Live in Public reveals the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of”, artist, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director Ondi Timoner, documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.

Harris, often called the “Warhol of the Web”, founded Pseudo.com, the first Internet television network during the infamous dot-com boom of the 1990s. He also curated and funded the ground breaking project “Quiet” in an underground bunker in NYC where over 100 people lived together on camera for 30 days at the turn of the millennium. With Quiet, Harris proved how we willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire, but with every technological advancement such as MySpace, facebook and Twitter, becomes more elusive. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living with his girlfriend under 24-hour electronic surveillance which led to his mental collapse, Harris demonstrated the price we pay for living in public.  Source: We Live in Public

In a sense Harris was right, we all want our “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” everyday on the net, but at the price of selling our rights to privacy to be culled, measured, quantified, sold, and distributed without us having any control over it once we input our lives onto the Internet.

Too bad, because good or bad, it took a mentally detached latchkey kid, Josh Harris, to live out the dream and nightmare, that technology has and had wrought upon us.