By now almost everyone knows (I hope!) that LA has a subway system. But did you know that this is not the first subway that LA has ever had?
Behold the Subway Terminal Building, hidden in plain sight in the middle of downtown LA, where at one point during the 1940′s over 65,000 riders were shuffling down into the depths of Los Angeles to board a train which traveled beneath the busy streets. And, fittingly, it’s just a block from where you might board the Red Line subway today.
The Subway Terminal Building was built in 1925 by Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver, the same architects who designed the Biltmore Hotel a block away, the Jonathan Club on 5th and Figueroa, and the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. It was actuallyapproved in a bond measure passed by Los Angeles voters—in the same election where another bond measure was passed approving a new City Hall.
I forgot to take a photo of it yesterday, but if you walk down Hill, you can see this lettering on the entrance to the lobby of the building (photo via), which is now owned by Forest City Development. That’s who conducted our de LaB tour yesterday, along with John Lesak of Page & Turnbull, whose offices are in the building, plus Evan Janney of Metro 417, the building’s new name.
Passing through an unassuming black glass door, we started the tour in the huge ground floor space (which was big enough to be a grocery store, HINT) where we heard apresentation by John Lesak on the building’s renovation. As we maneuvered around the left-behind belongings of former Metro 417 tenants, above us you could see the years reflected in the ceiling. The bland, white tiles were peeling back, revealing an older, ornamental plaster ceiling…
Even up here, you could see little hints of the subway station below.
And with that, we headed downstairs.
The next stop was a little sub-floor that felt exactly like walking through a New York subway station. This guy wasn’t around anymore, unfortunately.
And here’s where we started to see the real evidence that the subway once existed: signage!
And more signage. Look at the cute little pointing hand!
Suddenly we found ourselves in a vast, pillared space that, even with the tracks and trains removed, felt very much like a subway station.
Here’s what it looked like back then.
You can still see plenty of those Exit signs.
So if you’re standing where this photo was taken, and you turn around and climb through a little hole in the wall, you see this…
Um, yeah. This is LA.
With a little bit of Saw 3 thrown in.
It was very dark. And very damp—the space had flooded during the recent rains—but there was a tunnel that we couldn’t quite see the end of, so there was nothing we could do but walk…
Here’s looking back the other way, towards the platform, with de LaB spelunkers heading down the tunnel.
We did reach the end, where there was, of course, graffiti. After being used as a fallout shelter, the tunnel was sealed in the 1960s. Supposedly the Bonaventure’s parking garage is now on the other side. I’d love to go down there and see if there are any traces of the tunnel. However…
You can still visit the other end of the (sealed up) tunnel. This is at the Belmont Stationapartments, at the intersection of Beverly and 2nd. And—plug time—you can see it during the Big Parade, where we walk from Angels Flight to the Hollywood sign, coming up May 19 and 20.
If you look at the old maps of the Red Car (here’s a cool interactive version here that actually shows a lot of the staircases around the old stations) you’ll see how the tunnel shaved off travel times by going under Bunker Hill and emerging on the other side to connect with other lines. There’s lots, lots more on the Hollywood Subway over at LAist. And more on the Pacific Electric system over at PacificElectric.org.
Of course, all I could think about was what potential this place had. How about a subway-themed nightclub? Or dinner parties on the platform? Underground dining, indeed!
And the naming possibilities are endless. Track 3?
THANK YOU CALI! Last weekend’s 4th Annual UNIQUE LA Spring Show was a huge success with over 16,000 shoppers coming to support our great designers/artists. Some of our favorite moments include watching 9-year-old Caine (of Caine’s Arcade) take pictures with fans and see kids shout with glee as they played his cardboard games; seeing all the families/kids treating Mom to gifts and sweet treats; being a tad starstruck while meeting amazing musicians Tegan and Sara, and Paramore; and getting to see all the great products and designs from first-time vendors while finally meeting ones from Portland and NYC face-to-face.
We’re excited to share that we raised thousands of dollars for our non-profit partner CicLAvia, who you should check out and go to their next ride on October 14th. Here are a handful of pictures from the show, you can browse them all and look for yourself on our Flickr page! If you’d like to download your Oh Snap Studios photos from the weekend, click here for Saturday and/or Sunday. We loved having I Spy DIY, Swellmayde and the Craft and Folk Art Museum on-hand to teach free craft projects to y’all all weekend. Thank you to all the great sponsors who help to create such a cool environment and handout freebies – it wouldn’t be the same without you!
Roy Slaper has one obsession – making jeans. Watching Roy passionately run Roy Denim all by himself out in the back streets of Oakland is really inspiring on so many levels. His obsessive attention to detail and his unique machine driven approach to creating jeans is what makes Roy Denim such a success.
Watch this great video produced by the good people over at Cool Hunting.
The Expo Line opened this past weekend, and while I didn’t get back in town in time for the opening celebrations (or free fares!) I did get to ride it as part of a press preview a few weeks back. Here are some of my favorite photos, as well as links to two articles I wrote about it. Over at the LA Weekly (the issue currently on newsstands), I preview the line from the rider’s perspective, rating everything from the station design to dining options. And at The Architect’s Newspaper, I review the line as part of what I think is LA’s new transit era. You guys, we’re finally on our way to becoming a world-class transit city. Again.
Something about this line just feels so… civilized. When I stood at the stations I would never have guessed it was in Los Angeles. And then I’d look up and see those signs: “to Downtown LA.”
The canopies are really nice, these pretty zig-zagging lines that float above you. The seemingly-random perforations in the metal are actually photos of the surrounding neighborhoods.
And the canopies create nice patterns on the ground as well, where pavers show illustrations and quotes about the last transit system to travel here.
I liked how they did the art at each station. These panels chronicle the history of the Ballona Creek, a few blocks away.
More Expo Line photos.
I’m really loving what is happening in fashion these days. Prints, florals and color are popping up in every direction. I never saw myself as a print girl in the past, but I have been taking more fashion risks lately in an attempt to find new outfit combinations that work for me. This DIY was inspired by my new found obsession with wearing mixed florals and have found that wearing color and unexpected prints really brightens up my mood! How can I have a bad day when ther is party going on in my wardrobe!? In this post, I will show you how you can update a pair of shorts with a stamped floral print so you can chime in on this trend.
Our exclusive UNIQUE Deal Breaker specials are valid for just two days each week from Wednesday at 9 am – Friday at midnight. We curate these special deals carefully, bringing you the best Made-in-America goods out there. You buy direct from these designers/small business owners so they make more profit while you save money by removing the retailer – plus you’re supporting our local economy! Transactions are between the vendor and the buyer, all sales final. Deal codes are provided below. Enjoy!