JOIN US SATURDAY, NOV. 22, 2014!

For the ninth year we're walking across Los Angeles!
Meet on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills. We'll be leaving at 9 a.m. sharp, and walking across Ventura Boulevard, before heading up Lankershim to complete our journey in North Hollywood!

To join in, just EMAIL US at greatlawalk@mail.com or check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greatlawalk

More details to come, so make sure you're on the email list! And check back here for more!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Video: The Great Los Angeles Walk on Channel 7



It's not much, but it's still TV coverage of the Great Los Angeles Walk! KABC/Channel 7 was there at the starting gate on Nov. 20, and aired this little clip during that evening's newscast.

I do take issue, however, with their opening line: "So it wasn't a great day to go for a walk unless you like walking in the rain." For the record, it was the perfect day for our urban hike. Despite predictions of a downpour, the rain held off throughout that day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK 2010 RECAP: We Conquer All 15.8 Miles of Wilshire



It was going to take more than a little rain to keep a Great Walk down.

And turns out the rain was mostly an afterthought by the time we kicked off the fifth annual Great Los Angeles Walk on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Pershing Square. Besides a few sprinkles at the start of the walk, the weather cooperated just fine -- if anything, the mid-60s temps were perfect for a day-long urban hike.

At least 100 die-hard Angelenos decided to brave the weather (before the dire forecasts, we were expecting around 350) -- and were treated to some amazing sights on Wilshire Boulevard.

And after an all-day, 15.8-mile journey (with several stops along the way), we celebrated over margaritas at Border Grill Santa Monica.

The morning started with a surprise guest: Councilman Tom LaBonge, who stopped by Pershing Square to send us off and say a few words. "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles" authors Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler then took to the megaphone and gave us a bit of history about the street we were about to walk.

A KABC/Channel 7 Eyewitness News cameraman was also there to record the start (it later appeared on the station's 4 p.m. newscast; KNBC/Channel 4 had a camera out there as well). And thanks to the Los Angeles Conservancy, everyone grabbed a copy of "Curating the City: Wilshire Boulevard," a thorough guide to the historic buildings and sites up and down the Wilshire.

At 10 a.m., we headed West.

From there, the sights were many. Bullock's Wilshire. The Park Plaza Hotel. MacArthur Park. The "Shambassador" high school.

Los Angeles Conservancy docent Marcello Vavala met us at the mid-60s St. Basil's Catholic Church to give us a history of the structure; he then took us over to the Ahmanson Center/Wilshire Colonnade to share the background of that early-70s complex.

Surprises continued: We walked by the historic Wiltern Theatre -- the first-ever L.A. Conservancy success story -- and saw that the theater had put a welcome message for the Great L.A. Walk on its marquee. At the Los Altos Apartments, we were welcomed in by management (they happened to be holding an open house). Some lucky walkers got a chance to tour the Julia Morgan-designed Hearst apartment inside (while sipping Mimosas).

Many Walkers breaked for lunch at Black Dog Coffee in the Miracle Mile, where owner Brad Gold was offering $1 his sandwiches and hot dogs. Down the street, LACMA staffer Mary Lenihan gave us a history of the museum.

Later, we passed by a wedding (a Great LA Walk tradition!) in Westwood, and even spotted another message for us -- stuck on a lamppost by a crew member on HBO's upcoming series "Luck."

Most of us made it to Santa Monica (and the Santa Monica statue at the very edge of Wilshire) around 5:30 p.m. A sliver of light remained in the distant horizon as we took photos, nursed blisters and then hobbled over to Border Grill.

It was a great day -- and my prediction that the rain wouldn't be a factor paid off.

The hot topic toward the end of The Great Los Angeles Walk: Where are we going next year? Stay tuned. And remember to keep the Saturday before Thanksgiving free. We'll see you in 2011!

And now, some pics:


I'm interviewed by KABC Channel 7. (Pic by Davey Gonzalez.)


With Councilman Tom LaBonge, who yes, called me a "great Angeleno." Don't know about that, but what the hell, I'm flattered!


Kevin Roderick speaks, as Eric Lynxwiler and Tom LaBonge look on. (Pic by Raul.)


And they're off!


Making our way up Wilshire.


The Wilshire Special.

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Below, it's a swap meet. Above, the Westlake Theatre balcony remains.


Harrison Grey Otis points us in the right direction (at MacArthur Park).


American Cement building.


Color.


Inside the Wilshire Galleria department store -- formerly I. Magnin.


LA Conservancy docent Marcello Vavala gives us some background on St. Basil's Catholic Church.


Marcello describes the Wilshire Colonnade.


A bunch of us gather under the Wiltern Theatre marquee. OK, so they didn't quite get the name of our Walk right. It's the gesture that counts. Thanks, Wiltern!


Get your MAN SUITS! MAN SUITS, everybody!


Los Altos apartments.


Inside the Hearst apartment at the Los Altos. (Pic by Will Campbell.)


Members of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council sponsor a rest stop.


LACMA staffer Mary Lenihan gives a history of the museum.


View of the Variety Building from LACMA's Urban Lights installation.


Yes, we are in Beverly Hills.


Creepiest statue on Wilshire?


An HBO "Luck" crew member leaves a message on Wilshire for us Walkers.


Jesus drives by the walk, and flashes a peace sign to Will Campbell. (Pic by Will Campbell.)


A Great Los Angeles Walk tradition: Wedding (this time in Westwood)


Didn't quite work out for you, huh?


Truman Capote's grave, at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery (Pic by Atwater Village Newbie.)


This late in the walk, no one takes up this inflatable ref's hug offer.


"Walk On" -- we're trying our best!


Harsh!


We celebrate at the Santa Monica statue - at the very end of Wilshire.


Walkers on KABC Channel 7's Eyewitness News

Thanks again to Councilman Tom LaBonge; "Wilshire Boulevard" authors Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler; L.A. Conservancy docent Marcello Vavala; and LACMA staffer Mary Lenihan, all of whom gave great speeches and shared some history for us.

Mark your calendars: The sixth GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK takes place Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011!

Other GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK posts:

Great Los Angeles Walk photo group on Flickr

Talking the Walk: The Great LA Walk 2010 Does Wilshire Blvd. (LAist)

Wilshire walkers catch a weather break (LA Observed)

Great L.A. Walk 2010: Wilshire Blvd. (Raul is Running)

Great Los Angeles Walk: Car-free urban adventure (Siel Ju, via KPCC)

I Saw Jesus Christ on Yesterday's Great LA Walk (Will Campbell, via Blogging.la)

Send us more links!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2010: Wilshire Was Walked.



A huge chunk of us at the finish line... the Santa Monica statue at the end of Wilshire.

About a hundred Angelenos joined in our 15.8-mile hike from Pershing Square to the ocean via Wilshire Boulevard. And the best part: Despite all the gloom and doom rain forecasts, the weather was perfect.

I'll have a full report tomorrow, but for now check out this report from L.A. Observed's Kevin Roderick.

Thanks to Councilman Tom LaBonge; "Wilshire Boulevard" authors Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler; L.A. Conservancy docent Marcello Vavala; and LACMA staffer Mary Lenihan, all of whom gave great speeches and shared some history for us.

(Pic by the Atwater Village Newbie.)

Hey Walkers, post your pics here: www.flickr.com/groups/greatlawalk2010/.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 is Tomorrow!

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 takes place tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.! Be sure to get there early, however -- we'll have the authors of "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles," Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler, on hand to give a few words before we begin.

We then leave at 10 a.m. SHARP. If you're late, no worries -- follow us on Twitter and find us that way.

For those of you walking, a reminder: You that you should make sure you have a transportation plan in place, so you're not stranded after walking all day!

The best option for those of you without anyone picking you up is to carpool... or to PARK IN THE MORNING in Santa Monica, and take the bus (MTA 20/720 is what we've been told is the way to go) all the way to Pershing Square BEFORE the walk. (That way, your car is waiting for you when it's all done.) Alternatively, park at Pershing Square... and take the bus back (the 20 runs all evening). Hey, then you can ice skate after you're back.

Also, a reminder: This isn't a race! We're going to take our time walking down Wilshire, taking advantage of our free L.A. Conservancy "Curating the City: Wilshire Blvd." pamphlets.

Also, an L.A. Conservancy docent will be on hand at:

St. Basil's Catholic Church (Albert C. Martin and Associates, 1969), 3611 Wilshire (betw. Kingsley and Harvard)

and

Ahmanson Center/Wilshire Colonnade (Edward Durell Stone, 1970), 3701 Wilshire (betw. Serrano and Oxford)

We'll get to St. Basil's at around 11.

How fast or slow you walk is up to you -- but if you leave us all in the dust, you're gonna miss the fun of doing the Great LA Walk -- experiencing a part of the city you wouldn't usually see by foot.

It's always hard to time these things, but we'll probably hit the the La Brea Tar Pits and LACMA in the Miracle Mile around noon or 12:30. There are several spots to grab lunch, but we particularly recommend the independent BLACK DOG CAFE. Owner Brad Gold will be giving $1 all sandwiches and hot dogs to Walkers; grab a coupon at the start of the race. Other eateries around there include Mixt Greens, Baja Fresh, Chipotle, Johnnie's Pizza and much more.

(Due to the potential rain, the plan to have food trucks there has been scrapped.)

We'll pick up the walk at 1:30 -- MEET AT THE STREETLAMP INSTALLATION at 1:30. We'll depart then for the rest of the walk. We should get to the ocean by 5 p.m. at the latest -- and then, if you're interested, we'll celebrate at Border Grill Santa Monica.

WEATHER: It's not looking great. We're gonna get a little wet. Bring an umbrella and dress accordingly. This is the first ever Great Los Angeles Walk to get some rain... but thankfully, Wilshire offers much in terms of shelter in case it really rains.

A quick reminder: This is a loosely organized event. We're all coming together to have fun and walk L.A. streets -- but this is not backed by any major organization. We're all responsible for ourselves -- so make sure you have money for meals (and drinks at the afterparty!), transporation set up and... umbrellas.

I'll be updating mile by mile, as well as when we stop and start, take breaks, etc. at www.twitter.com/greatlawalk.

If you're Tweeting as well, please make sure to put the hashtag #glaw on your posts. That way people can keep up with the Walk!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rain or Shine, the Walk is On!



This could very well become the first Great Los Angeles Walk to experience rain.

What? Rain?

Yep, in our previous four urban hikes, we've never experienced the wet stuff. As a matter of fact, the weather has completely cooperated -- we've experienced mild, 70-degree all-day walks complete with clear blue skies.

Well, until potentially this year.

The forecast currently calls for a 40% chance of rain. And the high is supposed to only reach 62 degrees.

But so what. We're not going to let the rain hurt us. THE WALK IS HAPPENING, RAIN OR SHINE!

Just bring an umbrella. And perhaps wear proper clothing that will keep you warm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Great Los Angeles Walk FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The response to this year's Great Los Angeles has so far been amazing! It's on track to be our biggest yet.

A few things to note (and check both here at the Great Los Angeles Walk's Facebook event page later this week):

If you are planning on Tweeting the walk, please send us your Twitter account name ASAP! We'll be compiling them so folks at home can follow along all day. Leave a comment below.

And now, the Frequently Asked Questions:

1. WHEN/WHERE? Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 -- the Saturday before Thanksgiving, like we do every year. We're meeting at Pershing Square. We'll probably have a speaker or two to kick things off, at around 9:30, so get there early. The Walk leaves PROMPTLY at 10.

2. WHO? We're expecting over 250 hikers this year. We're still taking RSVPs at greatlawalk(at)mail(dot)com...(yes, "mail," not "gmail") but we'll take anyone who shows up too!

3. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? C'mon, it's completely free! But you're on your own when it comes to lunch, dinner, water, etc. So don't forget to plan accordingly.

4. WHAT'S THE PATH? A straight shot once we get to the start of Wilshire -- ONE WILSHIRE, natch -- all the way to the ocean.

5. WHAT IF I CAN'T GET THERE THAT EARLY, OR DON'T WANT TO START THAT FAR EAST? Just wait for us somewhere on the path and join in once we pass by. Several hikers will be Twittering as well -- including us, at @greatlawalk. Check one of those Twitter accounts to figure out where we are.

6. HOW LONG IS THE HIKE? 15.6 miles. IMPORTANT: This is not a race. Sure, you can sprint all the way to the end, but where's the fun in that? There's no prize for who gets there first. Instead, take a breath, and join the bulk of us as we leisurely stroll toward the ocean and stop frequently to take in the sights.

The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council is sponsoring a mid-morning snack and water stop, while O.N.E. Coconut Water will be passing out water on the afternoon side.

7. WHEN WILL WE GET TO THE END? With so many hikers, people will eventually start to space out. Impatient, faster walkers might get there soon after lunch. But the bulk of the walkers will get there around 5.

8. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? We'll be taking a lunch break -- probably around an hour or so -- at LACMA. (Approximately 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.) We've got four food trucks lined up to feed you, but LACMA also has a cafeteria, and other eateries (Black Dog Cafe, Johnnie's Pizza, Baja Fresh) are nearby.

9. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WALK IS DONE? We'll take group photos at the ocean... and then celebrate at Border Grill Santa Monica.

10. HOW DO I GET HOME? Either plan with a friend and get to Santa Monica early morning, parking one car, then carpool to Pershing Square (where you'll park the other car). OR: Park at Pershing Square, walk to Santa Monica, then eventually take Metro back to Pershing Square. OR: Park at Santa Monica at 8 a.m., allowing yourself enough time to board a Metro bus to Pershing Square. Traffic's light that time of morning, so the bus ride is relatively quick. And that way, when you arrive in Santa Monica, your car is waiting for you.

BUSES: The Big Blue Bus #10 stops near Pershing Square, and MTA's 20/720 bus also gets you back to Pershing Square, even late at night.

11. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR/BRING? Loose, comfy clothing. I'd wear shorts, a t-shirt and then bring a jacket -- it gets chilly at the beach in the evening. Also, tennis shoes... sunglasses... a hat... sunscreen... extra socks... a blister kit (optional, of course -- I haven't brought one, although Band-Aids are a good idea)... and most importantly, a camera! We'll all be documenting it and posting pics later.

Several of you have ordered Great Los Angeles Walk T-shirts, which is cool (www.cafepress.com/franklinavenue) but not mandatory. For the rest of you, I suggest white T-shirts -- so we can all recognize each other as Great LA Walk walkers!

12. HOW SHOULD I TRAIN FOR THIS? It's not a marathon, so training isn't really necessary. I suppose you should walk around your neighborhood in the days before hand... but I'd avoid any big gym routine the day before, so you're not sore the day you're hiking. But other than that... I didn't train at all for the first three walks, and came out just fine.

13. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Why not? There's no special reason, no charity, no protest, no issue we're promoting -- other than a passion for Los Angeles. In 2006, I organized our walk down Wilshire to mark my 10th anniversary in Los Angeles. But it was so much fun, and it was a chance to meet so many new people, that we did it again in 2007, down Pico; in 2008, via Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd.; and in 2009, we hit West Adams as we walked down Adams and Washington to Venice Beach.

It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving as well, so somehow I don't feel as bad gorging on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie a few days later. And hey, it'll be a cool conversation piece at your holiday party.

14. IMPORTANT: You are walking on your own volition. The Great Los Angeles Walk is just a casual opportunity to walk with other Angelenos through the city. It's not an official organization of any sort -- and is therefore not responsible for your conduct or anything that may happen during your hike. Be careful, and be respectful of others and of your city.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Curating the City: L.A. Conservancy Gives Us a Comprehensive View of Wilshire


The Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 is timed to the long-awaited update of the L.A. Conservancy's extensive Curating the City site all about Wilshire.

As we mention in the Great Los Angeles Walk press release, the award-winning site offers a virtual tour of Wilshire with descriptions of eight neighborhoods and 160 structures, accompanied by more than a thousand images. The recent update added nearly sixty buildings and hundreds of photos.

Everyone on the Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 will receive a copy of the Conservancy booklet from 2005 that describes dozens of landmarks along the boulevard.

That way, not only will you be walking down Wilshire, but you also have the ability to take a self-guided tour and really get to know the street up close and personal.

Great Los Angeles Walk After Party at the Border Grill Santa Monica!



It's official: BORDER GRILL will help us celebrate post-Great Los Angeles Walk 2010!

The restaurant is setting aside space for us to gather and toast our 15.6-mile hike. As always, you're responsible for your own food and drink (so make sure you've got money/credit cards on you).

We'll head to Border Grill after taking group photos at the end of Wilshire, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My guess? Around 4:30 to 5 p.m. ish. See you there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Official Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 Press Release

FOR ITS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, THE GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK RETURNS TO WILSHIRE BOULEVARD ON NOV. 20

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 9, 2010) -- Hundreds of Angelenos will hit the sidewalks this November for The Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 – the annual event that dispels the myth that “nobody walks in L.A.”

For the fifth annual event, the Great Los Angeles Walk (www.greatlawalk.com) will return to where it all began: Wilshire Blvd. (the site of the first Walk in 2006). Participants will meet at downtown’s Pershing Square at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, and proceed to walk the entire 15.6 mile length of Wilshire.

Along the way, as they hike down L.A.’s grand boulevard, walkers will encounter historic buildings like Bullocks Wilshire and the Wiltern Theatre; attractions such as MacArthur Park and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the remains of L.A. icons that fell to the wrecking ball, such as the Ambassador Hotel and Perino’s.

Walkers will pass through a diverse cross-section of the region, including Downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Westwood and Santa Monica.

L.A. journalist and blogger Michael Schneider launched the Great Los Angeles Walk in 2006 as a way to celebrate his tenth year in Los Angeles. Inspired by the book “Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles,” by Kevin Roderick (with research by J. Eric Lynxwiler), he decided to walk the street’s entire length.

In 2007, for an encore, he chose another downtown-to-the-ocean route: Pico Boulevard. The 2008 Walk took on Santa Monica Blvd. (via Sunset). And in 2009, the event kicked off in the historic West Adams district and walked to Venice Beach via Adams and Washington.

The Great Los Angeles Walk grew from dozens of participants to hundreds, and continues to expand each year as more Angelenos join in to explore their city on foot.

As always, the Walk is completely free. It is up to the participants to decide how much or how little of the walk they want to do. Walkers are responsible for their own meals, although a selection of gourmet food trucks will be parked to feed hungry Walkers during the lunchtime break near LACMA.

The Walk coincides with a major update of the Los Angeles Conservancy's website devoted to Wilshire, Curating the City: Wilshire Blvd., at www.curatingthecity.org Launched in 2005 as part of a much broader educational program, the award-winning site offers a virtual tour of Wilshire with descriptions of eight neighborhoods and 160 structures, accompanied by more than a thousand images. The recent update added nearly sixty buildings and hundreds of photos.

Everyone on the (actual) Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 will receive a copy of the Conservancy booklet from 2005 that describes dozens of landmarks along the boulevard.
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