I live just up the hill from Griffith Park, on the big street that never sleeps. I mean that someone is always going somewhere on the street where I live. Bad part is the smog. I have to clean my plants often, and I wonder about my own leaves, the little ones attached to the ends of my lungs. I love where I live, in spite of the rats and carbon monoxide poisoning and recent theft of my bicycle. I am a walk to Silverlake and Franklin Hills, and Sunset Boulevard, what they call Sunset Junction, is a five minute bike ride from my house. All mostly Downhill.
I have some favorite places around here now, the atwater bakery, with the lovely baker in her crisp white apron, and on hyperion the bakery with the european looking fruit pastries and cakes, grande cups of cappuccino, a place your dog can lay down outside while you read the paper. I have run into the wonderful Bud Cort Twice, so I figure either we both need to stop eating baked goods, or we were meant to have a conversation, which we did.
He started by telling me he had waited in line for two hours to get into the Echoplex show two years ago or so. No, make that Four years I think. Well, I reminded him of meeting at Greenblatts back in the day, Oh, 1982 maybe, when I lived there and my mother was visiting. Im actually starting to forget things. Too bad. On your way to the atwater bakery, which I must warn you, is not only pretty to look at but the best baked goods overall than any place in town. I like Clementines, in West LA, but for inviting and delicious hand pies, chocolate without dairy, corn muffins with raspberry jam (my favorite), oatmeal pancakes, ricotta cake, polenta cookies, and most delicious chocolate chip cookies vote… But most important to me: the coffee is perfect, and it makes those baked goods even better. I get a small Americano and my day feels like I could be anywhere.
That’s what I wanted to tell you… this area where I live, it could be anywhere, and I mean that in a good way. The spirit of my Boulevard is so continental, it reminds me of Chicago when I was a little girl, big trees, and people are always walking, bikes going by, huffing up the hill, or walkers and joggers, of all ages, and there is something uplifting about that. It reminds me to get out there.
On the corner of Griffith Park is the wonderful Philosophical Society, started way back In the 20s or 30s. I believe these are the folk that found Krishnamurti and brought him to England, from which he escaped to Ojai and denounced idolatry. But the Society went on, and sometimes I see the orange robes of monks parading the shady Side of Los Feliz, a sight that always makes me feel, well, happy. Someone to bow to, at least in side. I need that.
There are a couple dogs around here Juliette and I have gotten to know. I nice little black mutt whose lesbian owners are brave and friendly enough to let him check out my dog. And one is a big pitt bull whose 30 something single man owner keeps him carefully away from other dogs. This is such courteous walking manners, especially with a male whom the owner knows might be impatient, shall we say. He’s an alpha dog and this way, he just keeps everything happy. The dog has never postured, but the guy knows people are afraid. Julietta is a pitt bull, too, she’s my dog. But she is so… beta, so kind, wagging her tail while people are busy pulling their dogs away by their little necks, avoiding my eyes. I am watching to see if Julietta will feel bad, she just wants to sniff like anyone else, maybe play, get to know someone out there besides me. Life is a pack, after all. Any dog can bite, obviously. We get to know our animals and what we can and cant do with them. I never mistake my dog for my child. I do not vouch for her. But I know she is a kind and non violent dog. I am never comfortable when children walk up and put their faces by dogs. Julietta looks at me and softly wags, as if she wishes she had a baby, too. But I never turn my back when a dog and child are near each other.
So anyway, we know some nice people who let their little dogs sniff who they want, and some who project all their own prejudice onto their animal. Nice man up the street with a great dane. He’s a smaller guy, and when he got this puppy he would apologize for everything the dog did. It sniffed you, he’d say ‘oh I m so sorry.’ And he was so upset about his dog, as if he had been left it in a will or something. Soon he quite walking it. I know that the dog was not a little man, and it was too bad the little man projected all his insecurity onto the dog. And in a way its good, because I learn something every single day, just sticking my head out the door.
A little ways down the hill from the Philosophical Society is the eastern (I assume) entrance to Griffith Park. It is right by the freeway on what seems to be the north side of the street. Im guessing by where I watch the sunrise what direction things are. turn into the park, Here is the way to the little kid horses and their little kid train, (no not the horses train) and the park with a lot of grass, where kids have parties, and left, the way to the golf green and composting. Keep going straight though and you will pass the old large train museum, and come to the zoo and the Gene Autry museum. Behind it is a horse path, I sometimes ride my horse that way.
Other times I go up in the mountain. Keep going now through the zoo area, and in a mile or so you will come to the train museum and on your left, the majestic park. You will find hikers and horseback riders up here. Bikes aren’t supposed to be on the trail. I’ll fill you in though, there is a way to the top of the park and down the other side you will end up in Beachwood Canyon. It is a wonderful ride on a full moon like tonight. Maybe I will go catch the sun rise…
On that side of the park, in Beachwood, there is a stable. I cant really recommend this stable, and that’s all Ill say. But there is a path there, many pictures have been taken from there, for it leads to the Hollywood Sign if you go one way, and to the Observatory if you go the other. From the area above the stable, its about A thirty, forty minute walk to the observatory, all mostly flat and very beautiful, looking down at the city or around you at the fir trees and woodpeckers. Do watch out for those spring time rattlers, especially if you like to walk in the early morning. But lets say you don’t turn into the park, and you are heading for the freeway, but for some reason you drive past it, going east. Just before you would come to the Atwater Bakery on your left at the light, you might notice a little EAT sign, and a T-off golfing green right by the free way. Pull over there and park.
Here is the LA River, and you can walk or ride your bike for miles in either direction. It is filled with birds of all kinds, egrets, mallards, geese. I mean its fantastic. It is not crowded ever, seems to really be a local hang, and for this reason I would not want to leave this area. The park, the locals, the shopkeepers, all add up to a great community. But for me, loving animals like I do, I am just a few miles from all the stables, the Equestrian Center and horses everywhere. But I am a two minute coast downhill to a wonderful urban bike path, one that makes me think that the birds love this community as much as the people. the skunks sure do. And more than once I have seen a coyote trotting down Sunset Blvd. in the early Hours. Guess he missed his ride.
Next: that coyote could take the number two blue bus all the way to the beach. At least I think… that was the one i took… back when i worked at Sarno’s.
Remember Sarnos? yeah baby!