Thursday, July 4, 2013

metro moves downtown los angeles

happy fourth of july!
Hopefully everyone has a safe and fun Independence Day.
I decided to take advantage of my day off, and get off the couch and go explore a bit.

Metro Art Tours 

"Metro offers regularly scheduled as well as special request group tours of the artwork in the Metro Rail system. Tours are led by trained Metro Art Docent Council volunteers. The Metro Art Docent Council is committed to increasing awareness of the broad range of art in the Metro Rail system through public tours that provide insights into the artworks, the artists who created them, the processes it took to make them, and the communities they enhance. While docent programs are commonly found at museums around the world, Metro is the first transit agency to benefit from such a program."


The tour met promptly at 5:30 pm at the entrance to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, at the corner of Figueroa and 7th Street, under the ceiling by Terry Schoonhaven. I recommend showing up with ample time, because it might be a little difficult to find. As a recommendation there is a $6 parking lot near by if park anytime after 4:00pm. 

entrance to 7th Street/Metro Station

The tour was guided by Barbara and Alex, who were both excellent docents, extremely informative, and well versed in the history of the Los Angeles Metro Art work.

Terry Schoonhaven

There were a lot of people on this tour, I don't know if it was due to the fact that it was a holiday or if people are that interested in the artwork found in the Metro, either way it was big group. This tour is free, except if there is an abundance of people, they might run out of TAP cards that are needed in order to travel through the metro. I had to purchase a TAP card because they ran out, it wasn't that big of a deal, and no one seemed to care. 

Metro Art Tours

The tour kicked off traveling down the Red Line to Union Station

Union Station

Union Station was built in 1939. It is considered to be the last of the "Great Stations". A unique feature of Union Station is that it is extremely quiet given the number of trains and buses and depart and arrive to the station. The quietness is attributed to the face that walls are made with cork that absorb the sound waves. 

Union Station

The ceiling of Union Station is ornately painted with a vibrant geometric pattern. The ceiling was painted to mimic the look of wood, when actuality it's a mixture of cement and industrial material. 

Union Station

A fun fact about the marble in the middle aisle of Union Station is that since the flooring is made from a variety of marble all with different rates of degrading, and if you glide your foot from left to right you can feel the groves of the ground.

Union Station

The tour from the main entrance of Union Station makes it's way through the main corridor of Union Station to the East Portal. It's funny to see how people are traveling and working their way through the train station.

Union Station

The East Portal of Union Station houses an amazing geometric dome. The real unique feature of this dome is the fact that the square tiles are specifically sized in order to create the illusion that the dome is higher than it actually is. 

Union Station

The tour then proceeds back onto the Red Line, where we see another artwork by Terry Schoonhaven (the man who painted the ceiling under which the tour starts).

Grand Park Metro Station

The last stop on the tour is Grand Park, located right in front of City Hall. 
The artwork that is located in the Grand Park Metro Station are these unique flying men that are suspended from the ceiling. These men are to represent a sense of flying. The overall theme of the artwork located in the metro, is "movement", they are to represent the people of Los Angeles moving through time, space, and through their daily lives. 

A feature that is also very unique to the Los Angeles Metro system, is the fact that every single station is uniquely designed to look independently different then each station. The reason behind this, is so that passengers can merely look out the window of the train and be able to see what station is their stop. Metro is highly emphasizing for commuters to recognize the stations, and for people to feel comfortable using the metro.

Grand Park Metro Station

Along Grand Park Metro station, you can also find very ornate mosaic portraits of different types of people found in Los Angeles. You have athletes, fashionistas, business people, urban youth, and it really shows the diversity that is found in Los Angeles.

Grand Park Metro Station

City Hall has always been one of my favorite sites in Downtown Los Angeles. I didn't know that the tour ended in Grand Park, but it was quite a nice site to see as the sun began to set. There was a high level of security and people surrounding Grand Park do to the Fourth of July fireworks that were going to be hosted at the park.

City Hall 

One thing that fascinates me is the sights and sounds of downtown Los Angeles. There's never a dull moment.

Grand Park Metro Station

While on the tour if you look on the walls of the stations you will see a variety of maps to guide you.

Los Angeles Transit System

I also recommend that if you're taking this tour, it ends at Grand Park Metro station. If you parked over by Figueroa and 7th Street, I recommend asking your docent for detailed instructions on how to get back. I am a little well versed on how to get around on the subway, but if you are not I recommend just stopping and asking, don't be afraid to speak up.

Los Angeles Metro System

It being fourth of July, fireworks had to be lit up. I ended an amazing day with my sister from a different mister brittany hampton (@brittany_hampton). Overall it was a fun day in downtown la, and having some drinks and blowing stuff up.  


I invite anyone that is interested in Downtown Los Angeles, to visit the metro art tours website (the link is provided at the top of this page), because they offer a wide variety of tours at different LA locations. 
You will definitely see more posts in the future from different tours. 

Another recommendation that was given to us by the docents was that Grand Park  throughout the summer are hosting different events, all of which you can check their website for. 

& always remember it's always a good day to get off the couch...

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