Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Park Day: Chavez Ravine Arboretum, Elysian Park

View of the Chavez Ravine Arboretum in Elysian Park.
I don't know how I've spent almost my entire life in Los Angeles without visiting Elysian Park (or even really realizing that it is, in fact, a park) but that whole zone of the city has always largely been defined in my head as HORRIBLE DODGER STADIUM GRIDLOCK and so I've all but completely avoided it! 

But then a visit to Big Orange Landmarks revealed the existence of a lovely seeming arboretum on the grounds of the park, and Elysian Park immediately got a great slot on the Park Day calendar. 

I almost couldn't even find the Arboretum, because Elysian Park is quite large and spread out, and has a nest of absolutely awful, rutted, shredded roads that lead in circles. But finally I found it, and...it's nice. It's fine. It's a bunch of trees, and based on the birds and plant life I observed, a very diverse and mature ecology. But mostly, to the lay observer, it's a bunch of very nice indistinguishable trees. 

Meanwhile, I had made the mistake of reading Yelp's reviews of the park before I left, and those people scared me, and suddenly I saw riff-raff at every turn. The two other toddlers and their moms in the arboretum playground were among the nicest and best behaved toddlers we have ever played with, but as we walked through the park on a Tuesday morning, it became obvious it's still a hangout for homeless people, street gamblers, possible sex creeps and just...riff-raff. And I am not someone to use the term riff-raff lightly. Furthermore, this park makes me weep for Los Angeles. It's historic and filled with interesting nooks and crannies of the detritus from 120 years of development, but even though the grass is mowed and the trash isn't too thick on the ground, it basically just seems crummy and dirty and in dire need of another layer of paint and new asphalt. But that's all fodder for a sternly worded fax to the Parks & Rec department. Let's move on to the baby's day at the park:

Pretty trees. Nice playground. We saw a robin. Jackson got to play with a Thomas train and a stick and we had a very nice walk through the trees. 

After the park we went to Boyle Heights to get a DVD at the branch library there and we stopped at a fabulous old mariscos restaurant on Whittier Blvd.

Look, embalmed desiccated sharks and 1960s chandeliers!

This library is one of the oldest branch libraries in Los Angeles. It has a fireplace and I think a hitching post!
Then we got the kiddo a proper haircut (photos to come) and he was an absolute angel. He didn't mind one bit and now he looks like a BIG BOY. xoxo, J's mom :)

1 comment:

sal valdez said...

glad you found Elysian park. I grew up just off Sunset in the 60s so I have very good memories of the park. plus I played hs baseball at a ball field that is now gone; dodger stadium took it for more parking. I live in East LA now. what's the name of the mariscos restaurant on Whittier blvd. I found your blog by chance. googled chavez ravine arboretum.