What a weekend it’s been! NFL players taking knees, political meltdowns, war, the threat of war, disasters, humanitarian crises the world over… Just typing words onto a screen is a chore when the mind is chock-full of so much stuff. Fuck it! We’re talking about some stairs, kiddos!!
Secret Stairs of LA Walk #2 — Eagle Rock
Welp, I didn’t get murdered on my first walk, which made me super eager to do walk number two!
I love this part of LA. I once heard someone say that “Los Angeles is basically nineteen neighborhoods looking for a city.” Doing my own research, however, it’s more like forty neighborhoods. Each has its own flavor if you will.
This walk clocks in pretty close to four miles according to my Garmin. So you’ll want to eat your Wheaties before embarking on this bit of Urban Hikery. The walk starts on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Townsend, in Eagle Rock. Fun fact: You can take Townsend south and it will take you into Highland Park and deposit you onto York—if you park, you can treat yourself to some mighty fine donuts at Donut Friend. Thank me later.
Before I get too far into this, I’d like to apologize to Charles Fleming. I said, in the words of Senator Clay Davis (a personal hero), from The Wire, some shameful shit about him in my first post in this series. I take it back, Fleming is not a turd burger and I love this book for the fact it indulges my love of aimless wandering without getting murdered—but now with seventy-two percent more purpose! Thanks, Chuck! If you haven’t done so, buy his book!
The first set of stairs you encounter is a bit curved and takes you up a good bit before depositing you out onto Neola Place. It’s a quiet and pretty street. The houses were colorful, with a mix of old craftsman and more modern structures. The wind was doing its thing, making the leaves dance and blowing someone’s awesome bbq into my suddenly hungry and jealous face.
At the end of Neola, is another staircase which descends into a dead-end street, with a school as the backdrop. Lots of fun artwork is installed on the fence grating surrounding the school (I took a couple photos).
The sound of children at play and people living their lives is what I notice—everyone seems to have a place to belong if that makes sense. The sun, by that point, was waiting to be relieved by the moon, I could still smell the residual of rain from earlier that day, as if the trees, bushes, grass, and assorted plants were taking a collective deep breath.
Yosemite is the next street you come up to, it’s a busy street that runs from Figueroa to Eagle Rock Blvd and beyond. There’s a tiny set of stairs connecting the split-level Oak Grove Dr. As I make my way over to Fig, I have to take the crosswalk and wait for a light, I’m just not that fast to run across the street. Not only is that a bad idea, it’s against the law! The next staircase, is built right into the side of a hill and it has a fancy mural painted on it, the Zen Mural I think it’s called. It’s a bit of a climb and a bit of a descent—what goes up must come down after all (I swear, I’m just as insufferable in person).
If you’re lucky, you can cross back over Fig, to the west side of the street and not get hit by a car. Real life Frogger is fucking terrifying! There was a taco stand setting up when I walked by, which was neat, however, they weren’t open for business just yet. They posted up next to another set of steps leading up to Eucalyptus and Buena Vista Dr. It’s a narrow road with a lot of old houses that have a wonderful view over parts of Eagle Rock and Occidental College. A lady, who was walking her dog, said, “Sir, I like your mustache very much!” So friendly! I twirled stache in appreciation like the savage villain that I am.
There’s another set of stairs as you descend from Buena Vista on Nolden. It was getting dark, so they are easy to miss if you’re heading down. There’s a railing there, too, if you’re the sort who tries to end their lives by falling on their face a lot. I’m that sort of person, fyi.
The last set of stairs is on Linda Rosa. They’re steep, as is the hill they’re built into. If this walk was a video game, then these stairs would be this level’s boss. Fear not, you made it this far so unless you want me to call you names and leave you garbage email, you better eat your steps and get to the top!
Then on your way back, you can hit up Trader Joe’s or walk another couple of blocks down to Casa Bianca, which Jonathan Gold said was one of his “99 places” he recommended you ought to eat at. It’s one of the better slices in the city, I think.
Gmap Pedometer Route
Photos from the walk