Thursday, November 20, 2008

Store Closing Sale! Sample sale! SALE! SALE! SALE!

More store closings on Menswear Row due to, you know, teh misery.

Academy Award Clothes is closing their store location carrying Name Brand Clothing Suits, Sport Coats, Slacks, Dress Shirts and Ties Tallia, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein etc… Vintage Clothing Tuxedos, Dinner Jackets and Tail.

Aww, cheer this guy up and buy something!

I expect their stock and custom apparel business to continue, so you still have time to score that sweet pure-white "Tournament of Roses" suit for only $184.75.

Down the street, Pellucci is so poor they can't even maintain the "P" above their door. But where else are you going to find this much suit for $69.99? Act now! Don't miss out!

Meanwhile, spotted on Ninth St, "Bees and Dragons / Monster Republic Kids Sample Sale!" Of course I missed the first day, but it happens again this Friday, 11/21. Our kids can be the fashion plates they deserve to be! -- 834 S. Broadway suite #703, 1/2 block north of 9th st. on B'way (next to Orpheum Theater) Friday (11/21) 11AM-5PM. Boy's sizes: 6M - 10 Infant/Baby: 1M - 24M

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I got a ton of suggestions for preschools so I thought I'd make them into a post. These come from parents on the City Kids LA message board.
Here is a list of day care options that my husband and I investigated when we were looking for day care for our son. Some of these include preschool. Our son is now at the USC Child Care Center just off of Adams.
  • County Kids Place

    This one is close by and seems to have a lot of space available for kids. It's located just across the freeway. The only thing we didn't like about it was that it was in a sort of strange location.

  • Mount St. Mary' College Child Development Center

    We didn't visit this one because it's for toddlers, but they are located close by on Adams.

  • H. Pregerson Child Care Center

    This was probably our favorite program. It seemed that the teachers there really enjoyed their jobs and the kids looked really happy. Unfortunately, it's also really hard to get into (at least for infants) since federal employees have priority.

  • White Memorial Medical Center – Rainbow Children's Center

    We didn't get to visit this one because they we could never make our schedules work with their schedule. However, a co-worker told me she really liked it there when she visited it. They also have a bilingual program which sounded kind of cool. If you speak Spanish, it might be best to speak to them in Spanish when you call. I think you get better service that way…

  • Cal Trans Tiny Dots Early Education Center

    This is another one we didn't have a chance to visit. I sent in my paper work, but for some reason they didn't get it. The facility is new and looks pretty cool though.

  • Union Station Gateway Child Development

    This one is located at Union Station. There isn't much outdoor area here so the set up is kind of weird. It might be worth checking out though.

  • I also heard that City Hall has a day care center, and that there is one associated with the Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo which is supposed to be really good. We didn't have a chance to check them out though, so I don't know too much about them.

    I hope this list helps!


I spoke to one of the ladies at work and she thinks the Nishi Hongwanji Child Dev. Center is AMAZING!

Nishi Hongwanji Child Dev. Ctr
815 E. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Susan at 687-4585

I guess it's over by the 1st St. Bridge. Her son goes to Kinder there and she raves about it. They may not take 18 mos old babies though,they might need the baby to be potty trained. :)


Both of my kids are at Tiny Dots, and we love it! It's clean, the outside area is HUGE, and the teachers are really caring. The only drawback is that Lupe, the director, seems to be a little overworked (she has twin boys of her own, so I think she is a little distracted
sometimes) If you want to visit the center or get your child on the waiting list (and yes, it is a rather long list, unless you are looking for part time) I suggest calling in the morning before 10 am, and don't leave a message. Just keep calling until you get through to her. Otherwise, you just get added on to the pile of messages :) They start at 6 weeks, and go all the way through preschool.

GREAT list Noemi!

BTW, we have friends who have their kids in Serendipity (In the ronald reagan building) Our neighbors have one of their kids in the Buddhist temple in Little Tokyo...they all love them!


Pilgrim School at 6th & Commonwealth

They have an amazing preschool and kindercare and they are also K - 12 school
gorgeous facility
amazing people and staff

my son is at Kindergarten there

takes 5 min from center city

(note from Li: Pilgrim is very reasonably priced)


HIgashi Honganji Buddhist Temple

Director's Name: Leslie

505 East Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Telephone: (213) 680-2976

My daughters are very happy here.

If you're a Downtown parent and you haven't joined the Yahoo group, you should! It's great to connect with other parents and you get access to a ton of information on resources for parents downtown.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spotted outside Good Sam Hospital.

I didn't want to spend the $4.00 to find out, but I am intrigued to know how this works. Does the meter register $1.00 per hour until the magic sum of $4.00 is inserted, at which time it flips to 10 hours? Is the rate really 40¢ per hour? Is this some sort of Parking Dept. mystery math and I should be submitting this photo to

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Preschool for Kidlo

My son is 18-months-old and we're realizing that it's time for us to start looking into preschools. I know there are a lot of preschools downtown--apparently they serve the government workers at City Hall and the Federal Building--but I have no idea which are the good ones or how to choose a preschool. Any suggestions? I'd love to hear about your experiences with downtown preschools, good or bad. We are also open to sending Kidlo to preschools outside of downtown, so if you know of a fabulous school in, say, Elysian Park, let us know.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

About the weather

When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won.

Who says we don't have weather in Southern California?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recession Sale, Los Angeles, October 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby Boogaloo in Chinatown this Saturday

For more information, go to the Baby Boogaloo MySpace page

Update:I just learned that The Artform on Figueroa sponsors Baby Get Down every second Saturday of the month. It features music, dancing and art, and the November event will also feature a children's clothing trunk show. Wow, who knew that Chinatown had so many family events?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fire at teh Broadway Trade Center! (Yesterday, yes I am a lazy poster)

I could smell the smoke on Seventh and Spring. I suppose I should have rushed on over to get dramatic shots of flames leaping from windows, etc, but I wanted to get to the bank before it closed. Journalistic instinct? I has none.

By the time I got there, everyone was all set up and the really dramatic stuff was all over. The focus seemed to be on the building next to the one with the mall, which is styled to look like the same building, and maybe it is the same building, as the strobes and klaxon were running full blast on both sides.

The clean-up crew going in with shovels and what looked like giant squeegies.

Of course, Los Angeles has an unusually good-looking and photogenic fire department. Why would one expect anything else?

Not everyone felt the need to evacuate.

Triangle Shirtwaist? What is that?

Of course, business as usual inside the BTC during the "emergency".

Meanwhile, on Broadway right in front of the aforementioned Shoppers Paradise, a movie crew was taking advantage of our beautiful traffic congestion and the evening's lovely gloom.

For all Downtown's a stage, and we are merely extras...

Update: Those timely kids over at Angelenic reported (on the actual day that it happened!) that the fire started on the ninth floor, and involved three floors total. Woot!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gangsta! Gangsta! As seen on Spring st...

Seen today on Spring and Seventh:

Yo, yo, that Gangsta lifestyle is coming soon to your Xbox 360! Now anyone can enjoy a true and gritty urban experience from the comfort of their suburban den, Rumpus room, or parents basement. Grillz! Guns! Do-rags and hot chicks with rifles and cell phones! It's all about gang lifestyle!

BTW did I mention that 740 club got a paint job?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flu shots are in!

The Flu shots are in! Hooray! Get it, get it before you get the flu!

My doctor wouldn't give me a flu shot today, because I have the flu.

He said I would have to wait until I feel better. Hooray!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pumpkin Party in Grand Hope Park

Just wanted to get the word out again about the Halloween party in Grand Hope Park. It's taking place on Friday 10/31 from 6 to 9 pm and will feature a kiddie fashion show (with costumes designed by FIDM students), a pumpkin carving contest and food and games for kids. The party is free--just RSVP at Kidlo and I will be participating in the fashion show, so see you then!

Foreclosure Alley

Not related to downtown, but had to share this anyway: KCET did a story on the foreclosure crisis in the Inland Empire. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good Eats, Good Cause

Alex Stattinski of the Downtown Center BID asked me to get the word out about the Public Safety Appreciation Barbecue, taking place on Friday at 7+FIG @ Ernst & Young Plaza from 11 am to 2 pm. $7 gets you Morton's Prime Rib Sandwiches and California Pizza Kitchen pastas & salads (unless you're a public service employee, in which case your meal is free!). Proceeds go to the Los Angeles Firemen's Relief Association. Bring your appetite and thank the folks in blue for keeping us safe.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Green Arrow of DOOM!!

I wish I got a photo of this, but It was unexpected.

Yesterday eve, (5:53PM, yah I noted the time) my lovely wife and I were driving east on Washington, in the left-turn-only lane at Broadway... You know those "train coming" signs that light up to warn you not to cross the tracks when the Metro is coming? Well, the metro was coming, and not only did the warning light NOT light, but the left arrow came on directing me to turn left right into the oncoming train!

I suppose the light was green on Hill street, as the train pulled a panic stop which left it's ass end hanging out on to Broadway. There was also an eastbound, but it looked stopped a couple blocks down.

So, do these failures happen often? Anyone else been directed to their doom by a friendly green arrow recently? How about we junk the automatic lights in favor of one big permanently lit sign saying (in four languages) LOOK OUT FOR TRAINS!!!1!!

UPDATE: This was about 3/4 of a mile from where a Metro train hit a bus back on Sept. 19, less than two weeks earlier. No published reports (that google turned up in two minutes of searching) reported the cause, but I have to wonder if the bus was victim of the same... Green arrow of DOOM!!1!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Park[ing] day and other adventures

Took Kidlo to the Park[ing] parks. CRA/LA had a very nice park in front of the Popular Center on 4th. (Update: It's not CRA's, no ma'am, we know nothing of this park (wink))

The Downtown Neighborhood Council Park took over all of Winston, but included it's own parking spaces on the (fake) grass.

The Melendrez Park was an oases of green and shade in a sea of Downtown TV Filming. The young lady serving as Park Host (I didn't catch your name, sorry!) told me the TV peeps had been "very good about it."

The Torti Gallas park was... For Sale?

I tried to get to the EDOW Park on fifth, but the street was pretty much blocked off by a Bank Robbery being held at the Citi on Fifth and Flower.

When I got there, the Boys were lining up to go break up the party...

Ready, set...

Here we go!

Everybodies in. At this point, I decided it was time to go.

Taking a break from blogging

I'm starting a writing class on Tuesday, so I'll be taking a blogging break for a while. There will be occasional posts and MB will also being weighing in, but it won't be the 2-3 times a week thing I've had going since May. If anyone wants to get in touch, there's a contact button on the sidebar of the blog.

Take care and be back in December.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No. Just, no.

I can understand that a gallery needs to maximize its income stream, but is Rouge Galerie really that desperate? These girls are appalled.

(Note to gallery owners: time to update your site).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The most succinct summary of the financial crisis I've seen

From the London Times:

The collapse is bad news and has intensified the credit crunch. Banks are more fearful about lending to one another or to customers. They are hoarding cash. Movements in the wholesale money markets yesterday showed conditions dramatically worsening. It will be harder to get a loan, credit card or mortgage. Debt will cost more. Businesses will find it harder to borrow. Lack of credit and diving house prices are slowing consumer spending. That hits sales, sours business confidence and leads to job losses and wage freezes. Economists predicting a mild recession might now have to brace themselves for something darker.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Black Monday

As you know, Wall Street is going to hell. How will this affect Downtown LA? Let's hear a quote from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (via the NY Times):

Mr. Paulson, whose performance has been impressive this year, made it clear that it would take a while — years, in fact — to get over the current housing and mortgage mess.
“I believe there is a reasonable chance that the biggest part of that housing crisis can be behind us in a number of months. I’m not saying two or three months, but in months as opposed to years. I think we will have housing issues and mortgage issues for years.”

Yikes. And that's just the housing market. There's also all the financial services people who work Downtown and are facing layoffs. And tight credit will keep small businesses from getting loans to open stores downtown.

It's ugly and it's going to get uglier.

Update: Washington Mutual's bond rating has been lowered to junk. It's widely believed that WaMu is going to fail this week or next. They are a huge player in the California real estate market.

Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Inside the Stock Exchange

I snapped this through a hole in the plywood that covers one of the windows of the Stock Exchange. This will soon be home to Versus. Let's hope they don't paint over those elevator doors the way they did the front doors.

Update: My darling husband just told me that this isn't the Stock Exchange interior but the lobby of the soon-to-open SB Tower.

<Emily Litella>Never mind</Emily Litella>

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Downtown Scootin'

I've been seeing a lot of scooters downtown recently.

And why not? They are easy to park.

/not paying $175 for monthly parking.

$4.00 gas is less painful when you are getting 70 to 120 MPG.

or perhaps half a cent's worth of electricity a day.

My I suggest (as strongly as I can) that scooterists wear a motorcycle helmet when riding?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The other families Downtown

The Downtown News has a story this week on a program to bring toys and books to children at the Huntington Hotel at 752 S. Main Street.

The little-known program, which has 43 outposts throughout the county, invites children to borrow a toy and return it a week later. If the child returns the toy in good condition, they can get a new toy. Marcia Blachman-Benitez, director of the department's toy loan and volunteer services sections, describes the program as a toy library.

If the child returns a toy five consecutive times, he or she is rewarded with a new toy they get to keep, she said.


At the Huntington, Crockett, who runs the program with the nonprofit Pasadena Altadena Community Youth Association, has tinkered slightly with the county's toy loan model by combining it with a fledgling reading program.

Children who participate earn points by reading and writing short essays about their book. Once they've amassed enough points, they become eligible to sign out a toy from the loan program, he said.

It turns out there are about 20 families living at the hotel, and that many of the hotels and shelters on Skid Row house children. It's heartbreaking to think of kids living under those conditions.

Ron Crockett, who runs the program at the Huntington, is looking for book donations, as well as volunteers to read to the children. The hotel's library only consists of 50 old and worn books.

A friend of mine works for a publisher and her employer is going to donate some books to the program. I'm starting a writing class in two weeks so I don't think I can swing volunteering right now, but I'm hoping I can do that next spring.

If you're interested in donating books and toys or your time to this program, contact Marcia Blachman-Benitez, Director of the Toy Loan program, at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Small world

I just found out that one of my coworkers is Gary Leonard's brother. MB and I bought two of Gary's photos last week. A small coincidence but it pleases me very much.

Who are these people?

I've been seeing them all over downtown.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tourist trap?

I've been seeing a lot of European tourists in the neighborhood. Just this morning, I stopped to talk to a couple who were standing in front of the Cecil and pouring over a Metro map. I asked them if I could help and they said (in halting English), "We want to go to Venice Beach." Urgh. I directed them to the stop for the Rapid bus, but wowee, I hope they get there and back in one piece.

I love Downtown, but it's really not a good idea for obviously lost tourists flashing cameras to be wandering around near skid row. I'm thinking that the BID should be doing something to help these tourists have a good and safe stay. There's no point in getting tourists to visit only to have them go home and tell people horror stories about their stay.

Update: MB did a little googling and apparently the Europeans like the Cecil because it's cheap, clean and it's near public transportation. Ah! Now I get it. I still think a little more guidance from the BID is in order, but it makes sense that if you want to see LA without a car, Downtown is the place to be.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seven Grand vs. Broadway Bar

MB and I went to check out Seven Grand last night and we were pretty underwhelmed. The space is nice and dark (I hate how LA bars tend to be overlit), but it didn't have any comfortable seating. The main space is dominated by two pool tables and there aren't any comfy couches or booths to sit in. The only thing I liked about it was the balcony space, because it felt like a bar out of Blade Runner.

We decided to skip out of Seven Grand and check out the Golden Gopher...except they don't have a happy hour. Whoops! So we wound up at Broadway Bar instead. Good choice. The bar is big, the bar stools are comfy and the bartender was chatty and had an encyclopedic knowledge of booze.

MB had a dirty martini, a gin martini and a bourbon, I had two lemon drops (I was in the mood for a sweet drink). The music was pretty good, lots of early punk with some newer stuff tossed in the mix. It's great to have so many options in walking distance. I think next week we'll try Elevate or Origami.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More photos of Hayward rescue

Here are some great photos taken by Hatchetgirl of Monday's rescue of a suicidal resident at the Hayward.

Check out the whole set on Flickr.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Downtown BID wants to hear from families

MB and Kidlo were stopped on the street today by Justin Weiss, Assistant Director of Economic Development for the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. Weiss says that he'd like to hear from families living downtown. I think he's seeing it primarily as a way to get families to promote the neighborhood, but it's also a great chance for families to become more visible and make our needs known to the business community.

That reminds me: when I first moved Downtown I saw drug dealing going on in front of the Alexandria. I called the police and got a polite response but the dealing didn't stop. Then I called the BID. The drug dealers were gone within the week. Lesson learned. If you want something done, go to the people who have the money.

I'll post an update once I speak with Weiss. If you'd like to contact him, you can reach him at

Monday, September 1, 2008

Breaking news

From MB: At 6:45 pm, there are a dozen police cars and four or five fire trucks in front of the Hayward. Apparently one of the residents is threatening to jump. Captain Jodie Wakefield is there in a white t-shirt and khakis, rushing around and looking very concerned. I hope this gets resolved without anyone getting hurt.

Update: Bustard tells us that the police were able to get the women man to safety (thanks to Hatchetgirl for the correction). Apparently he was despondent over the death of his companion 18 months ago. Very sad, but I'm glad that the police were able to talk him down.

More on families downtown

MB, Kidlo and I were having breakfast at the little Mexican place on Spring between 6th and 7th when we met another family with a two-year-old daughter. Turns out they are moving into our building next week--that makes three families in our building. Very exciting! The dad is an architect who is moving from 725 S. Spring Street. He told us it's a classic artist's building--people welding in their lofts at 3 am, all night parties, screaming and carrying on in the alley behind the building. Fun for a single but a bit too much for someone with a young kid so he's moving to our relatively sedate building. The dad had lots of ideas for creating a play space in our building's basement, which is huge and mostly unused except for the exercise area. I think it's a great idea and I'm going to ask the building management if they'll let us take over a small piece of real estate.

Meanwhile, I found out there's another Downtown family group. They meet regularly for playdates in Grand Hope Park, which is wonderful. I can't wait to meet up with them. Their site also features a map of kid-friendly destinations near Downtown.

View Larger Map

It's exciting to be a part of a community that's growing right in front of my eyes.

The Evolution of Spring Street

There are a lot of changes happening in my little slice of Downtown. The Hayward Hotel is completing a revamping of its facade in anticipation of new tenants, including a yogurt shop (groan...), a clothing store and a 2,000-sf market (yay!!). Across the street, a nightclub will be opening at the Stock Exchange Building (though a lot of people aren't happy about the news). There's the revamped Charley O's and another nightclub opening in the Spring Arts Tower. And there are at least four buildings that will open up for residency in the next year. On my corner alone we're looking at 200 new units.

I really think that Spring Street has the biggest potential to become the heart of the "new" Historic Core--much more so than Broadway. Broadway as it is now is a success--not for the folks who are moving into the lofts, but for the people who come in from the Eastside (the real Eastside) to shop. Broadway is packed every weekend and it has some of the highest retail rents in Los Angeles--almost as high as Beverly Hills! It's obviously profitable for the building owners as-is, so what incentive do they have to upgrade the retail space to accommodate more upscale stores?

In contrast, Spring Street has gorgeous buildings that are rapidly filling with residents and many empty storefronts that can be upgraded without displacing any tenants. It's also lined with ficus trees (which Bert Green and I both like), making it very inviting for pedestrians, even in the heat of the summer.

I like the idea of two Downtown shopping districts coexisting side-by-side. I can shop at the stores on Broadway when I need inexpensive things for the house, but still have my iced coffee at LA Cafe. It's hard for people in LA to imagine having two wildly different shopping areas existing thisclose together, but if you've ever been to NYC, you know it can work.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good weekend

MB spent Saturday and Sunday at his house in Lancaster so it was just me and Kidlo this weekend. On Saturday we had breakfast at the Nickle Diner, the new place on Main between 5th and 6th. The space is beautifully decorated with red leather booths and tiled floors, and the staff were super nice and falling over themselves to be of service.

They didn't have a high chair for Kidlo but co-owner Kristen assured me they'd have high chairs by next weekend. Good thing too since I saw two other families in the restaurant while we were there. Kristen and I chatted a bit and she said that she was glad to open the restaurant on a stretch of Main that in the past had been a bit intimidating for women to walk down alone (more on that later). She also claimed that the menu items were chosen with women in mind, though I'm sure that even the most macho guys would enjoy eating here. I had the baked eggs with polenta and sourdough toast--so good that I came back on Sunday when I ordered the even-better scramble with goat cheese, spinach and bacon with homemade salsa.

I was happy when I found out the Nickle was opening because as Kristen said, that stretch of Main has always felt a bit intimidating to me, mostly because residents of the Hotel Leonidas hang out in front. But I'm thinking that perception may not have had much to do with reality. After eating breakfast, Kidlo and I walked past the Leonidas and were greeted very politely by the men standing in front. One guy even said, "That looks like a happy baby!" Same thing on Sunday when I went back. It was a nice reminder that most of the people who live in the residential hotels are just neighbors (though I'll admit it's pretty f-d up that I needed reminding at all).

After eating at the Nickel on Saturday, Kidlo and I walked to Olvera Street. The walk was very nice--I enjoyed looking at all the beautiful Art Deco (I think) government buildings. Olvera Street is very touristy but it's a nice place to take kids. Kidlo had a great time toddling past the vendors and through the oldest house in Los Angeles. I'm really happy that there are so many kid-friendly destinations that I can get to without a car.

Jesus on the wall of the Oldest House in LA

Sunday Kidlo and I hung out by the pool. Not surprisingly, it was pretty crowded and everyone looked surprised to see a baby in the water. It's funny how most loft dwellers think of Downtown as being a kid-free zone. (FYI, the baby population of my building increased by one this week.) The pool was great--no chicken floating in it or anything.