Monday, July 24, 2017

Neon Tour of Los Angeles

Neon in Chinatown, L.A.

On Saturday night, Larry and I boarded the double-decker bus with docents from the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in downtown Los Angeles for a tour of some historic neon lights in the City of Los Angeles. We knew a few people on the tour as well as our tour guides, Eric and Celeste. 
Larry with Celeste Hong and Eric Evavold of MONA at the entrance to Y.C. Hong's Law Office

It wasn't quite sundown at 7:15 when we arrived in Chinatown. The neon outlining the fanciful architecture of this area is quite wonderful at night. We were in Chinatown for a rare viewing of Y.C. Hong's law offices. Celeste is the granddaughter of Mr. Hong and arranged for us to see his pristine 1938 offices in the center of Chinatown. 
Y.C. Hong was the first Chinese-American attorney in Los Angeles. He also played a major role in the development of "new" Chinatown when the original Chinatown was displaced by the construction of Union Station in the late 1930s. You can read about this amazing man HERE. We were not allowed to take photos inside his second floor law office, but it was a perfect example of art deco and moderne office design with a Chinese aesthetic. Thank you, Celeste for arranging this historic visit as part of our tour!
Restored neon at the Hotel Californian

For the remainder of the excursion, our tour guide, Eric told us stories of 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s Los Angeles with regard to its architecture and neon signage. 
Hotel Normandie, home of the resurrected Cassell's Burgers

We traveled through the Westlake section of town, past MacArthur Park to Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire and more. 
Park Wilshire Apartments

Iconic Bullock's Wilshire Department Store
Wiltern Theater

We stopped at the former Windsor Restaurant (now The Park), next door to what was The Ambassador Hotel. The decor of this place is frozen in time. LOVE that red-flocked wallpaper! Some of us had a cocktail and surveyed the interior before boarding the bus back toward downtown.
Interior of The Park Restaurant, formerly The Windsor

Here are a few more of the beautiful signs that we saw, ending up in the theater district, riding down Broadway.

Oh yeah, THAT sign!

Mayan Theater

Nice to see that this store maintains this gorgeous neon marquee

The best part about this neon cruise was sitting in the top of that convertible double-decker bus, viewing Los Angeles from this vantage point.
Here's a cool video of our bus riding through the Second Street tunnel!

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At 6:44 PM PDT, Blogger count reeshard said...

As good an appreciation of L.A.'s trove of surviving neon as one could expect from my favorite local blogger. You & Larry have ALL the fun. Your post is timely in my world as I just saw a repeated episode of 'California's Gold' about MONA, with a great slideshow including a spectacular corner neon in my new San Gabriel neighborhood — the Bun'n'Burger — which is great, except they rarely turn it on. (Crumbs!) The tunnel video was the icing on the cake. Thanks, Ellen!

At 9:51 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks so much, Richard! I'm flattered that you like my post!


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