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Last day in Los Angeles City Hall (May 20th 2019)

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Le Los Angeles City Hall.

Our goal for the day: LA City Hall! Sadly, this is our last day in the wonderful city of Los Angeles, but more broadly in the USA. We wake up at 7:00 am. Time for a shower and we’re off downtown to a place we really wanted to visit: The Original Pantry Cafe at 877 South Figueroa Street.

The Original Pantry Cafe

This restaurant has been open since 1924, and has never closed since. Today, it’s owned by former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, and many celebrities have dined here. I’ll read later this morning that this restaurant is often mentioned in Michael Connelly ‘s “Harry Bosch” series of novels, which I really enjoy. The restaurant isn’t exactly next door to the residence where we’re staying, and we have to walk a long way to get there. No matter, we pass a good number of people on their way to the office to start the day’s work.

We arrive at the restaurant at around 8 a.m. The welcome isn’t very warm, but it’s efficient. The waiters all wear crisp white shirts, aprons and black bow ties, giving the restaurant a distinguished air. We are seated at a table of four, as is often the case here. All around us, we notice the many empty tables on which customers have left their plates, still full, behind: what a waste!

A generous breakfast!

We order our menus: pancakes, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and sausages (in steak form) for Sarah; pancakes, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, bacon and a coffee for me. Shortly after ordering, we were served three plates for Sarah and three for me. Efficiency is definitely the watchword in this establishment. And the quantities are indeed astronomical. But it’s so good! I won’t finish my last pancake myself, and Sarah will leave behind a pancake and a few potatoes. What a shame.

As much as we felt the lack of warmth when we arrived, we weren’t led to the exit when we started to stall, despite fast service and waiters always ready to refill our cup of coffee. Nevertheless, we don’t intend to drag our feet too long to make the most of our last day. Besides, the sun is shining, and it’s good to see it again. We pay and leave, a little embarrassed to leave a piece of our meal behind.

Towards Los Angeles City Hall

We set off in the opposite direction, heading for City Hall, just a few minutes away. This is our next destination. Los Angeles City Hall, whose top architecture is based on one of the Seven Wonders of the World (the MMausoleum at Halicarnassus), stood 138 meters high in 1928. It remained the city’s tallest building until 1967. Between 1998 and 2001, the building underwent not only renovation, but also work to enable it to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 8.1.

Meet L.A.’s budget manager?

City Hall has its offices here. The skyscraper is big and beautiful, and we have to go through a checkpoint to get inside, which we do. I ask the guard if he sees many tourists, and he replies with a broad smile, ” Oh yeah! We’re given a nicevisitor’s badge in LAPD colors. We stick it on our chests before taking the first elevator, which takes us to the 22ᵉ floor.

In the elevator, two men enter alongside us. The first stops at 22ᵉ and enters office 2225 without knocking. The etiquette of said office tells me that it belongs to the Los Angeles budget officer (“Mayor’s Office of Budget & Innovation, Miguel Salumbides Sangalang, Deputy Mayor”), so maybe it’s him. On this floor, we take another elevator, this time to 26ᵉ.

Portraits at City Hall

Here, portraits of Los Angeles mayors are displayed, along with their dates of office and major contributions. For a Los Angeles aficionado like me, this is a real treat. I take the time to read a number of them, and one in particular catches my eye. It’s about Tom Bradley, who was mayor for 20 years. Among other things, he was responsible for developing Los Angeles’ trade with the rest of the United States. I know why his name speaks to me: the terminal in which we’ll soon be meeting at the airport bears his name.

Mayor Tom Bradley’s room

We then take the stairs up to the upper floor, the center of which is marked ” Mayor Tom Bradley Room “. We’re now on the 27th floor, accessing the public observatory. Inside, it’s a solemn room with only a parlor and the flags of the United States and California.

Two doors lead to the outside. After a few photos in which I stand behind the parlor, as many tourists do (I can’t resist taking such a photo home with me), we step outside to admire the view over the whole city.

360° view from City Hall

The terrace runs around the skyscraper. Little signs explain the names of the buildings we see. Perfect! We spend a good while here before heading back downstairs, where portraits of the various mayors await us.

We’re lucky enough to be alone on this tour, so I can take the time to continue reading the description below each painting. After another long moment, we finally make our way downstairs, knowing full well that this was our last visit here. Outside, we pass a number of iconic buildings and take our last photos.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall with its fascinating lines, the view of the various buildings with, in the foreground, the palm trees on the sidewalks, a shot of Los Angeles City Hall in its entirety, another highlighting the green signs indicating “South” and “North” directions, the building housing the Los Angeles Times, a shot of the various flags flying in Grand Park at the “Historic Flag Courtyard”, an impeccably maintained children’s playground.

And off we go…

We finally head back to the apartment after this brief visit to downtown Los Angeles. We’ve already taken our 10,000 steps for the day, and now all we have to do is return the car to the rental company (Avis) and catch a shuttle to our terminal (B, Tom Bradley) at the airport. And the waiting can begin. It’s barely 2pm, I’m writing my blog entry and waiting for our flight, which won’t be until… 7pm.