Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tyler Cowen on Walking in Los Angeles

Unlike when he discusses macroeconomic policy, Tyler Cowen is pretty good when he discusses esoteric topics. He writes:

In defense of Los Angeles as a superb walking city
I am shocked that so many people in the comments, and on Twitter, scoffed at this notion which I put forward the other day.
First, in Los Angeles the weather is almost always very good for walking.  That is a big plus, to say the least.  It is not just that the average quality of experience is high, but you can make advance plans to be walking and arrange your life accordingly.
To be concrete, here are a few of the many splendid walks in the greater Los Angeles area: Almost anywhere in mid-Wilshire, downtown Santa Monica, Melrose, central Westwood, Beverly Hills, a blossoming Downtown (just don’t jaywalk), Pasadena and Glendale, most residential parts of Hollywood, almost any beach locale (and there are many), and even (limited) parts of Sunset.  How many cities have great walks where you can be on the beach and/or see the mountains?  Or where you can stop for first-rate ethnic food almost anywhere?
I will grant that Santa Monica Boulevard is not ideal for walking on many of its parts, nor is all of Culver City.  Is Manhattan’s Park Ave. always so fascinating?
My personal favorite walk is to start somewhere such as Olympic and walk up Vermont, exploring side streets along the way and stopping for Asian food or pupusas.  My two favorites car drives are Sunset and then Griffith Park all the way down to the bottom of Western, or vice versa, stopping for Belizean food along the way.
Overall Cowen has Los Angeles ranked as an underrated walking city. I would agree. I am a big walker. I once walked straight up Wilshire Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It was some time ago, so I forget exactly how long it took me, but it was certainly 3 hours plus. I passed through all kinds of neat neighborhoods that you barely notice in a car. There's a Mexican neighborhood, drug dealers at MacArthur Park and a neighborhood that is full of Korean pastry shops (Who knew Koreans were such great pastry makers?). Then there's Museum Row on the Miracle Mile and the tar pits.

1 comment:

  1. "I am a big walker...I passed through all kinds of neat neighborhoods that you barely notice in a car."

    Years ago, I took a couple of bicycle trips in the Midwest and through Colorado, and I was always amazed at the nuances one can pick up about certain areas when traveling using slower modes of transport. Airplanes are obviously the quickest form of transport and, thus, the traveler picks up the fewest details of the area they are traveling through (or over!). The ability to absorb the experience of being somewhere is enhanced every time one regresses to a slower form of transportation. Standing in place is, of course, the ultimate expression of this principle, and doing so allows the experience of moving through time, instead of space.