Downtown LA PreCOVID: My Last West Coast Assignment



My last trip to Los Angeles was January 2020. There were a few people in the airport wearing face masks, but most of us were blissfully ignorant of the global pandemic that would change our way of life and force us to rethink how we live and move in cities. Now we know better and we've learned to navigate public spaces differently and appreciate them even more.


Enter downtown LA. I heard it was on the cusp of something amazing and I had to see for myself.


But when I arrived at our downtown hotel, as far as I could see, there wasn't much activity at all. No main street, art gallery, shops and certainly no people walking. So I did what any urban tourist would do and I asked the concierge at the hotel front desk for recommendations. Although the suggestions weren't overwhelmingly exciting I chose the closest (and safest) one within walking distance.


Remember the 80s song "walking in LA, walking in LA...nobody walks in LA?" Well I couldn't get it out of my head. I was the ONLY pedestrian. But I persisted.



DTL ROW (The Row)

I headed on a lonely and slightly sketchy walk to the Row or DTLA ROW. A former American Apparel manufacturing facility and the original LA terminal market, the Row are nine Beaux Art buildings on 30 acres perfectly renovated into this new commercial neighborhood and office district. It sits on the corner of an uninspiring wide road with not much to look at, but having walked 10 minutes out here, I decided to cross 7th and Almed