Union Station 75th anniversary merchandise now available in Metro store

The above three items can be all yours. Please visit the online Metro Store to peruse and/or purchase.

Reflections on Union Station: an essay by Alissa Walker

Dr. Pinch & the Pinchtones performance, part of the Metro Art Presents

Dr. Pinch & the Pinchtones performance, part of the Metro Presents series.

On the occasion of Union Station’s 75th anniversary, Metro created a special commemorative publication, Union Station: 75 Years in the Heart of LA, featuring eight written and five photographic essays that celebrate the station. This is the first in a series of eight posts with the full essays by authors John C. Arroyo, William D. Estrada, Stephen Fried, Rafer Guzman, David Kipen, Marisela Norte, D. J. Waldie, and Alissa Walker. The book is on sale now at the online Metro Store. All essays will also be posted on The Source in the coming weeks. The series was edited by Linda Theung, an editor and writer based in Los Angeles.

Union Station Today: Making Cultural Connections
by Alissa Walker

It is just after the flurry of rush hour, the last of the commuters’ footsteps echoing in the low-slung tunnel toward the final Metrolink train of the day. The sun has slipped behind the towers of downtown, the blanched stucco archways slowly assuming their hazy golden glow from the wrought iron lanterns above. The heavy cinnamon sugar that hangs in the air begins to dissipate as Wetzel’s Pretzels switches off its heat lamps for the evening. A swiftly darkening departures board shows only buses this time of night.

I’m sitting at Traxx Bar on this fall evening, drinking a glass of red wine, and taking in the parade of humanity. The men at the table next to me are loudly debating the merits of various downtown restaurants as they layer condiments on their burgers. Two young women scurry through the main hall, giggling and pointing dramatically at each other’s phones. A man trudges by wearing a red quilted vest, his backpack sagging with the heavy resignation of a long journey that’s nowhere near over.

He pauses right in front of me.

And begins singing.

Vibrato.

One of several performances of Invisible Cities. Courtesy of the author.

One of several performances of Invisible Cities. Courtesy of the author.

My fellow Traxx patrons are well versed in the pageantry of reality shows—they look around nervously for a camera. Instead, we see a crowd walking quickly from the waiting area—faster than commuters, yet without a commuter’s single-minded determination. It’s the singing man they’re looking for, and when they locate him, they gather quickly around him, pressing their hands to their ears, which are covered in large audio electronics.

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Union Station Tours – Art and Architecture

Metro Art tour descending Union Station stairs below the Richard Wyatt mural, City of Dreams, River of History

Metro Art tour descending Union Station stairs below the Richard Wyatt mural, City of Dreams, River of History

Special tours are offered this month in celebration of Union Station’s 75th anniversary. Led by trained Metro Art Docents, the tours cover historic Union Station architecture and spaces not generally open to the public, including the old ticket concourse and former “Fred Harvey” restaurant, which operated 1939-67. Additionally, the tours explore artworks located in the Gold Line Portal, East Portal, inside the Metro Gateway Headquarters Building, and new artworks in the passageway.

Tours are free, and reservations are not required. Meet at the information booth inside the Alameda Street entrance to historic Union Station.

Remaining tours:
Tuesdays: May 20 and 27, 5:30-7:30pm
Sunday: May 25, 10:30am-12:30pm

For more information visit metro.net/art and click on Art Tours or call 213.922.2738.

See art and architecture highlights below:

Union Station's iconic façade facing Alameda Street

Union Station’s iconic façade facing Alameda Street

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Clear view of ‘City of Angels:’ Union Station mural refreshed

Specialized Metro Art staff work on the mural from a temporary scaffolding above escalators to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Specialized Metro Art staff work on the mural from a temporary scaffolding above escalators in Union Station’s west portal to the Red/Purple Line to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Following a recent maintenance effort, the artwork LA: City of Angels, a mural by Los Angeles based artist Cynthia Carlson, has returned to its original heavenly splendor.

Located in Union Station West and facing the entrance to the Red/Purple Line, LA: City of Angels was installed in 1993 in the early years of the Metro Art program. To keep it looking bright and new, specialized Metro Art staff thoroughly cleaned the mural using wet and dry techniques.

“Metro’s art program is now in its 25th year and many of our artworks from the early years require cleaning, restoration and other maintenance,” explained Creative Services Manager Angelene Campuzano. “It’s gratifying to be able to maintain the integrity of the artwork that artists have so thoughtfully contributed to our system and make it look as vibrant as when it was first installed–in this case, 1993.”

Maintaining artwork in the heavily trafficked space of a rail station requires support from and close coordination with Metro departments. “Metro Wayside Facilities staff have been incredibly supportive to our program and our efforts to maintain the aesthetics of the transit environment for our customers,” Campuzano added.

Some before and after views of the mural are below:

Before cleaning, detail.

Before cleaning, detail. The 40 foot long mural by Cynthia Carlson is located in Union Station’s West portal to the Red/Purple Line.

After cleaning, detail.

After cleaning, detail. The mural surface, painted aluminum honeycomb panels, was thoroughly cleaned using wet and dry techniques.

LA: City of Angels before maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels before maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels after maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels after maintenance work. The project also included full replacement of all overhead entrance lighting.

The week that was: more photos and video from Union Station’s big birthday party

Photos by Peter Atkinson and Joshua Southwick/Metro

We’re still sorting through photos and videos shot at Saturday’s celebration for Union Station’s 75th anniversary. Above is the last wave of photos and below are a pair of videos made by Metro staffers.

RELATED: 

Union Station turns 75: the video

More photos from Union Station’s 75th anniversary celebration

First wave of photos from Union Station’s birthday party

Video of Union Station’s big party: the dignitaries speak

Cool, new information tower debuts at Union Station

Union Station: forget private planes, private rail cars is the way to go

In the dead of the night, Union Station a popular location for music videos

Union Station: a star on big screen and small screen

Metro and The Academy release only known film of Union Station’s grand opening

Our first podcast: filming at Union Station over the years

Metro Motion celebrates beautiful Union Station’s 75th anniversary

Union Station: a grand opening

Union Station’s 75th: Seymour Rosen celebrates the opening

How Harvey House restaurants changed the West

Union Station: a man worthy of respect

Union Station: a star of big screen and small

Our first podcast: filming over the years at Union Station

Metro Board considers Union Station Master Plan that would add new concourse and relocate bus plaza 

Metro commissioned artist Gary Leonard featured in reception tonight

Charles Phoenix photographed by Gary Leonard.  This photograph is apart of the artist's "Community of Angels" exhibit on view at the Vermont/Beverly Blvd Station on the Red Line as part of Metro Art's Photo Lightbox series.

Charles Phoenix photographed by Gary Leonard. This photograph is a part of the artist’s “Community of Angels” exhibit on view at the Vermont/Beverly Station on the Red Line as part of the Metro Art Photo Lightbox series.

Metro is very excited for artist Gary Leonard’s solo show “Angels on Main Street” at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles. There is an artist reception tonight with live jazz from 6 to 8 p.m.  at The Fine Arts Building (811 West 7th Street), which is conveniently located one block from the 7th St/Metro Center Station (Metro Red, Purple or Blue Lines). The exhibit will be in place through June 8th.

Leonard has photographed portraits of a cross-section of Angelenos in front of wings created by artist Collete Miller on a roll down gate on Main Street. The wings signify the goodness that each of us has to contribute to Los Angeles. The Angelenos that Leonard captured in his photographs include pop culture maven Charles Phoenix, Historic Downtown Los Angeles BID Executive Director Blair Besten, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Traffic Officer Montenegro, journalist Patt Morrison, former City Council member Bill Rosendahl and chef and author Paul Greenstein.

Some of Leonard’s 17 photographs on view at the Fine Arts Building are featured as part of his Metro-commissioned work, “Community of Angels,” at the Metro Red Line Vermont / Beverly Blvd Station. For more information on Leonard’s Metro Art Photo Lightbox exhibition, “Community of Angels”, please click here.

 

Metro Service Council meetings for May begin Wednesday

This month’s slate of Service Council meetings kicks off tomorrow evening (Wednesday, May 7) in Van Nuys with the San Fernando Valley Council’s meeting. Please note that changes may be made to meeting agendas, including potential new topics, prior to meeting dates. For the latest Service Council meeting agendas check the agenda listings web page at metro.net.

All May Council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer, providing monthly and year-to-date statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. Other topics for Service Council meetings this month include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 5/7) – Update on the Bus Stop Usability Study; Update on Orange Line Fare Enforcement.

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 5/8) – Update on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project; Report on Electronic Messaging of Transit Information.

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 5/9) – Update on the Redondo Beach Station Refurbishment; Update on Bus Stop Changes associated with Crenshaw Rail Construction.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 5/12) – Update on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project; Report on El Monte Busway Construction Project.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 5/14) – Update on Bus Stop Changes associated with Crenshaw Rail Construction; Presentation on Metro’s Construction Notification Process.

For a listing of the dates, times and locations of all five Service Council meetings, click here. For more information about each service council, click on the name of the service council listed above.

All service councils welcome and encourage public participation. If you would like to comment at any of the meetings, please fill out a speaker card when you arrive, noting the specific item you are there to address.  General comments on issues that aren’t on the agenda are taken as a part of the “public comment” section of the agenda.

If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to servicecouncils@metro.net.  If your comments are for a specific council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing.