Chat with the volunteers at the Union Station information booth

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Many of you are probably familiar with the Metro Customer Center at Union Station’s East Portal, but did you know there’s also an information booth at the other end of the station? The info booth, located just outside the old ticketing concourse, is part of the original Union Station and is staffed by 14 L.A. Tourism and Convention Board volunteers. The booth is staffed 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is a great resource for everyone visiting Union Station.

The volunteers play a vital role for those who pass through Union Station. They help up to 5,000 people a month, whether it’s navigating the station and the rest of the city, or just recommending things to do in L.A. The volunteers go through orientation and training, but many of them have lived in L.A. for years and already have extensive knowledge of the city.

Info booth volunteer Don Young chats with passerby. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

Info booth volunteer Don Young chats with passerby. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

One volunteer, Don Young, has been working at Union Station since 1996, which means he’s seen and heard a lot at this historic site. Ten years ago he was lucky enough to meet one of the Harvey Girls who had worked at L.A. Union Station’s Harvey House Restaurant. She showed him the old dormitory adjacent to the restaurant – an area not open to the general public and most people don’t even know exist!

Young also remembers visiting Union Station when he was much, much younger. The biggest impression it made on him was that the waiting area was integrated – not the case at the time in his hometown, Oklahoma City.

According to Young, the three most asked questions at the info booth are 1. Where is the restroom? 2. How do you get to Olvera Street? and 3. Is there a McDonald’s here? Which means there should really be a McDonald’s at Union Station!

Young is clearly dedicated to helping all who drop by the info booth, often stepping out of the booth to walk travelers around the station if they seem especially lost. He works shifts Wednesday through Sunday and welcomes anyone who’d like to drop by and learn more about Union Station.

Info booth volunteer Mark Ferem helps some travelers find their way. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

Info booth volunteer Mark Ferem helps some travelers find their way. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

Another volunteer, Mark Ferem, previously worked at the Downtown BID and knows plenty of interesting factoids about Los Angeles. “I love L.A. I was born and raised here, I’m an L.A. native!”

Ferem loves sharing his knowledge with others and helping them maximize their time when visiting L.A. so they can love the city as he does, and those that he’s helped clearly appreciate him – many make it a point to visit the info booth a second time just to thank him for his assistance. For Ferem, the reward is in seeing visitors embrace and enjoy their journey.

Ferem has met and helped numerous tourists visiting L.A., and recently he’s seen an uptick in locals coming to explore Union Station and rediscover the city via Metro. “It’s so great to see Union Station become a destination, and people are so excited to take transit.” Ferem volunteers at the booth on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, so if you see him around, don’t be shy and say hi!

City officials celebrate Blue Line Farmers’ Market at ribbon cutting event

Photos courtesy of City of Compton

The official ribbon cutting of the Blue Line Farmers’ Market took place this past Wednesday. Major Aja Brown and Compton City Council are fighting back and providing the City of Compton with fresh fruits and vegetables to combat the city’s designation as a ‘Food Desert.’

According to the USDA, the City of Compton meets the criteria of a ‘Food Desert’ because more than 15% of its residents are 1 ½ mile or more from a grocery store. The city’s new Blue Line Farmers’ Market was developed by the Mayor and City Council, in partnership with Metro, to allow residents and riders access to healthy, organic fruits and vegetables.

“The Blue Line Farmers’ Market will not only provide healthy food options for residents of the Compton community, but the market will be accessible to the over 90,000 daily Metro Blue Line riders…” states Mayor Brown.

The Blue Line Farmers’ Market takes place every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. To get there, take the Blue Line to Compton Station or Metro Bus 202 to Willowbrook/Compton. For more routes and connections, use Trip Planner. Go Metro and save 10% on your purchase. Just show your valid TAP card to any market vendor to receive the discount!

 

Let’s do liquid lunch … near Metro

Dr. J juice drink. Photo from Dr. J's official Facebook

Dr. J’s juice drink. Photo from Dr. J’s official Facebook page

It’s fashion week in New York and even if you’re not interested in finding out what the hot color combos are this season, you really should take pride in the fact that New York is once again copying L.A. style.

The hot trend at fashion week this year isn’t skirt lengths. It’s liquid lunch juice concoctions that serve the dual purpose of filling fasting fashionistas (so glad we don’t have to say that out loud) and helping them stay slim and, well, cleansed. It is, at least, better than smoking.

In New York, models in sky-high heels are trotting around town in search of the latest in juice concoctions and the chosen color is green. Marie Claire – a fashion and style magazine — has even hired a truck to show up outside popular runway events. But juicing is nothing new in California. Jamba Juice and Robeks started here decades ago. And every day we find new juice joints — and new combos — near Metro stations and stops.

In downtown L.A., juice joints abound. A quick walk from the Red and Purple Line Pershing Square Station (unless you’re in heels) is a place called Dr. J’s (334 S. Main St.) that serves a variety of juice blends in fashionable jars. Among them is the Skin Beautifier of apple, carrot, celery, cucumber, the Immunity Builder of banana, cabbage, carrot, dandelion greens and the Green Energizer, which is avocado, banana, baby bok choy and baby spinach. Drinks run between $7 and $8.50.

But do juice drinks have to be green to be good for us? Can a pink juice be healthy and delicious? Do Ben & Jerry’s smoothies count? You tell us.

Ben & Jerry's smoothies. Photo by Anna Chen

Ben & Jerry’s smoothies. Photo by Anna Chen

A few other juice suggestions along Metro:

Liquid Juice Bar on Melrose, a block west of Crescent Heights (Metro Local Line 10)

Pressed Juicery on Ventura in Studio City, between Coldwater and Valley Vista Blvd. (Metro Rapid 750 or Metro Local 150)

The Punchbowl, 4645 Melbourne Ave. (Red Line Vermont/Sunset Station)

So where do you like to juice? Send your suggestions for great juice bars near Metro (put Ride & Dine in the subject field) to sourcemetro@gmail.com and we’ll post them on our beautiful Ride & Dine map.

Go Metro Weekends, Sept 14 – 15

This Saturday is the last Eat See Hear movie screening of the season. The Breakfast Club will be showing at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the movie starts at 8:30 p.m. It’s starting to get a little nippy in the evenings, so make sure to bring a jacket or some blankets! Save $2 on tickets with your TAP card. (Metro Gold Line to Chinatown Station)

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day this weekend at Olvera Street. Admission is free, and there will be dancing, food, music and more. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days. (Metro Gold/Red/Purple Line to Union Station, check Trip Planner for all bus routes)

Another place to celebrate is at Plaza Mexico. The free event takes place on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Go Metro and save at Cafe Canela and La Huasteca, both located within Plaza Mexico. (Metro Green Line to Long Beach Blvd. Station, Metro Bus 120, 612 to Imperial/State)

P.S. Metro’s Destination Discounts page now has a great new calendar of events. Click on any day to see what events are taking place around town and find out how to score a discount with your TAP card!

Destination Discount: Save $5 on LivingSocial’s 5K dance party with Metro

Photo: LivingSocial 5K Dance Party Facebook

Photo: LivingSocial 5K Dance Party Facebook

Get ready to light up the night at LivingSocial’s 5K Dance Party on Saturday, September 21. The event will take place at the Los Angeles Historic Park in Chinatown, starting at 7:15 p.m. Upon arrival, load up with glow-in-the-dark gear and your official race T-shirt. After the 5k run/walk, the party will continue on inside the park.

Save $5 on tickets with Metro. Use the exclusive promo code METRO5K when purchasing tickets online to receive the discount. The exclusive discount is part of Metro’s Destination Discounts program and cannot be combined with any other offers. Go Metro to participating locations and events and you’ll save on admission, get discounts on meals, and receive free gifts.

The easiest way to get to the party is with the Metro Gold Line. Hop off at Chinatown Station and walk on over! LASHP is also walkable from Union Station. For more routes and connections, use Trip Planner.

Free Screening of Alfred Hitchcock Film at Metro’s Historic Los Angeles Union Station on Friday, Sept 20

alfred-hitchcock-presents-opening-creditsMetro and Echo Park Film Center will host a free public screening of a classically enthralling Alfred Hitchcock film at historic Union Station on Friday, Sept. 20. Don’t miss the chance to see a visually outstanding work by the brilliant master of suspense in the similarly dramatic setting of Union Station.

Film Screening Details:

Friday, September 20
Screening begins at 8:00 p.m. (doors open 7:00 p.m.)
Union Station North Patio
800 North Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The event is free to the public. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis.  Guests may bring chairs, blankets and picnics, but no alcoholic beverages are allowed.

RSVPs are recommended but not required. Email zellerh@metro.net.

Show your valid Metro TAP card at check-in for access to preferential seating. Feel like dinner and a movie? Show your valid Metro TAP card at Traxx Restaurant at Union Station and receive a 10% discount on your dinner bill. Guests are encouraged to make reservations at 213.625.1999 or www.urbanspoon.com.

The public film screening continues Metro’s newly launched program of arts and cultural events planned for the iconic Union Station. Past events featured a screening of the film Chinatown and a performance by G.G. NineNet, a nine-piece jazz band.

“We’re excited to partner with Echo Park Film Center to screen a deliciously thrilling Hitchcock film,” said Maya Emsden, Metro Deputy Executive Officer, Creative Services. “Our plan with this new series is to temporarily embellish the varied spaces of Union Station in new ways so people have the chance to keep rediscovering this special LA place.”

Can you guess which film will be screened? Comment below!

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner at metro.net for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Go Metro to celebrate Mexican Independence Day at Plaza Mexico

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day on Sunday, September 15 at Plaza Mexico. The free event features performances by Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Los Aktivos, Muzik Junkeez, a re-enactment of the Battle of Puebla and much more! The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. A civic ceremony featuring the Mexican Consul General of Los Angeles will take place at 8 p.m.

Go Metro and save at Cafe Canela and La Huasteca, both located within Plaza Mexico. Just show your valid TAP card to your server at either cafe to get 15% off your bill. The exclusive discount is part of Metro’s Destination Discounts program. Go Metro to participating locations and events and you’ll save on admission, get discounts on meals, and receive free gifts.

To get to Plaza Mexico, take the Metro Green Line to Long Beach Blvd. Station or Metro Bus 120 or 612 to Imperial/State. For more routes and connections, use Trip Planner.