Historic Lankershim Depot gets extreme makeover

Metro today announced that it has completed a $3.6-million restoration of the historic Lankershim Depot near the Metro Orange and Red Lines in North Hollywood.

The train depot, originally built in 1896 and historically known as Toluca Southern Pacific Train Depot, has undergone a major transformation. About 70 percent of the original structure has been completely rehabilitated, with contractors completing a new building foundation and roof, electric and plumbing systems, platforms, signage and seismic upgrades. Metro contractors have also restored sidings, eaves, windows and doors.

Pacific Electric North Hollywood Station 1950-

The depot in 1950.

The three-room depot and outside platform area now has its original paint colors of mustard yellow and brown, and features a sign on the roof that reads “Southern Pacific-Pacific Electric Station” that harkens back to the early and mid 20th century when the depot primarily served as a passenger and freight rail stop.

The depot will remain unoccupied until Metro determines the best use for the property and finds a future tenant. The chosen tenant will then make its required renovations to the interior, as well as plant landscaping around the depot’s perimeter. Additional work upon occupancy will include the restoration of an adjacent park and rebuilding railroad tracks next to the station to provide the proper context for the building.

Initial concepts for the re-use of the property include a bike hub, museum, coffee shop, restaurant or combination of those elements that provide the greatest public benefit.

When the depot becomes available for occupancy is dependent upon the construction schedule for Metro’s North Hollywood Station Underpass Project that will provide a safe, convenient underground connection between Metro’s Red Line and Orange Line stations — eliminating the need for riders to cross busy Lankershim Boulevard. Construction activities are now underway and the project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Continue reading

Shoe shine stand opens in Union Station

The first shoe shine stand at Union Station in decades opened Monday, as the stand’s attendant Marco Ramirez and his team began working their magic earlier this morning. Among the stand’s first customers were Metro Board Member and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Metro CEO Art Leahy.

The shoe shine stand is located at the west end of the Union Station passageway near the Famima convenience store. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A shine costs six dollars. Customers will be seated in a beautiful four-seat historic replica of an early 20th century shoe shine stand while their scuffed and dull shoes are buffed, brushed, polished and rejuvenated.

The opening of the shoe shine stand is emblematic of the revitalization of Union Station as a major transit hub, and is one of a growing number of amenities for the 60,000 commuters that travel through the station each day.

Most recently, T&Y Bakery opened near the Amtrak ticketing area. The Metro Board of Directors has also approved leases for Café Crepe, two food and beverage kiosks in the East Portal, and a gastropub in the Fred Harvey Room that will be managed by downtown restauranteurs Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman.

Mr. Ramirez, a U.S. Army veteran, has shined shoes at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown Los Angeles for 31 years and also manages the shoe shine stand at the U.S. Bank Building. He will run the stand in Union Station along with his colleagues Filemon Ruano, Kevin Dixon and David Trejo.

Go Metro to Lit Crawl LA: NoHo this Wednesday night

Photos from last year's LA Lit Crawl: NoHo by Rosalind Helfand.

Photos from last year’s Lit Crawl LA: NoHo by Rosalind Helfand.

The second-ever Lit Crawl LA: NoHo returns this Wednesday evening, Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. to midnight–and getting there via Metro is as easy as A-B-C!

Over 170 writers, literary organizations, and series will offer free readings and cultural events at 30 venues along Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards. Each Lit Crawl location is within walking distance of the other, and of course, the entire NoHo Arts District is reachable by Metro Red Line, Orange Line, or bus. Simply hop on the Red or Orange Line to North Hollywood Station, or bus lines 152/353, 156/656, or 183 to Lankershim/Chandler.

Lit Crawl LA is organized into three 45-minute phases. At each phase, visitors chose from a diverse program of 10 to 12 events. The night ends with a “speakeasy” party at the Federal Bar at 10 p.m. All events are free to attend, however, food and drink are not included. That’s where Metro can help again: present your valid TAP card at the Federal Bar or Bow and Truss restaurant and save 10% and 15% on food, respectively. Just keep in mind that Metro Rail and Orange Line close around midnight Sunday through Thursday.

Ready or not, here comes Santa Claus…save on grandstand seating with Metro

Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving…and the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which takes place Sunday, December 1 this year. The parade will start in front of the TCL Chinese Theatres and travel east on Hollywood Boulevard, south on Vine Street and west on Sunset Boulevard before returning to the starting point. Festivities begin at 5 p.m.

Free curbside seating is available along most the parade route, and the easiest way to get to the parade is on the Metro Red Line. Both Hollywood/Highland Station and Hollywood/Vine Station will put you right along the parade route.

But if you want to watch the pre-parade performances and not worry about getting crowded out, you can buy grandstand tickets. Single-seat tickets start at $45, and you can get a $5 discount with Metro. Just use the code “Santa” when purchasing tickets.

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.

Bus detours for the parade will be in effect in the vicinity of Hollywood Boulevard due to set-up and tear down of grandstands as well as during the parade. More details will be posted as we get closer to the parade date. For information on bus detours, check Metro’s Service Advisories or follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles and @metroLAalerts.

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.

Bus service detours for Academy Awards, Hollywood/Highland Station closed during The Oscars

Those of you traveling around Hollywood have probably noticed some bus detours by now due to Oscars prep. Here’s a friendly reminder that you won’t be able to spot Robert Downey, Jr. by  popping up from Hollywood/Highland Station on Sunday because it will be closed.

Here’s the release from Metro:

Metro Red Line subway trains will operate on a regular schedule but will pass through the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station without stopping on Sunday, Feb. 24 from open to close due to the 85th Academy Awards show at the Dolby Theater. There will be no public access to Hollywood/Highland Station. Customers are advised to use the Hollywood/Vine Station as an alternative and transfer to nearby bus service or walk.

All Metro Red Line trains will resume stops at Hollywood/Highland Station with the start of regular service on Monday, Feb. 25.

Street closures start Sunday, Feb. 17 due to staging for The Oscars. Metro Bus lines 212, 217, 222 and 780 will be detoured along Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue through 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, or until barricades are removed.

On the day of The Oscars, Sunday, Feb. 24, Metro Bus lines 156, 212, 217 and 222 also will be detoured along Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard and on Highland Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Sunset Boulevard through 6 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 25, or until barricades are removed.

Specific routes of the detours are listed online on the Service Advisory pages of metro.net. For real-time service alerts, go to metro.net home page or follow @metroLAalerts on twitter.

First phase of Metro Red Line celebrates 20-year anniversary

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“This day is here…”

On January 29, 1993, former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley stood among a swarm of public officials and transit agency staffers on the cramped Pershing Square subway platform. Standing shoulders above everyone else, including then-California Gov. Pete Wilson, Bradley proudly inaugurated the opening of the first modern subway in Los Angeles.

“Twenty years is a long time. That’s how long we have been pushing on this dream, this vision of what we should do in Los Angeles County,” Bradley said, referring to the subway’s quixotic path to reality in ‘93. “I made a promise when I ran for mayor in 1973 that in 18 months, we’d deliver by breaking ground for rapid transit. Well, I missed by only a few months…”

Today, Metro marks the 20th anniversary of the Metro Red Line’s first phase from Union Station to MacArthur Park, a nearly 4.5-mile construction milestone that began a brand new chapter in regional rail construction and placing L.A. among other major cities across the globe with high-speed, high-capacity subways.

Continue reading