Frogtown River Walk

It's 7:30 am on Monday after the Independence Day holiday. At 9:00 I'll start making calls. In a couple weeks we're closing escrow on a house in Glassell Park...time to arrange insurance.

This past Saturday, the 4th, we relished a lazy day of exploring L.A. Most impressive was our first visit to the Elysian Valley river walk and bicycle/pedestrian path. I've been eager to check it out since the L.A. River revitalization plan started making national headlines a few years back (we lived in Chicago at the time). This headline by National Geographic says it all: Los Angeles River: From Concrete Ditch to Urban Oasis.

We parked in the Elysian Valley neighborhood—affectionately called "Frogtown"—to enter the bike path near Newell Street. The streets in Frogtown were quiet and the many nondescript industrial buildings were notable only for their razor wire and gang tags. Yet the neighborhood felt special. Like you want to see them win...and winning would mean some impossible mix of revitalizing while staving off the inevitable gentrification. This place is too incredible for its own good.

And then, in a matter of a few steps from the sidewalk to the river walk, a transformation occurs. The paved bike path is alive with people gazing at the lush river, pointing, laughing. Instantly you know that this is a point of pride for Angelenos.

Los Angeles River recreation area - bike & walking path adjacent to the "Frog Spot"

Friends of the LA River

Not far down the path, between Newell and Benedict Streets, we stumbled upon the Frog Spot. Operated by the Friends of the LA River (FoLAR), the Frog Spot is an awesome little rest stop and entertainment venue open on weekends. It's dog friendly, has a small trailer cafe, and features live music in the evenings. As this is a FoLAR visitor's center, volunteers are friendly and eager to chat about the river restoration.

Friends of the LA River "Frog Spot"

Continuing past the Frog Spot, we made an exciting discovery. We could see our (potentially) new house! Since it's not ours yet, I can't post pics or make an official proclamation—but if all goes well, we'll soon live 1.2 miles "as the crow flies" from this stretch of the river walk.

An approximation of our intended new home in Glassell Park, showing distance to the Frog Spot. (Google Maps)

Our house is up there somewhere :)

Rather than yammer about how wonderfully the LA river restoration is coming along—especially along this stretch called the Glendale Narrows—I'll just post a few more pics:

losangeles_river
Warehouses, power lines, and the concrete lining of the river cause you to reflect on what it once was vs. what it's becoming.

Warehouses, power lines, and the concrete lining of the river cause you to reflect on what it once was vs. what it's becoming.

Beyond the river and the L.A. sprawl, clouds billow over the San Gabriel Mountains.

Public art across the river.

Along the bike path, murals in dialogue with razor wire.

New for 2015, Spoke Bicycle Cafe, is a charming and unexpected rest stop along the path. Located at 3050 N. Coolidge Ave.

New for 2015, Spoke Bicycle Cafe, is a charming and unexpected rest stop along the path. Located at 3050 N. Coolidge Ave.

In the courtyard of Spoke Cafe, a bicycle repair shop will fix your flat while you sip brew.

In the courtyard of Spoke Cafe, a bicycle repair shop will fix your flat while you sip brew.

Laurie, co-owner of Spoke, was kind enough to let me snap some pics as she prepared my cold brew.

Look at these gorgeous young pomegranates! Location: top secret.

Look at these gorgeous young pomegranates! Location: top secret.

See you next time Frogtown!

See you next time Frogtown!