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Los Angeles library makes town worthwhile Richard Peña | Sat, Jul 19 2014 12:00 PM

The old saying, "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there," applied originally to New York. This was generally uttered by folks in Washington D.C. or Philadelphia or some such city, who wanted the culture but did not want the busy hubbub of the big city, as if theirs was so tranquil.

In recent times, out west, we have applied this bit of logic to the city of Los Angeles deeming it unfit for civilized habitation. We do not mind going there for a day or so, but deplore the congestions, traffic, smog and all those other negative factors that are heaped on our metropolis to the north.

The other day I became one of those who visit. My Sacramento daughter, Margaret, was here but had a conference in downtown Los Angeles. Rather than let he go alone I tagged along under the guise of doting parent, but secretly relished the idea of once more exploring the city.

We, of course, drove. And we, of course, made a big mistake. Los Angeles is not of those towns one easily enters from this freeway or that one. We went in on Interstate 5, Most of us remember it as the Santa Ana Freeway, built right after the war. It seems, however, that CalTrans cannot seem to finish that project. Road work of some sort is constantly going on.

Our first stopping off place was Universal City. We thought we would do the tourist bit there. Unfortunately we arrived rather late in the day. We found out that one must spend at least seven hours there to make it worthwhile..So we postponed this adventure for a later date. Universal City is a really great place. It is a sort of Disneyland without Mickey or Donald or any of those characters.

The next day Margaret was in meetings all day long. I was, therefore, on my own. I think she was rather reluctant to leave me alone but I assured her I would look both ways before I crossed the streets and not speak to strangers. I left the hotel early and walked a few blocks south, I found a couple of large malls, the Macy and the Robinson-May Plazas. They are housed on the ground floors of large buildings. A person, whether he was a shopper or not, could spend days in them, exploring the countless stores and shops.

On the way back to the hotel I saw the Los Angeles Public Library. I stopped at a lunch counter for a cup of coffee and got into a conversation with the lady who served me. She was telling me all about the library and what a great place it was. I asked her if she was a local. She said no,She was from National City. There goes the old “a great place to visit...” adage.

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