Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baby blue Chevy


I like finding old cars to photograph. They seem so much more solid than the cars of today and they have more character. Although, I imagine, driving this big guy would take a lot more effort than my current car with its power steering and electric everything.

"The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers. ~Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Speedee repairs

McDonald's Mr Speedee

According to Wikipedia, McDonald's "introduction of the 'Speedee Service System' in 1948 established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant." This Speedee at the oldest surviving McDonald's must be nearly 60 years old now, and apparently is in need of some minor repair work.

This McDonald's location was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 1994 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. See Speedee McDonald's for more pictures from a previous Downey Daily post.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's so easy


Albertson's makes buying things so easy. The displays are so beautiful, I want to pick up everything. These Bolthouse juices are set perfectly to tempt the passerby to grab one more delicious item on the way to the checkout.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Good as new


IPhones have a fun advantage. These pictures are as I am hurrying past on my way to work. They are working on yet another part in Downey on Bellflower Blvd. I thought the machines were so cool that ripped up the concrete, chopped it up into tiny pieces and threw it in to another truck.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spanish-style beauty


I appreciate the variety of older homes found in Downey. According to Zillow, this one was built in 1931. Spanish style is one of my favorites. This one has some beautiful details. I love the door!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spirit of progress

Horse statues

I've been reading a lot lately about not letting rain ruin a photo shoot. Rain can add a wonderful dimension to pictures, if you just change your focus a little. So when it started raining yesterday morning, I thought, "What would make a good picture in the rain?"

It turns out that rain is very flattering to statues, especially horses.

These statues are on Firestone Blvd., the main thoroughfare through Downey, just before you enter the city from neighboring Norwalk. According to the plaque, they were created in 1999 by Snell Johnson, and they're called "Spirit of Progress." I can't find anything on the web about the statues or the artist. Maybe somebody out there can fill me in?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Easter, Messiah Lutheran Church

Easter egg hunt, Messiah Lutheran ChurchThis morning, the Messiah Lutheran Church acknowledged Easter with a beautiful cross made of Easter lilies.

Around the corner, preparations were underway for the the kids' Easter egg hunt. Today was the first day in many years that we have had rain on Easter (you can see the raindrops against his suit if you look closely), but it didn't stop the hunt.

A blessed Easter day to all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Past, present, future


I guess every town has a palm reader. I have never been, but I have driven past this building over the years. I have to admit, I kinda wonder if she's a little like Shawn in "Psych." 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Valet parking

Porto's valet parking

Porto's Bakery not only brought crowds to downtown Downey, they also brought the only valet parking garage. For $4, you can avoid having to drive around and around the parking structure looking for an empty parking space. Or, heaven forbid, you could park on the street and walk off those tasty Cuban pastries!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


church back

I wish I knew Spanish a little better so that I could visit this church. It's in the Southern part of Downey and isn't that big but I pass it every day going to work and I wish I could visit this beautiful church and learn more about its history.

Spanish Church Sign

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City limit sign

city limit sign
I am just wondering how accurate this is...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The old and the new


Okay, so this is not in Downey. This is in downtown Los Angeles (which is close to Downey). The view is from the roof top of a condo building on Lafayette Park Place.

I've been spending more and more time in downtown with my daughter, who is looking for a condo in the area. There is so much beauty in this city of contrasts. This beautiful old church is surrounded by all these newer buildings. Looking at the map, I'm guessing this is the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, built in 1867- but I don't really know that for sure.  I guess I'm going to have to go back again and check it out- this time from street level.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Late night lights

Downey Billiards

I know Joan has shown this scene before. But there's something appealing about the neon, the low overhead lights, the rows of tables.

Oh, and I used to work in this building when it was a Sears catalog store. My very first real job, just 40 years ago.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

This weekend, volunteers set out three crosses in front of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help church and draped them with red cloth in preparation for the Easter celebration next Sunday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red door


I don't know much about this house, but I like the front door. According to sources, it was built in 1923. The sad part is its location. It is right next door to the 5-story Bank of America building. It's not where I would choose to live, but the charm of the house is undeniable. Even the little Chinese lions on either side of the entry give it an extra kick of character.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dream house

Torn-down house

For several months, I watched this house being built. It got far enough along so that you could get a glimpse of the dream that the owners had for it.

Then for a couple of years, I watched the plywood get more and more weathered. I wondered what happened to the dream.

Now I'm watching it come down again. I assume that it's coming down because someone else is planning to build here. I wonder what their dream house will look like.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All in a row

trash cans

I had every intention of posting a picture of something else today when, on my walk today, I saw this in a someone's front yard. I had to take a picture of it. I've never seen anyone do this before and I was wondering what the reason was.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Midnight on the town

downtown street cars

I can really start to feel summer coming when I walk the street of downtown (yes, one). The cars and pedestrians seem a little more alive. The day stays light longer so the night feels early and lighthearted. Maybe it's the novelty of being able to be walking in T-shirts in the middle of the night. Or remembering summers of vacation from school. Whatever the cause, people seem happier, calmer, and relaxed. I love this time of year.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rives Mansion revisited


IMG_2117_1It had been a while since we visited the Rives mansion. So, Saturday we stopped by to see if we could wander around again. We were in luck, the door was open and Oscar was there.  

IMG_2115Climbing to the second story, I found myself wondering how many people over the last hundred years had climbed that same wide staircase. There is such a sense of history here.

I finally had a chance to see the "ballroom." It is a large room lit by tons of natural light. In fact, what I noticed most on this visit was the enormous amount of natural light in the house.

As we visited, Oscar shared some of his thoughts about the future of the mansion.

Oscar and Carmen have made progress on the place. They have continued to paint, adding color to some of the walls. See previous post of this same landing from January. Of course, more posts to follow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big brother

Apollo Park collage

Clockwise, from upper left:

He says: "Here, let me help you."
He says: "Maybe if I push from behind."
He says: "Just follow me up."
She says: "There's another way up."
He says: "No, really, just follow my example."

She says: "Here, let me help you."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Downey First Church—and remembering Grace Baptist

Downey First Church steepleDowney First Church baptistry

My mom has been bugging me for a while, "What about our old church?" So today, I stopped by what is now Downey First Church.

When I was growing up, this was Grace Baptist Church. There's a main street in Downey called "Old River School Road," and apparently there actually was an old River School. I'm told that this schoolhouse became the sanctuary for Grace Baptist. When I was still in elementary school, the church built a beautiful new sanctuary, and the old schoolhouse became our fellowship hall.

This afternoon, I met Charlie Koo, the English Ministry Pastor. When I explained why I was there, he welcomed me to look around and take pictures. The sanctuary looked much as I remember it, with the cross in the baptistry (above).

Downey First Church outdoor eatingDowney First Church buildingBut everything else was different. I hunted and hunted through my old photos for some pictures to show you, but couldn't find a thing. Charlie explained that a fire a couple of years ago led them to tear down the old schoolhouse building and replace it with a new facility (left). And the old "Fireside Room" and kitchen was completely gone, replaced by this open-air eating and social area (right).

Downey First Church lunchDowney First Church membersWhile I was inside taking pictures, I met Julian (standing, on the left), an aspiring videographer. He's a Downey Daily Photos subscriber, and he soon made me feel like a minor celebrity. The service that had just ended is made up almost entirely of college and professional young people, who were now lunching together and enjoying each other's fellowship. Julian and the others invited me to join them for lunch, and I had a great time talking with them and getting to know a little bit about them.

Thanks, everyone, for reassuring me that while some of the buildings are gone, the Spirit is still there.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Farmers Market breakfast


IMG_2097This morning we went to the Farmer's Market on 2nd Street. It's such a fun place to find produce and snacks of all kinds.

One of my favorite places is the pupusa stand. They make them fresh while you wait—it takes about 5 minutes. A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick corn tortilla (handmade using masa de maze) and filled with beans, cheese, and meat if you want. It's served with something similar to a cabbage slaw and salsa. It's one of my favorite breakfast snacks. This little girl seemed to be enjoying it too!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A single light

Brick wall at night

A single light in an empty parking lot. What could feel lonelier?

One of my favorite walls (see this post) has an eery feeling late at night.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From my roof

from my roof

I just thought it would be fun to see a different side of Downey. From my roof. I guess this is how the perched birds see our suburbia.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Space available

space available

One of the common things to be seen around Downey is the space available signs. Leasing empty buildings is a hard business, I imagine. I have so many ideas of what I would do if I had the money to lease one of those buildings. An art gallery, a non-profit organization, an old bookstore with my loft upstairs...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring fever?


It's spring time and I love the fact that the days seem so much longer because it doesn't get dark until 7:30.

Wandering around Downey Landing tonight, I noticed quite a few people out enjoying the longer days too; eating late dinners and snacks outside by the food court area.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Christopher's knights

Knights of Columbus weather vane

Not far from where I grew up, there's a building with a big banner saying "Knights of Columbus BINGO Tuesday nights." I don't remember ever seeing a different banner, or ever seeing any people there. The building is totally nondescript—but I did like their weather vane.

So I was curious. What are the Knights? It turns out that the Knights are the world's largest Catholic service organization. Named after Christopher Columbus, the Knights were founded in 1882 to provide for widows and orphans. Famous Knights include John F. Kennedy, Vince Lombardi, and Babe Ruth. In 2009, the Knights gave more than $151 million directly to charity and performed over 69 million man hours in volunteer service.

There must be something going on in that building!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mt. Baldy

Mt. Baldy from the Embassy Suites Hotel

For a final picture from the top (or in this case, the 4th floor) of the Embassy Suites Hotel, I want to show you Mt. Baldy to the northeast. At 10,068 feet (3,069 meters), it is the highest point in Los Angeles and the tallest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Until our hot spell last week, Mt. Baldy (or Mount San Antonio, as it's really called) was thoroughly covered with snow. Now, you can see the mountain starting to show through. Still, we'll continue to see snow there for another month or so.

There's a family-owned ski resort up there. At about an hour and a half away, it's our closest ski resort. The next closest (and more popular) ski area is another hour to the east.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rooster on a hen house


IMG_1293I know, I'm back to yard art. I just can't seem to resist it. I have shared yard art from this house before. I find their yard fun and just a little bit funky. The front yard has a quirky character that I love.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Smog check

Smoggy Los Angeles

I have a couple more pictures I want to show you of the views from the Embassy Suites Hotel, one for today and one for next week. Today's picture isn't very exciting, but it illustrates one of the problems that is synonymous with Los Angeles—smog.

Smog was an issue in this area long before cars arrived. The name given to this area by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans translates to "the valley of smoke" because of the smog from native campfires.

Part of the problem is that the smog has nowhere to go and very little rain to wash it away. Los Angeles lies in a basin, surrounded by the ocean on one side and mountains on the other sides. These mountains, along with a variety of other geographic and weather conditions, hold our smog in.

You'll notice that the higher you look, the bluer the sky is. On a day like today, with relatively mild smog, you don't even realize the smog is there until you see it in the distance.