Saturday, March 05, 2005
Michael lives in the Fashion District - tens of square blocks of wholesale and retail stores dedicated to the shmata trade: fabrics, clothes, notions, trimmings, zippers, buttons. Store after store, block after block. It's truly an area unlike anything I've seen in New York.
Streets are teeming with people looking for bargains.
L.A.'s center of fashion and clothing.
Tassles? You've come to the right place.
Ladies' bags - 2 for $10! Nobody can resist a sale.
Need a bra?
After walking around the district for a while we picked up Lynn and Mike and headed to a brunch with my two cousins: Susan and Muriel, daughters of my father's first cousin (and best childhood friend).
In the late 40's, cousin Maxie moved his family to the west coast. They never returned and over the years, as it often happens, our families became separated... so separated that I never even knew I had cousins on the west coast. In recent years, we've reestablished contact and finally I met Susan last September when she made a trip to the east coast.
Now it was our turn to visit her and her sister, Muriel, and the rest of the family, on their own turf. We drove to Susan's house which she shares with her friend Carol. Muriel was already there and so was Susan's daughter, Tiffany, her husband, Jeff and their children, 4-year old Andrew and the newborn baby, Justine.
Bagels and lox were served, conversation ensued and plans made for the rest of the day. We were to be taken around to see some sights and meet up later at Muriel's bakery in Santa Monica where we would be greeted and treated by her husband, Ken, who runs the bakery with four of his brothers.
Tiffany and a very amazed Justine.
Susan, Carol and Justine.
And here's beautiful Justine!
Susan and Carol's house.
The whole family - (less me, the photographer).
Crombie the poodle, Stacey, Mike, Susan, Tiffany holding Justine, Muriel, Carol, Andrew and his dad, Jeff.
And the family with me!
The younger generation: Jeff and Tiffany, Andrew and baby Justine.
Susan and Muriel drove us around for an hour or so, through UCLA (where Susan works) and the fancy Santa Monica shopping streets, then down the coast for a glimpse of Venice. This would just be a tease to give us an idea what we might want to see in the days ahead when we were out on our own. Then we rushed over to the bakery where a surprise birthday cake was waiting for me. The bakery serves magnificent and artistic creations and has a large and loyal clientele from the surrounding neighborhoods.
At the bakery - Muriel, Stacey, Mike and Ken.
Ken tells Mike how to bake a cake and run a business.
Beautiful creations at the Belwood Bakery.
Justine's snoozing while we're shmoozing.
Susan and her grandaughter, Justine.
My cousin Muriel behind the counter at the Belwood Bakery.
Mike had a job and had to get back downtown so he hitched a ride with Jeff who was driving in that direction. Carol suggested a trip to the Getty Museum and so right she was as it turned out to be one of the great highlights of trip. The billionaire had built a museum to house his collections and placed it high upon a hill. We parked our car and took a tram to the top. Admission is free. The museum, designed by Richard Meier, who has been called "the ultimate voice of twentieth century modernism", it is an awesome and breathtaking space. It was very late so we didn't enter the museum or view the art on display there. But it was enough to simply take in the astounding views of the Pacific and the city spread out below. The stark white of the buildings, built from massive blocks of rough limestone, stand out brilliantly against the sky. The gardens, the plantings, the endless panorma of sea and land left us breathless.
We drove back to our car which we had left behind at Carol and Susan's, said our goodbyes and then headed back to our hotel. We wanted to see my cousins again this trip because the day had been magical. What a wonder, I thought, to find new friends and family! And then, on top of that, to feel perfectly at ease and at home and to really enjoy their company ... well, what is better than that?
The tram takes you up to the fabulous Getty.
You can see for miles.
The fabulous view from the Getty Museum.
Wonderful sight lines - glass, limestone, fabulous views.
People come to sit, look and admire.
Los Angeles on the distant horizon.
Sunset at the Getty - unforgettable!
In the next chapter of my Blog - a visit with my old friend, Matty Berkelhammer.