Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fraser Alley Art

Along about World War II, downtown Pasadena wasn't looking so good. By the late 1940's, nobody was much interested in opening new businesses there, and things deteriorated. This might have been a good thing for Old Town Pasadena, because nobody bothered to renovate the buildings and they retained their historic character.

By the mid-1990s, however, revitalization was well underway. Now Old Town is known for great shopping and dining. It's also known for its historical buildings. Oh--and did I mention its pretty alleys? I think I must have said something before about pretty alleys.

This garage door is in Fraser Alley, which runs parallel to Colorado Blvd. on the south. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the stenciled artwork peeking back at you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Altadena Alley

Pasadena's north side borders on Altadena, an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. (Altadena's north side borders on the San Gabriel mountains.) Altadena has its own town council, but has resisted being governed by Pasadena or anybody else.

Altadena's character can't be defined in a word. It's artsy, diverse, old-timey, forward-thinking, stuck in its ways and anti-establishment. It is its own self, one might say, defiantly.

In an alley behind Mariposa Street, I came upon this door. Told you our alleys are pretty.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

State of the Arroyo

I'm disappointed because I got home too late to attend the "State of the City" event this evening at the Rose Bowl. Not just at the stadium. Inside the new locker room complex. A female doesn't get a chance to visit those rooms very often unless she's a sportswriter or a cleaning lady.

Mayor Bill Bogaard will be speaking tonight, so I've decided to comfort myself with this photo, which was a contender for yesterday's post. I had the pleasure of being introduced to the mayor at the event for the Central Arroyo Stream Restoration. While Andy Byrne, Program Manager of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, made the introductions, Mayor Bogaard waited to go on and I snapped this picture.

The bridge in the background is not the Colorado Street Bridge. (That's behind the mayor in this photo.) The one you see here is merely an onramp to the westbound 134 freeway. If you think our freeways are pretty, wait until you see our alleys.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I attended a civic function today on the Parker-Mayberry Bridge, under the Colorado Street Bridge. I had never been there before.

We were there for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the Central Arroyo Stream Restoration. To quote the press release, "Stream habitat enhancements, runoff treatment and devices that prevent trash from polluting streams are among the components of this exciting $2.5 million project that will turn [the] Central Arroyo into a model of what can be done in urban areas to help clean up waterways." The City of Pasadena loves to partner with organizations like the Arroyo Seco Foundation to do good stuff like this.

After the speeches, the mayor and other dignitaries planted a native oak and posed for photos while everyone cheered. In all the hubbub, I noticed this father and son across the Arroyo, standing under the Colorado Street Bridge and wondering what the heck was going on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Bit of Paris

Colorado may be the famous boulevard but Green Street, paralleling Colorado to the south, is its sophisticated cousin. Lined with vine-covered buildings, boutiques and cafés (mon dieu! I had to go seek an accent aigu!), Green Street always has a surprise for you, even if you think you've seen everything it has to offer.

You know the food is good at Il Capo, so you may ask why the tables are empty. I took this photo yesterday at lunch time and there were plenty of people inside. But the southern sun was blazing on those red chairs, and we had the only table in the shade.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Antique Hues

From the Rose Bowl Flea Market to high end antique shops, I can safely brag that Pasadena has it all (and lots of all of it). It can get pricey, too! Pasadena's known for its Craftsman and Arts & Crafts homes, so of course that era is well represented in the shops. But every other era has its dealers here as well. So does every European monarch who ever had furniture named after him. If you like shopping for antiques—or if you just like shopping—Pasadena's a prime spot.

I caught this shot at Antiques on Fair Oaks today, where they gave me a cup of coffee when I walked in the door. Friendly!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flea Market Ladies

I hear the Rose Bowl Flea Market is world famous. It ought to be, if for no other reason than sheer size. The second Sunday of every month, vendors surround the stadium selling everything new, used, old, horrible, fabulous, grotesque or sublime.

In proving the adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," you may have to dig deep--or walk a long way. Use your imagination, wear comfortable shoes, and bring plenty of cash.