civic center, downtown los angeles

Downtown LA’s New Grand Park Fulfills Role as Civic Gathering Spot

Grand Park in Downtown LA became a civic gathering spot for Angelenos across the region who came to watch the Presidential election results

Los Angeles for decades lacked that central gathering spot that accurately represented “LA.” Whether it was for celebrating New Year’s Eve or gathering together to watch election results like so many did last night for the Presidential race, for far too long, we’ve depended solely on our satellite cities, like Pasadena or Santa Monica, to provide access to higher quality public spaces. But the catch was, we were never truly in The City. LA sorely needed to stand on its own two feet, so-to-speak. Now finally with the completion of LA’s newest civic park, Grand Park, Angelenos have the option to come together to share the city with their fellow denizens, not in a mall, but on public space.

Last night, it was not only electrifying to experience the election results together with hundreds of other Angelenos who were just as excited, but I was fully aware of how wonderful it was to actually be standing in a park, in Los Angeles, on public space, in Los Angeles underneath the captivating glow of City Hall. This being the land of endless freeways, strip malls, and parking lots. And although I think Grand Park could be drastically improved, I kept thinking to myself how amazing it was that before this park was completed, there were very few, if any, fantastic public spaces for people to gather in LA to be able to share this moment together.

Watching on CNN other cities across the country with citizens gathered together in their own great public spaces, I was proud to see LA represented on the large screen as the CNN camera panned over our enthusiastic crowd here in Grand Park. For once, LA was more like Chicago or New York. Angelenos are finally beginning to discover where Los Angeles really is.

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  1. When I first moved to LA I would ask people, where do you go for the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve celebrations or a Taste Of food event which we don’t even have. Now we do and Grand Park is really going to change things.

  2. sebastian says

    I don’t think Grand Park will be a good place for a New Years event, knowing it’s lacking bars, and restaruants in that part of town. L.A. Live would be more of a better new years eve spot.

  3. Andrew W. says

    Grand Park is really becoming a great addition to this city, to see it filled with so many people from diverse backgrounds (especially during the last CicLAvia) was pretty darn amazing.

    The more public spaces we have in the City of Angels, the greater sense of community/identity we can build together with our fellow Angelenos. It’s not a secret that Angelenos have been ridiculed (whether fair or not), for lacking much civic pride, but events/projects like these that help unite us all together, is slowly changing that; in the last five years I don’t think I’ve seen more people wearing ‘ I LOVE LA’ t-shirts in this city then right now. Sometimes I wonder if it has anything to do with a growing paradigm shift in this city towards a more people-oriented lifestyle, as opposed to the car culture/lifestyle that has dominated the L.A. development landscape for so long?

  4. Andrew W. says

    Btw, great article Brigham! I agree with everything you wrote.

  5. Sebastian: This is Los Angeles, we do things different! The nearest bar is a mere 1 1/2 blocks away (Redwood Bar) and Little Tokyo has more down the street. As for restaurants, food trucks will cover that. But there’s easy access to even more bars and restaurants — the Red Line station is like *right there* — don’t forget that it runs 24 hours on New Year’s Eve.

    L.A. Live does not have a public New Year’s Eve countdown event, only smaller events within its establishments. Plus, it’s not public space, but publicly-accessible private space.

  6. I had a great time at the Election Night event (except waiting in The Grilled Cheese Truck line, that is), and it was nice seeing Grand Park on the big screen, but I’m not 100% sure CNN viewers got to see us. It seemed most of the Grand Park cutaways were just professional-style camera video feeds that overlapped the existing CNN audio feed. That said, still an awesome event and I hope to go to another one soon! :-)

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