The Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time #169: Square Town/Town Square
One or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations,
their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the
encounters they find there.
It's a bike ride.
Started by user nathansnider and user theroyalacademy.
It meets every Wednesday at 8:30pm at California Donuts #21.
We ride at 9pm.
We'll endeavor to return before the last red line trains (around midnight).
On the fourth year of this bike ride, you might expect:
- more inconvenient passageways
- more full moon picnics
- perhaps more "cover" versions of other people's rides, performed with amateurish enthusiasm
- certainly more amateurish enthusiasm
- pool halls
- bowling alleys
- dance parties
- imaginary histories
- scavenging for fun and sustenance
- more geocaching
- more oblique strategies
- more Oulipian constraints
- traffic median tea parties
- A medium pace (maybe not for beginners; certainly not a hustle)
- We're not in a rush; we don't need to run every light.
- This week: 30-ish miles; hills; stairways; unpaved riding/walking; squareness
- Victory donuts!
Square Town/Town Square
Los Angeles today is an oddly-shaped thing - tentacles reaching toward the mountains and the sea, perforated
by smaller cities and unincorporated areas - but the first officially recognized boundaries for the city (at least
under American rule) were quite simple: a square, two leagues on a side, centered on the Plaza de Olvera.
The traces of that old boundary are still visible on maps, where street alignments shift and property lines are
arbitrarily sliced. From an appropriate vantage point - say, atop a particularly large hill - parts of the boundary can
be seen in person. In other places, it is a boundary not so much seen as felt: our movements are thwarted by the
awkward meshing of old and new street grids; the logic of travel is momentarily interrupted; the landscape
undergoes a subtle change of attitude or architectural style. And in a few places, where buzzing electrical lines
trace the path of the old city limits, the boundary can even be heard.
But as you may discover, there are many places where history has removed all traces of the old lines (arbitrary
and imaginary as they were) and the boundary can be reconstructed only with great effort.
We are willing to expend that effort.
"It's a bike ride," we say, and that's true. But the boundary has quite a few portions that are not especially
amenable to riding - at some times because the terrain is too steep, at others because there is no road, at others
still because there is not even any land. We are not yet ready to ask that you swim, but do expect some hiking.
Talk, talk, talk...
Check out our new web site!
(and join the mailing list!)
The hacienda must be built.