Secret Stairs author, Charles Fleming, led a group of about 50 stairwalkers to Boyle Heights for CicLAvia. Once a month Charles leads a stairwalk and for the month of October he decided to do the stairwalk to coincide with CicLAvia.
My friends and I took the metro to Mariachi Plaza, where we met Charles and the other stairwalkers. Mariachi Plaza is named for the many mariachi players who show up and play waiting to be hired for a gig. It’s kind of similar to the day workers outside Home Depot, except on a smaller scale.
CicLAvia started in Bogota Columbia more than thirty years ago and has spread to the US. This is the fifth year it has been held in Los Angeles. It started off in downtown Los Angeles and this year it expanded to include Chinatown and Boyle Heights. CicLAvia gives people a chance to come out and enjoy bike riding, skating, skateboarding or even walking without traffic. Vendors line parts of the route selling everything from food to clothes. LA times reported that CicLAvia this might become a monthly event in Los Angeles.
When we arrived at Boyle Heights, there were few bicyclists and the roads were being blocked off. Even the driveways of the residences were being closed off with the yellow tape to ensure no one enters the street from the driveways.
Charles took us to Hollenbeck Park which is a beautiful park with a lake, geyser like fountains, a walking path around the lake, a wooden bridge, ducks, geese, and several kinds of trees. This park was named after John Hollenbeck, founder of First national Bank. He died in 1885 and in 1892, his widow, along with then mayor of the city, William Workman, donated 21 acres to the city. Thanks to Hollenbeck who wanted to plant several different kinds of trees in the park, you can see pine, sycamore, oak, jacaranda, palm, banana and magnolia trees, to name a few. The Golden State 5 freeway runs over the park and you can see the supports jutting out of the lake. It is interesting to look up and see the freeway overhead.
I have never seen this park, never even knew it existed and I was pleasantly surprised. These stairwalks never fail to please and again I discovered something new and beautiful.