US Bank Tower in Los Angeles - what a view!
This year, a few months ago, the US Bank Tower - which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River - was opened up for visitors at the observation deck level. Being Los Angeles, of course, just opening up an observation deck was not enough. There is also a 45 foot long glass slide that visitors can use to rapidly descend from the 70th to the 69th floor, if taking the stairs or elevator just isn't your style!
The best part of the new attraction is the panoramic view of the Los Angeles Basin.
Los Angeles is a big, big city - with almost 19 million people in its metropolitan area.
One of the defining features is that the city is ringed by foothills, except for the coastline. The 'lake' at center-right, the author ventures (please feel free to correct), is Echo Park, which is lovely by day and famed for turning up the bodies of murder victims or drug users by night. No matter how you slice or dice it, behind the glamorous facade, Los Angeles still has grit. Surrounding Echo Park is a charming neighborhood of old-timey Victorian homes which has, of late, been targeted by a bit of a hipster revival.
The coastline is so far away from downtown Los Angeles that even on a clear day, like this one which we had the luck to enjoy, it's impossible to see any water. The city stretches out seemingly forever, a mash-up of architectural, economic and personal contradictions.
With its reputation in aerospace and film making, many people don't expect Los Angeles to also be a significant manufacturing and industrial hub. Rail yards, warehouses, highways and sprawling infrastructure connecting out to the rest of the country create a powerful incentive to locate near the "twin ports" of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Taken together, these two ports saw approximately 14.5 million TEUs of cargo last year.
As usual, it's a clear and sunny day and 76 degrees.
Helicopter launchpads below, airplanes at eye level - why not?
This very cool experience cost the developer almost $50 million in renovations.
Thanks for the incredible experience, Skyspace!