Monday, August 7, 2017

How to Be a New York Soccer Fan In Los Angeles -- 2017 Edition

The New York Red Bulls do not play away to the signature team of Major League Soccer, the Los Angeles Galaxy, this season. New York City FC do, this coming Sunday.

Before You Go. Unlike the Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas, the Los Angeles area has very consistent weather. It's a nice place to visit. If you don't mind earthquakes. And mudslides. And wildfires. And smog.

Check the weather forecast on the Los Angeles Times' website before you, so you'll know what to bring. Currently, projections for next Sunday are in the mid-80s in daylight, and the high 60s at night.

Los Angeles is in the Pacific Time Zone, which is 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. You know the jokes about Los Angeles sports teams: People show up late, leave early, and are not particularly passionate in between. This is not the case with the Galaxy, as soccer seems to overcome the fans' natural SoCalness. But for all the team's success, and for all its appeals to the area's ethnicities, particularly the Mexicans, they don't do particularly well at the box office. They averaged 23,392 fans per game last season, and are averaging only 22,415 this season, only 85.5 percent of capacity. This means getting tickets should not be much of an issue.

Unlike most teams, Galaxy management does not set aside a particular section for visiting fans. Nor are they prohibited from sitting wherever they want. But they do recommend avoiding the designated Galaxy supporters' sections: 121, 122 and 123 in the north end and 137 and 138 in the southeast corner.

Midfield seats are $55, Sideline seats $46, Endline seats $38, General Admission $30.

Getting There. It's 2,779 miles from Times Square in New York to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and 2,793 miles from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey to the StubHub Center in Carson, California. In other words, if you're going, you're flying.

After all, even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don'’t get pulled over for speeding, you’ll still need over 2 full days. Each way.

But, if you really, really want to drive... Take Interstate 80 West across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Just before leaving Nebraska for Colorado you'll get on Interstate 76, and shortly before reaching Denver you'll get on Interstate 70 West. You’ll take that all the way to its end in Utah, where you’ll take Interstate 15 South. You'll go through a short strip of Arizona before getting into Nevada (where you’ll see the Strip, Las Vegas), before getting into California.

Assuming you're not going to a hotel first (and you really should), you’ll get off I-15 at Exit 109A, and get on Interstate 10 West, which will take you into downtown Los Angeles.

Given an average speed of 60 miles an hour, you’ll be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2:45, Iowa for 5:15, Nebraska for 6 hours, Colorado for 7:15, Utah for 6 hours, Arizona for half an hour, Nevada for 2 hours, and California for 3 and a half hours hours; for a total of 46 hours and 30 minutes. Factor in rest stops, you’ll need more like 3 full days. And, remember, that’s just one way. And if you end up using Las Vegas as a rest stop, well, you might end up missing the series and end up, yourself, as what "stays in Vegas."

That's still faster than Greyhound and Amtrak. Greyhound will take about 68 hours, changing buses twice, $612 round-trip, although that can drop to $470 with advanced purchase. The station is at 1716 E. 7th Street, at Lawrence Street.

If you go by Amtrak, it's about 85 hours. You'd leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Friday, transfer to the Southwest Chief at 3:00 PM, and arrive and Union Station in Los Angeles at 8:15 AM Pacific Time on Sunday. It's $464 round-trip, Union Station is at Alameda & Arcadia Streets).

This is one time when a flights might be less expensive. If you play your cards right, you can get a round-trip flight for a little over $600. The LAX2US bus will take you, as its name suggests, from Los Angeles International Airport to Union Station, taking 45 minutes and costing $8.00; from there, bus and subway connections can be made to downtown. 

Once In the City. Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spain as a Catholic mission, and means "The Angels." The city continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and is now just under 4 million people, making it the 2nd-largest city in North America, behind New York. (Unless you count Mexico, and thus Mexico City, as "North America" instead of "Central America.") The metro area has about 18.6 million people, also 2nd to New York.

The "centerpoint" of the city, where east-west and north-south addresses begin, is 1st Street and Main Street. Numbered streets are east-west.

The Los Angeles Times is the leading (most-circulated) newspaper in the Western United States, and has long been known for a great sports section. The legendary columnist Jim Murray has been dead for some time now, but if you watch ESPN's Around the Horn, you'll recognize the names of Bill Plaschke and J.A. Adande.

The sales tax in the State of California is 7.5 percent, in the City of Los Angeles 9 percent. ZIP Codes in Los Angeles start with the digits 900 and 901, and the suburbs 902 through 918. The original Area Code was 213, but it is now used only for Downtown, and 323 now overlays it. 310 and 818 are used for the Western suburbs, 562 for the Southern suburbs, and 661 and 747 for the Northern suburbs.

A single ride on a bus or subway is $1.75. A 1-day pass is $7.00, and a 7-day pass is $25. Yes, L.A. has a subway now, the Metro, with Red, Blue, Green, Gold, Purple and Expo lines. (Expo? It goes from Los Angeles all the way to Montreal? No.)
Going In. Opened in 2003 and named the Home Depot Center until 2013, the official address of the 27,000-seat StubHub Center is 18400 Avalon Blvd. in Carson. No, the town was not named after Johnny Carson, but for an early L.A. civic father, George Henry Carson. It is, however, the hometown of actor Forest Whitaker, actor-singers Brandy and Ray J (Brandy Norwood and Willie Norwood Jr.), rapper The Game, rap group Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., Rams Super Bowl quarterback Vince Ferragamo, and, relevant to those of us from New York and New Jersey, former Jets receiver Wesley Walker.

The stadium is on the campus of California State University at Dominguez Hills, a.k.a. Cal State-Dominguez Hills or CSUDH, 14 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

Public transport is difficult. You'd have to take 2 buses: First, the 910 or 950 Silver Line from downtown to the Harbor Gateway Transit Center, then the 246 San Pedro-Point Fermin line. That will get you to the corner of Avalon Blvd. and Victoria Street, the northwestern corner of the stadium's property. 

If you're driving in from L.A. proper, the most direct route is to take Interstate 110, the Harbor Freeway, to West 190th Street, and turn left after the interchange. 190th becomes Victoria Street, and the stadium will be a mile and a half ahead, on your right. You're most likely to enter from the west. Parking is $15.
The field is natural grass, and is aligned north-to-south. At the northern end, there is a grassy rise that they call a "berm," and it can hold overflow crowds beyond the listed seating capacity of 27,000. (This makes it the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States.)
Feel the Berm.

From 2005 to 2014, the Gals (yes, they are nicknamed that) shared it with another MLS club, Chivas USA, operated by one of the leading Mexican teams, Club Deportivo Guadalajara, known as "Chivas." In 1949, someone nicknamed C.D. Guadalajara "Los Chivas Locas": The Crazy Goats. Much as the Democratic Party took the term "jackass" and made their symbol the donkey, and London's Tottenham and Amsterdam's Ajax ran with the perjorative references to an alleged Jewish fanbase that they received, C.D. Guadalajara decided to turn the insult into an actual nickname.

But aside from the regular-season title of the Western Conference in 2007, Chivas USA won nothing. After 10 seasons, and not making the Playoffs in the last 5, they were bought out by the league and folded, opening the door to a new club, Los Angeles FC.

And now, in the 2017, '18 and '19 seasons, the Galaxy will have to share their home field with the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers, until City of Champions Stadium opens in 2020. As Chris Tucker, the former Chairman of the LA Riot Squad (not the actor), recently put it, "Remember this lovely green pitch with no torn up trenches while you can."

The StubHub Center hosted the 2003 MLS All-Star Game, and the MLS Cup Final in 2003 (San Jose over Chicago), 2004 (DC over Kansas City), 2008 (the Red Bulls lost to Columbus), 2011 (L.A. over Houston), 2012 (L.A. over Houston again) and 2014 (L.A. over New England).

It's hosted 12 games by the national team, most recently a win over Canada on February 5, 2016, winning 8, losing 2 and drawing 2. It hosted 6 games of the 2003 Women's World Cup, including a 3-1 U.S. win over Canada, and the Final, in which Germany beat Sweden.

Last Summer, it hosted a match between the defending champions of England, Leicester City; and France, Paris Saint-Germain, which PSG won 4-0; and a preseason friendly in which London's Arsenal defeated Mexico's original Chivas 3-1.

It's also hosted high school football, international rugby, lacrosse, track & field competitions, boxing, mixed martial arts and concerts.

Food.  The Crossbar concession stand is in the southwest corner, and The Cocktail Bar in the southeast corner. Behind the West Stand, there's hot dog, pizza and Mexican food stands. Behind the East Stand, they have Nathan's, chicken sandwiches, pretzels, craft beers, and -- I swear, I'm not making this name up -- a stand serving BulletProof coffee, and ice cream.

Team History Displays. The Galaxy won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2000, and they also reached the Final in 1997. They are the only team to win 5 MLS Cups: 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014; and also reaching the Final in 1996 (the inaugural season, losing to D.C. United), 1999 (again losing to the D.C. Scum), 2001 and 2009. The 9 Finals is easily a league record. They've also won the Supporters' Shield 4 times: In 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2011. And they've won the U.S. Open Cup in 2001 and 2005 (the latter year giving them the U.S. version of The Double), and also reached the Final in 2002 and 2006.

In other words, the Gals are the Yankees of MLS. They have their championship notations under the club seats and the scoreboard at the south end.


From the 2016 Arsenal-Chivas match

They have had some of soccer's biggest recent stars: U.S. national team stars Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas, Clint Mathis and Cobi Jones; Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan icon David Beckham; and now, feeding the longstanding image of America as "where soccer stars go to get one last payday before they retire," Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, Arsenal and Chelsea legend Ashley Cole, Tottenham Hotspur "legend" Robbie Keane, AC Milan star Nigel de Jong, and Robbie Rogers, an American star who is one of the few openly gay athletes in major league sports.

But they have retired only 1 number: The 13 of Cobi Jones, who played with them from their inaugural season in 1996 until 2007, and won the 2002 and '05 MLS Cups with them. There is no display for his number in the fan-viewable areas. He now broadcasts for them. (The 23 that Beckham wore with L.A. is not currently being worn, but Donovan's 10 is now worn by Giovanni dos Santos, who previously played for Barcelona and Tottenham.)

The rivalry between the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes is called the California Clásico, and it may be the nastiest in MLS, taking on, as it does, the old enmity between Northern California and Southern California: The San Francisco Seals vs. the Los Angeles Angels in the old Pacific Coast League, the Giants and the Dodgers from 1958 onward, the 49ers and the Rams, the Golden State Warriors and the Lakers, the San Jose Sharks and the Kings, San Francisco's old money (old by Western standards, anyway) vs. L.A.'s nouveau riche, Bay Area liberalism and Southern California conservatism (which overlooks L.A.'s black, Hispanic, gay and entertainment communities).

There's no trophy that goes back and forth with each meeting, or to the team that wins the season series. At this stage of the 2017 season, the Galaxy have won 34 games, the Earthquakes 25, and there's been 21 draws.

The Galaxy-Chivas USA matchup was known as the SuperClasico, but no one was kidding anyone: They may have shared a stadium as well as a market, but Galaxy fans would much rather beat the Quakes. By the time Chivas folded, the rivalry was a wipeout: Galaxy 22 wins, Chivas only 4, 8 draws.

Stuff. The Team LA Store is located next to the Southwest Box Office at the main entrance, at 184th and Avalon. It carries both Galaxy and U.S. national team gear.

Contrary to its image as a city whose "idea of culture is yogurt," there is a Los Angeles literary tradition. Much of it is in the "hard-boiled detective story," as pioneered by Raymond Chandler through his creation of the private eye Philip Marlowe. Writers influenced by the city include Nathanael West, Charles Bukowski, James Ellroy, Michael Connelly, Walter Mosley and Bret Easton Ellis. And the Los Angeles Times has produced many fine sportswriters.

But as for books about the Galaxy? The only one you are likely to find is sportswriter Grant Wahl's 2009 opus The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer AmericaBeckham was still with the Gals at the time, and he did help them win the title in 2011 and 2012. But, the truth is, the Beckham experiment failed: It wasn't his star power that hooked Americans on soccer, not even on the West Coast, any more than our own Thierry Henry did so on the East Coast. It was the growth of European soccer on cable TV, plus the U.S. team's performances at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, plus the willingness of ESPN, NBC and Fox to show MLS and international matches, that did that. To finally turn the old status of "the next great American sport" from the joke that it's been for 50 years into a reality, Beckham was, essentially, a bystander.

There are commemorative DVDs available for each of the Gals' 5 MLS Cup wins, and, if you're interested, they should be available at the Team LA Store.

During the Game. With the traditional North vs. South rivalry in California in mind, Galaxy fans hate the San Jose Earthquakes, and their rivalry is called the California ClásicoThey also don't much like the other Pacific Coast teams: The Portland Timbers, the Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps. However, the traditional New York vs. Los Angeles rivalry doesn't seem to spill over into MLS. Neither Red Bulls nor NYCFC fans should face anything other than the usual visiting team hostility (which is tame by European and Latin American standards). Wearing opposition colors should not be a problem.

The Galaxy, named for the "galaxy of stars" in Los Angeles and Hollywood, are not including a promotion for this game. They hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular. They have a mascot, an alien named Cozmo, his name tying into the space-age theme of the Galaxy name.
The Angel City Brigade are in Sections 121 and 122, and the Galaxians in 123, both in the stadium's north end. The L.A. Riot Squad is in 137 and 138 in the southeast corner.

After the National Anthem, the Riot Squad invoke the film The Karate Kid, led by a fan they call "Sensei":

SENSEI: Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?
RIOT SQUAD: No, Sensei!
SENSEI: Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it?
RIOT SQUAD: 
No, Sensei!
SENSEI: Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it?
RIOT SQUAD: 
No, Sensei!

They do the old standby, "I'm (name of city) 'til I die!" They do the old standby, "(name of city), we are here!" but sanitize it to, "Love your women and drink your beer!" They do the old standby, "One team in (name of city)" even though, with the dissolution of Chivas USA, there now really is only one team in L.A., although LAFC will start up next year.

Like us, to "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March, they sing, "We love ya, we love ya, we love ya, and where you go, we'll follow, we'll follow, we'll follow!" To the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," they sing, "We all cheer for the L.A. Galaxy!" To the classic opera tune "La Donna È Mobile," they still sing, "Oh, Landon Donovan!" They sing Dr. Dre's and Snoop Dogg's L.A. rap classic "Nuthin' But a G Thang," and they don't change a word.

Liverpool's Gerrard must have felt right at home with this one:

This is L.A., our city, our home
Los Angeles, you’ll never walk alone
Forever true we’ll stay in tribute to our city
No matter where we go, this is our home



And they use the tune of the Marine Corps Hymn to mock the opposition:

From the heart of Downtown Naperville
to the slums of San Jose
From the empty seats at Arrowhead
to deserted Tampa Bay
From the darkest swamps of Meadowlands
Down to Washington, D.C.
Oh, the best team in America
is the L.A. Galaxy!


Never mind that the Chicago Fire play in Bridgeview, not Naperville; that their own team's stadium is considerably closer to slums than that of the San Jose Earthquakes; that Sporting Kansas City haven't played at Arrowhead Stadium in 9 years; that the Tampa Bay Mutiny have been defunct for 15 years; and that the Red Bulls haven't played at the Meadowlands for 7 years. Hey, at least it rhymes, right?

After the Game. Because the StubHub Center is surrounded by a college campus, you won't be in any neighborhood, much less a bad one. As usual, don't provoke anyone, and you should be safe.

If you're looking for a postgame meal, snack, or even a pint, to the west, across Avalon Blvd., there's Overtime Bar & Grill, R & R Soul Food, and a Kentucky Fried Chicken. To the south, along University Drive, there's Louisiana Fried Chicken (not to be confused with either KFC or Popeye's), My Father's Barbecue, and a Baskin-Robbins. (This is not one of those B-R outlets that's attached to a Dunkin Donuts. They do have Dunkin in L.A., though.)

To the east, across Perimeter Road, inside a CSUDH building, there's a Panda Express and a Jamba Juice, although, being that it is in a campus building, and the game is likely to be late at night, these may not be open. 

In and around Los Angeles proper, there's some places that may interest you. A recent Thrillist article called Big Wangs the best sports bar in the State of California. In this case, "Wangs" is a countrified version of "wings," as in chicken wings. (Although a male rooster is sometimes called a "cock.") 801 S. Grand Avenue, downtown, near the Staples Center.

West 4th & Jane is owned by a New Yorker and is an L.A.-area haven for Met fans. 1432 4th Street, Santa Monica. Bus R10 from downtown L.A. Rick's Tavern On Main is the home of the L.A. area's Yankees fan club. 2907 Main Street in Santa Monica, 2 blocks in from the beach. Bus 733 from downtown. (While the 1970s sitcom Three's Company was set in Santa Monica, close to the beach, I cannot confirm that Rick's was the basis for the bar across from the apartment building, the Regal Beagle.)

O’Brien's Irish Pub at 2226 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica is the home of the local fan club of the New York Giants football team. Bus R10. (Although it's also in Santa Monica, it's 3 miles in from the beach and Rick's.) On The Thirty is the home of L.A. area Jets fans. 14622 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then transfer to Bus 150.

If your visit to Los Angeles is during the European soccer season (which this isn't), you can watch your favorite club at these locations:

* Arsenal, Glasgow Rangers and Juventus: The Fox & Hounds (that's plural), 11100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then Bus 150 or 240 to Ventura & Arch. If you don't see your club listed here, this place is your best chance of being able to see them.

* Liverpool and Celtic: Joxer Daly's, 11168 Washington, Blvd., Culver City. Bus 733.

* Manchester United: Rocco's Tavern, 1000 Gayley Avenue, Westwood. 

* Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan: The Greyhound, 5570 N. Figueroa Street, Highland Park. Metro Gold Line to Highland Park.

* Manchester City: The Rec Room, 12430 Riverside Drive, Valley Village. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then Bus 155 to Riverside & Whitsett.

* Everton: Ye Olde King's Head, 116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. Bus 733. There is also a bar called Ye Olde King's Head showing European soccer at 12969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then Bus 150 or 240 to Ventura & Ethel.

* West Ham United and Leicester City: Lucky Baldwin's Pub, 17 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park.

* Chelsea: They claim the Fox & Hounds, Joxer Daly's, and Lucky Baldwin's. Which means, along with "no history" and no class (note the lack of quotation marks there), they have no home.

* Real Madrid and Bayern Munich: Tom's Urban L.A. Live, 1011 S. Figueroa Street, downtown, across from the Staples Center.

* Barcelona: The Stocking Frame, 911 Hill Street, downtown. DASH Downtown B bus to Hill & Olympic.

* Borussia Dortmund: Cock 'N Bull Pub, 2947 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Bus 733 to Main & Marine.

* Internazionale: They had been meeting at Polentoni at 11800 Jefferson Blvd. -- Bus 110 to Culver City Transit Center -- but that's out of business now. It's been replaced by Rehyan Persian Grill. I cannot confirm that SoCal Nerazzurri still meet at that location.

* Paris Saint-Germain: Britannia Pub, 318 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. Bus 720 to Santa Monica & 4th.

Sidelights. The Los Angeles metropolitan area, in spite of not having Major League Baseball until 1958, has a very rich sports history. And while L.A. is still a car-first city, it does have a bus system and even has a subway now, so you can get around.

UPDATE: You will need it if you want to visit L.A. for the 2028 Olympics, which it has been awarded.

* Dodger Stadium. Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 1962, it has hosted 8 World Series (but none since 1988), and countless Cy Young Award wins and Rookies of the Year. It was also home to baseball's longest-serving broadcaster, who retired last year after 67 seasons in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. In his honor, the stadium's longtime address of 1000 Elysian Park Avenue was changed to 1000 Vin Scully Avenue.

It's about 2 miles north of downtown, in the Elysian Park neighborhood. Public transportation in L.A. is a lot better than it used to be, with the addition of the Metro -- and now, the Dodger Stadium Express bus. It will pick up fans at the Patsaouras Bus Plaza adjacent to the east portal of Union Station and continue to Dodger Stadium via Sunset Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Avenue. Service will be provided starting 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the games, and will end 45 minutes after the end of the game. Service will be provided every 10 minutes prior to the start of the game and run approximately every 30 minutes throughout the game. Dodger tickets will be honored as fare payment to ride the service. Those without a ticket will pay regular one-way fare of $1.75.

Dodger Stadium hosted an NHL Stadium Series game on January 25, 2014, a local rivalry game, with the Anaheim Ducks beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. In 2013, it hosted games of the International Champions Cup soccer tournament, featuring hometown team Los Angeles Galaxy and renowned European teams Real Madrid, Everton and Juventus. Arsenal hasn't played there, but in the film Rock of Ages, set in L.A. in 1987, Tom Cruise played the lead singer of a band named Arsenal, who played the stadium in the film's closing scene.
Landon Donovan playing for L.A. Galaxy in 2013

The Beatles played their next-to-last concert at Dodger Stadium on August 28, 1966, before concluding their last tour up the coast at Candlestick Park the next night. It didn't host another concert until 1975, when Elton John sold it out on back-to-back nights (wearing a sequined Dodger jersey designed by Bob Mackie), and then not again until the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour. Pope John Paul II delivered a Mass there in 1987, and the Three Tenors held a concert there, telecast worldwide. During a 2008 concert, Madonna brought on Britney Spears (they didn't kiss this time) and Justin Timberlake as guests.

* Site of Wrigley Field. Yes, you read that right: The Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels played at a stadium named Wrigley Field from 1925 to 1957, and the AL’s version played their first season here, 1961.

The PCL Angels were a farm team of the Chicago Cubs, and when chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. bought them both, he built the Angels' park to look like what was then known as Cubs Park, and then named this one, and then the Chicago one, Wrigley Field. So this ballpark was Wrigley Field first.

The Angels won 12 PCL Pennants, the last 5 at Wrigley: 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1916, 1918, 1921, 1926, 1933, 1934, 1947 and 1956. Their rivals, the Hollywood Stars, shared it from 1926 to 1935. It hosted a U.S. soccer loss to England in 1959 and a draw vs. Mexico the next year.

Its capacity of 22,000 was too small for the Dodgers, and the AL Angels moved out after 1 season. Torn down in 1966, it lives on in ESPN Classic rebroadcasts of Home Run Derby, filmed there (because it was close to Hollywood) prior to the 1960 season. Mickey Mantle was a fixture, but the only other guy thought of as a Yankee to participate was Bob Cerv (then with the Kansas City A's). Yogi Berra wasn’t invited, nor was Moose Skowron, nor Roger Maris (who had just been acquired by the Yankees and whose 61 in '61 season had yet to happen). And while Willie Mays, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges were on it, and all did briefly play for the Mets, the Mets hadn't gotten started yet, so no one on the show wore a Met uniform.

42nd Place, Avalon Blvd., 41st & San Pedro Streets. Metro Red Line to 7th Street/Metro Center station, transfer to Number 70 bus. Be careful: This is South Central, so if you're overly nervous, you may want to skip this one.

* Gilmore Field. Home to the Hollywood Stars, this 13,000-seat park didn't last long, from 1939 to 1957. A football field, Gilmore Stadium, was adjacent. The Stars won 5 Pennants, the last 3 at Gilmore: 1929, 1930, 1949, 1952 and 1953. CBS Television City was built on the site. 7700 Beverly Blvd. at The Grove Drive. Metro Red Line to Vermont/Beverly station, then either the 14 or 37 bus.


* Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Probably the most famous building in the State of California, unless you count San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge or the HOLLYWOOD sign as "buildings." The University of Southern California (USC) has played football here since 1923. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) played here from 1928 to 1981, when they inexplicably moved out of the Coliseum, and the city that forms their name, into the Rose Bowl, a stadium that could arguably be called USC's other home field.

The Coliseum was the centerpiece of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. It was home to the NFL’s Rams from 1946 to 1979 and the Raiders from 1982 to 1994, and to a number of teams in other leagues, including the AFL's Chargers in 1960 before they moved down the coast to San Diego.

The Dodgers played here from 1958 to 1961 while waiting for Dodger Stadium to be ready, but the shape of the field led to a 251-foot left-field fence, the shortest in modern baseball history. They got the biggest crowd ever for an official baseball game, 92,706, for Game 5 of the 1959 World Series; 93,103 for Roy Campanella's testimonial, an exhibition game against the Yankees on May 7, 1959; and the largest crowd for any baseball game played anywhere in the world, 115,300, for a preseason exhibition with the Red Sox on March 29, 2008, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in L.A.
The 2008 exhibition game

A crowd of 102,368 on November 10, 1957, for a rivalry game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, stood as a regular-season NFL record until 2005. Ironically, the first Super Bowl, held here on January 15, 1967 (Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 17) was only 2/3rds sold -- the only Super Bowl that did not sell out. Super Bowl VII (Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7) was also played here.

It has hosted 20 matches of the U.S. soccer team -- only Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington has hosted more. The U.S. has won 9 of those games, lost 7 and drawn 4. In 1967, as 2 separate leagues bid for U.S. soccer fans, it hosted the Los Angeles Wolves and the Los Angeles Toros. Those leagues merged to form the original North American Soccer League, but the Coliseum only hosted that league in 2 more seasons, for the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1977 and 1981.

Officially, the Coliseum now seats 93,607, and the Rams arrived in 2016, and will remain through 2019, before their new stadium in Inglewood is ready. Oddly, since both the Rams and the Raiders moved away after the 1994 season, the Oakland Raiders seem to be the most popular NFL team in Los Angeles County, but the Chargers, even when they were 90 miles away in San Diego, were the most popular team in Orange County.

* Banc of California Stadium and site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Next-door to the Coliseum, the Sports Arena it opened in 1959, and hosted the Democratic Convention the next year, although John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech at a packed Coliseum, debuting his theme of a "New Frontier."

The NBA's Lakers played here from 1960 to 1967, the NHL's Kings their first few home games in 1967 before the Forum was ready, the NBA's Clippers from 1984 to 1999, the ABA's Stars from 1968 to 1970, the WHA's Sharks from 1972 to 1974, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Final Fours (both won by UCLA, the former over North Carolina and the latter over Florida State), USC basketball from 1959 to 2006, and UCLA basketball a few times before Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965 and again in 2011-12 due to Pauley’s renovation.

Due to its closeness to Hollywood studios, the Sports Arena has often been used for movies that need an arena to simulate a basketball or hockey game, a prizefight (including the Rocky films), a concert, or a political convention. Lots of rock concerts have been held here, and Bruce Springsteen, on its stage, has called the building "the joint that don't disappoint" and "the dump that jumps."

The Sports Arena jumps no more. It was torn down late last year, so that Banc of California Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium for the new Los Angeles FC could be built on the site, with the intention of opening for the 2018 MLS season.

3900 Block of S. Figueroa Street, just off the USC campus in Exposition Park. The California Science Center (including the space shuttle Endeavour), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the California African American Museum are also there, and the Shrine Auditorium, former site of the Academy Awards, is but a few steps away. Number 40 or 42 bus from Union Station. Although the Coliseum and the Sports Arena are on the edge of South Central, you will probably be safe.

* Rose Bowl. Actually older than the Coliseum by a few months, it opened in 1922 and, except for 1942 (moved to Durham, North Carolina for fear of Japanese attacks on the Pacific Coast right after Pearl Harbor), it has hosted the Rose Bowl game every New Year’s Day (or thereabouts) since 1923. As such, it has often felt like a home away from home for USC, Michigan and Ohio State. UCLA has used it as its home field since the 1982 season.

It hosted 5 Super Bowls, including the first ones won by the Raiders (XI) and Giants (XXI), plus the all-time biggest attendance for an NFL postseason game, 103,985, for Super Bowl XIV (Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Rams 19, the "home" field advantage not helping the Hornheads). And it hosted the 1983 Army-Navy Game, with Hollywood legend Vincent Price serving as the referee. The transportation of the entire Corps of Cadets, and the entire Brigade of Midshipmen, was said to be the largest U.S. military airlift since World War II.

It's hosted 18 games of the U.S. soccer team, most recently a loss to Mexico last October 10; and several games of the 1994 World Cup, including a Semifinal and the Final, in which Brazil beat Italy on penalty kicks. It also hosted several games of the 1999 Women's World Cup, including the Final, a.k.a. the Brandi Chastain Game. It was home to the Los Angeles Galaxy from their 1996 inception to 2002, including the 2000 CONCACAF Champions League and 2002 MLS Cup wins.
The Rose Bowl during the 1999 Women's World Cup Final

In NASL play, it hosted the Los Angeles Wolves in 1968, and the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1978 and 1979. They played at Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College in 1974, their 1st season, when they won the NASL title; and Murdock Stadium, at El Camino Junior College, in 1975 and '76. Yes, the defending champions of America's top soccer league played at a junior college. This was what American soccer was like in the Seventies.

Rose Bowl Drive & Rosemont Avenue. Number 485 bus from Union Station to Pasadena, switch to Number 268 bus.

* Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion. Following their 1964 National Championship (they would win it again in 1965), UCLA coach John Wooden wanted a suitable arena for his ever-growing program. He got it in time for the 1965-66 season, and it has hosted 9 more National Championships, making for 11 banners (10 coached by Wooden).

The building was named for an oil magnate who was also a Regent of the University of California system, whose donation to its building went a long way toward making it possible. Edwin Pauley was a friend of, and appointee to several offices by, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, but the student protests of the 1960s led him to switch parties and support Ronald Reagan for Governor.

Speaking of politics, Pauley Pavilion was the site of the 2nd debate of the 1988 Presidential campaign, where CNN anchor Bernard Shaw asked the question that shattered the campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis – not that the Duke helped himself with his answer. Oddly, Dukakis chose to hold held his Election Eve rally there, despite being a Bostonian. (In contrast, Boston’s JFK held his Convention in the Coliseum complex but his Election Eve rally at the Boston Garden.)


Metro Purple Line to Wilshire/Normandie station, switch to the 720 bus, then walk up Westwood Plaza to Strathmore Place. "Westwood" is the name of the neighborhood that UCLA is in, and Coach Wooden was known as "the Wizard of Westwood."


A few steps away is Drake Stadium, the track & field facility that was home to 1960 Olympic Decathlon champion Rafer Johnson and another UCLA track star you might've heard of, named Jackie Robinson. And also his brother Mack Robinson, 1936 Olympic Silver Medalist.

On the way up Westwood Plaza, you'll pass UCLA Medical Center, now named for someone who died there, Ronald Reagan. Wooden, John Wayne and Michael Jackson also died there. The UCLA campus also has a Dykstra Hall, but it wasn't named after Lenny Dykstra.

* The Forum. Home of the Lakers and the Kings from 1967 to 1999, built by their then-owner, Jack Kent Cooke, who went on to sell them and buy the NFL's Washington Redskins. From 1988 to 2003, it was named the Great Western Forum, after a bank. The Lakers appeared in 14 NBA Finals here, winning 6, with the Knicks clinching their last title over the Lakers here in 1973. The Kings appeared in just 1 Stanley Cup Finals here, in 1993, losing it to the Montreal Canadiens.

Now owned by the Madison Square Garden Corporation, thus run by James Dolan, which means it's going to be mismanaged. Elvis Presley sang here on November 14, 1970 and May 11, 1974. The Forum is not currently being used by any professional team, but was recently the stand-in for the Sunshine Center, the arena in the ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine. 3900 W. Manchester Blvd. 


* City of Champions Stadium. This is the current name (which will almost certainly be tossed aside for a corporate one) for the project to build a new stadium for the Rams in Inglewood, on the site of the Hollywood Park horse racing track.

Set to seat 70,000, it will have a retractable roof, and be expandable to 100,000 for Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours. It is scheduled to open for the Rams and the Chargers in time for the 2020 NFL season.

It has been awarded Super Bowl LVI, which will be played on February 6, 2022. If the U.S. ever gets to host another World Cup (the next available one is 2026), it would likely be a site, possibly even for the Final (as the Rose Bowl was in 1994), although, as a New York/New Jersey guy, I would hope it would be at the Meadowlands..

Prairie Avenue and Arbor Vitae Street, across Pincay Drive from the Forum. For both facilities, use Metro Silver Line to Harbor Transitway station, switch to Number 115 bus. (Be careful, this transfer is in South Central.)


Before the Rams, the Los Angeles Buccaneers were admitted to the NFL in 1926, but were a "traveling team," and never played a game in Los Angeles. They were made up of players from California colleges, but were based in Chicago. The Los Angeles Wildcats of the 1st American Football League were the same deal, a traveling team made up of West Coast athletes, naming them for George "Wildcat" Wilson of the University of Washington. Both teams folded the next year.

That same year, Abe Saperstein would found a basketball team in Chicago, but, like the Bucs and the Cats, make them a traveling team, and name them for a place that wasn't their real home: Since they were all-black, he named them the Harlem Globetrotters.

* Staples Center. This new downtown arena has been home to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings since 1999. The Lakers have won 5 Championships here, to go with the 6 they won at the Forum, and the 5 they won in Minneapolis. The Clippers, as yet, have won 2 Division Championships, but have never reached a Finals in any city since their founding in 1970 (as the Buffalo Braves, San Diego or L.A.). The Kings finally won a Stanley Cup in 2012, although, as a Devils fan, I'm trying to put that fixed Finals out of my mind. They've now won another, although, if you're a Ranger fan, you may want to do the same.

According to a recent New York Times article, there is not one place where the Clippers are more popular than the Lakers. Not in the City of Los Angeles, not in the County of Los Angeles, not in Orange County, not even in the Clippers' former home of San Diego (City or County). In fact, there are places in Southern California where the Chicago Bulls, as a holdover from the 1990s, have almost as many fans as the Clippers -- but not, despite all that LeBron James achieved, the Miami Heat or the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Staples Center holds the Grammy Awards every other year (alternating with New York), and hosted the 2000 Democratic Convention, which nominated Al Gore. 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The nearest Metro stop is Westlake/MacArthur Park, 8 blocks away.

(Yes, that MacArthur Park, the one where songwriter Jimmy Webb used to take the girlfriend who ended up leaving him and inspiring the song of the same title recorded by Richard Harris and later Donna Summer. Their relationship also inspired Webb to write "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Where's the Playground Susie" by Glen Campbell, and "The Worst That Could Happen" by Johnny Maestro's later group, the Brooklyn Bridge. The worst that could happen there now, you don't want to know: Since the 1980s the park has been a magnet for gang violence, although this was significantly reduced in the 2000s.)

* Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Home of the Angels since 1966, and of the Rams from 1980 until 1994, it was designed to look like a modernized version of the old Yankee Stadium, before that stadium's 1973-76 renovation. The football bleachers, erected in 1979, were demolished in 1997 and replaced with a SoCal-esque scene that gives the place some character. Unfortunately, the old "Big A" scoreboard that stood in left field from 1966 to 1979 was moved out to the parking lot, and now stands as a message board.

It was known as Anaheim Stadium from 1966 to 1997, and Edison International Field of Anaheim from 1998 to 2003. 2000 E. Gene Autry Way at State College Boulevard. Metrolink's Orange County Line and Amtrak share a train station just to the north of the stadium.

* Honda Center. Previously known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, it is across the railroad, the Orange Freeway and Katella Avenue from Angel Stadium. It has been home from the beginning of the franchise in 1993 to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks – formerly the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and I still tend to call them the Mighty Dorks and the Mighty Schmucks.

The Clippers, with their typical luck, had to move one of their few home Playoff games there in 1992 during the South Central riot. It also hosted the NCAA's hockey version of the Final Four, the Frozen Four, in 1999. 2695 E. Katella Avenue. Anaheim Metrolink stop.

* Titan Stadium. On the campus of California State University, Fullerton, this 10,000-seat facility is better known for soccer, having been used for NCAA Tournament games, U.S. Open Cup matches by the Los Angeles Galaxy, and 8 games by the U.S. national team -- which is undefeated there, winning 4 and drawing 4. 800 N. State College Blvd. Metrolink Blue Line from L.A. to Buena Park, then Number 24 bus. Or Number 57 bus from Angel Stadium.


* Veterans Memorial Stadium. This 11,600-seat stadium, opening in 1948, was the home field for the football program at California State University at Long Beach, a.k.a. Cal State-Long Beach, CSU-Long Beach or Long Beach State, from 1955 until the program was folded in 1991.

On April 28, 1957, it was the site of the 1st game for the U.S. soccer team against Mexico on home soil. Of the 10 previous meetings, starting at the 1934 World Cup, 1 (the 1st ) was in Italy, 1 was in a tournament in Cuba, and the rest were in Mexico City. It was a qualifier for the 1958 World Cup, and it didn’t go so well: About 12,500 fans attended, most of them Mexicans coming over the border or Mexican-Americans choosing heritage over homeland, and Mexico won 7-2. Aside from that 1st match in 1934, the U.S. would not beat Mexico until 1980.

Like the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, it is locally known as simply "The Vet." 5000 E. Lew Davis Street, about 19 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Not easy to get to by public transportation: Bus 910 or 950 to Harbor/Century Transitway Station, then Metro Green Line to Lakewood Blvd., then Bus 266 to Lakewood & Michelson, then Bus 112 to Clark & Lew Davis.

* Gersten Pavilion. This 4,156-seat arena opened in 1981 as the home court for Loyola Marymount University, best known for their 1990 postseason run that included the death of Hank Gathers. For this reason, it is known as Hank's House. 1 LMU Drive. Bus 733 to Venice & Lincoln, then Bus 3 to Manchester & Loyola.

* Hollywood Bowl. This 17,376-seat outdoor amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background, is one of the best-known concert venues in the world. Opening in 1922, it should be familiar to anyone who’s seen the original 1937 version of A Star Is BornDouble Indemnity, Xanadu, and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Beatles played here on August 23, 1964, and again on August 29 & 30, 1965. 2301 N. Highland Avenue. Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station, then walk almost a mile up Highland.

* Academy Award ceremony sites. The Oscars have been held at:

** 1929, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 1930-43, alternated between the Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Blvd.; and the Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, downtown.

** 1944-46, Grauman's Chinese Theater (more about that in a moment).

** 1949-60, Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 1961-68, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (which also hosted The T.A.M.I. Show in 1964), 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica (Number 10 bus from Union Station).

** 1969-87, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Avenue, downtown.

** 1988-2001, Shrine Auditorium, 665. W. Jefferson Blvd. (Metro Silver Line to Figueroa/Washington, transfer to Number 81 bus; Elvis sang here on June 8, 1956.)

** 2002-present, Kodak Theater (which also hosted American Idol), 6801 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

All of these still stand, except the Ambassador, demolished in 2005. The site of a legendary nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, and filming site of a lot of movies, the last movie filmed there was Bobby, in honor of the building's real-life most tragic event, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. (Directed by Emilio Estevez, one of its stars was his father Martin Sheen, who may be the only actor ever to play both Jack and Bobby Kennedy, although he didn't play either in this film.)

In addition to the above, Elvis sang at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium on June 7, 1956; November 14 and 15, 1972; and April 25, 1976 (300 E. Ocean Blvd.); the Pan Pacific Auditorium on October 28 & 29, 1957 (7600 Beverly Blvd near CBS and the Gilmore stadiums, 1935-89); the Anaheim Convention Center on April 23, & 24, 1973 and November 30, 1976 (800 W. Katella Avenue, not reachable by public transit); and the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino on November 12 & 13, 1972, and May 10 & 13, 1974 (1949-81, demolished, 689 S. E Street, 58 miles east of downtown L.A.).

Oh yeah: He also sang at NBC's Burbank Studios, a complex which also includes, among other things, the studio where Johnny Carson from 1972 to 1992, and Jay Leno from then until 2014, hosted The Tonight Show. Elvis taped his "Comeback Special" there on June 24 and 25, 1968. 3000 W. Alameda Avenue. Metro Red Line to North Hollywood, then Bus 501 to Alameda & Olive.

The Los Angeles area is home to a few interesting museums, in addition to those mentioned at Exposition Park. The Getty Center is an art museum at 1200 Getty Center Drive, off I-405. The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, was founded by the Singing Cowboy and Angels founder-owner to celebrate and study the Western U.S. and Native Americans. (Metro Red Line, Hollywood/Western.) Also at Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory, at 2800 E. Observatory Avenue, should be familiar from lots of movies (including Rebel Without a Cause) and TV shows.

The Hollywood section of town (not a separate city) has a few interesting sites, and the studio tours may be worth it, but do yourself a favor and skip the tours of stars' homes. You’re probably not going to see any of the celebrities. You've got a better chance of seeing one back home on the streets of New York.

And you don't need to see the HOLLYWOOD sign. You might remember the shot of it in the ESPN film The Bronx Is Burning, when the Yankees went out to L.A. to play the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. Their shot of the sign was accurate: In 1977, it was falling apart, a genuine ruin. A year later, it was restored, but it’s still no big deal up close. It was meant to be seen from afar.

Grauman's Chinese Theater, with its cemented signatures and footprints of stars, is the centerpiece of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the legendary intersection of Hollywood Blvd. & Vine Street (6931 Hollywood Blvd., also at the Hollywood/Highland Metro stop).

Jackie Robinson grew up in Pasadena, at 121 Pepper Street. In a bit of foreshadowing, Pepper Street and Claremont Street are connected by an alley named Progress Lane. Pepper Street extends from Sunset Avenue, and at its foot is Brown Memorial AME Church, which the Robinsons attended. Gold Line from Union Station to Del Mar, then Bus 260 to Fair Oaks & Claremont. Be advised that this is still a private residence, not a museum dedicated to Jackie, and the people living there now will not want to be bothered.

Casey Stengel, the 1st manager of the Mets and the greatest manager of the Yankees, retired to Glendale, in Los Angeles County, and after his death on September 29, 1975, he was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. So was Don Drysdale, and early 1950s Brooklyn manager Chuck Dressen. 

Also laid to rest there are Lou Gehrig's successor Babe Dahlgren, football star turned actor Johnny Mack Brown, 1930s boxing champion Jimmy McLarnin, Chicago Cubs owners William Wrigley Jr. and Philip K. Wrigley, Laverne and Maxene Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, James Arness, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Clara Bow, Lon Chaney Sr., Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Sr. and Jr. and Sammy's widow Altovise, Walt Disney and other members of his family (he was not cryogenically frozen), W.C. Fields, Larry Fine (the other members of the Three Stooges are buried elsewhere in Los Angeles County), Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Rex Harrison, Phil Hartman, Michael Jackson, Ted Knight, Harold Lloyd, Chico and Gummo Marx (but not Groucho or Harpo), Aimee Semple McPherson, Tom Mix, Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Mary Pickford, Will Rogers, David O. Selznick, Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg, Red Skelton, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy. 1712 S. Glendale Avenue. Bus 90, 91, 92 or 94 from downtown.

Roy Campanella is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. So is another Hall-of-Famer associated with the Dodgers, Leo Durocher. So is John Roseboro, who succeeded Campy as Dodger catcher. So are John Wooden, Gene Autry, longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Steve Allen, Lucille Ball, David Carradine, Bette Davis, Annette Funicello, Marvin Gaye, Andy Gibb, Batman creator Bob Kane, Buster Keaton, Jack LaLanne, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Laughton, Stan Laurel (but not Oliver Hardy), Liberace, Ed McMahon, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Freddie Prinze, John Ritter, Telly Savalas, Lee Van Cleef, Dick Van Patten, Paul Walker and Jack Webb.

Despite his connections to L.A., Jackie Robinson is buried in Brooklyn, at Cypress Hills Cemetery, which is bisected by the Interborough Parkway, now named the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Gil Hodges is also buried in Brooklyn, at Holy Cross Cemetery. Pee Wee Reese is buried in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Duke Snider lived in Fallbrook, California during his retirement, and is buried there, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

If you're interested in American history, especially recent history, Southern California is home to 2 Presidential Libraries. Richard Nixon's is not far from Anaheim, built adjacent to the house where he was born in 1913 at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. in Yorba Linda, Orange County. Metrolink Orange County Line from Union Station to Fullerton, then Number 26 bus to Yorba Linda.

Nixon's "Western White House" at San Clemente can be reached by I-5 or by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Juan Capistrano (the former Spanish mission where, as the song goes, the swallows return on the first day of spring), and then transferring to the Number 191 bus. However, the house, which Nixon called La Casa Pacifica, is privately owned (no longer by the Nixon family), and is not open to the public. So unless you're a major Tricky Dick fan, I'd suggest skipping it, as you'd only be able to stand outside it.

Ronald Reagan's Presidential Library is at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley in Ventura County. (Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, about 130 miles west of Chicago.) Unfortunately, the Reagan Library is next to impossible to reach without a car.

Reagan's Western White House, Rancho del Cielo outside Santa Barbara, is owned by a private foundation that can be contacted for tours. The Reagans lived together at 668 St. Cloud Road, in the Bel Air section of L.A., until Ron's death in 2004. Nancy continued to live there until her death earlier this year. 668 St. Cloud Road, in Bel Air. Metro Red Line to Vermont & Sunset, then Bus 2 to Sunset & Bel Air, and then nearly a half-hour walk. It's been remarked that the ranch was his home, whereas anyplace they lived in "Hollywood" was her home.

The tallest building on the West Coast, for now, is the U.S. Bank Tower, formerly named the Library Tower. It stands at 1,018 feet at W. 5th Street & Grand Avenue downtown. The Wilshere Grand Tower will surpass it in 2017, at 1,100 feet -- unless a tower planned for San Francisco the same year ends up taller -- at 900 Wilshere Blvd. at Figueroa.

However, the 2 most famous tall buildings in Los Angeles are 444 S. Flower Street, at 5th Street, famous as the location for the law firm on L.A. Law; and City Hall, recognizable from LAPD badges, the early police series Dragnet, and as the stand-in for the Daily Planet building on the George Reeves Adventures of Superman series in the 1950s. 200 S. Spring Street at Main Street.

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, Dodger Stadium can be seen in lots of movies, including Superman Returns, where the Big Red S safely deposits a distressed airliner on the field. (A skyline for Metropolis was CGI'ed in behind the bleachers, where one would normally see the San Gabriel Mountains.) A space shuttle wasn't so lucky in The Core, crashing into the stadium.

But while it filled in for Anaheim Stadium in The Naked Gun (Reggie... must kill... the Queen), Rookie of the Year had a scene set at Dodger Stadium, but because they were filming all in Chicago, they used the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field as a stand-in for Dodger Stadium.

Among the sports-themed movies set and/or filmed in or around Los Angeles is the 1976 kids' baseball film The Bad News Bears, whose home field was Mason Park, 10500 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth, 29 miles northwest of downtown (Bus 92 to 1st & Olive, then Bus 164 to Victory & Woodman, then Bus 158 to Mason & Devonshire); and the basketball hustlers' film White Men Can't Jump, filmed at the courts at the Boardwalk in Venice Beach (Bus 733). 

Did I forget anything important? Oh yeah, Southern California's original tourist destination, outside of the Hollywood studios. Most people I've talked to who have been to both Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida have said that the Florida one is a LOT better. Anyway, the address is 1313 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, and if you're staying in Los Angeles, just drive down I-5. Public transportation is possible, but it's a mile and a half from the closest bus stop to Disneyland's gates.

*

So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow Metro fans in going coast-to-coast, and enjoy the Red Bulls-Galaxy matchup, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Southern California. Just don't yell out, "Go back to Brooklyn where you belong!" After all, these guys are the Galaxy, not the Dodgers.

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