In any of my many urban explorations and travels over my native city I’m that guy: the one who always stops and marvels upon discovery of a broken patch of asphalt that reveals a strata of brick roadway beneath it. The one who sees a bit of exposed trolley car track and sighs. I ride Angel’s Flight with my eyes closed. I stand at Los Angeles Plaza looking across the street and back through time when instead of a parking lot and freeway onramp stood a literal den of inequity and ill repute in the form of an alleyway called Calle de los Negros.
As a reveler in what lies beneath and a craver of historical context, all I had to do was see the cover and read the title of the new book by Glen Creason — the map librarian for the LA Public Library — and my response was Pavlovian. Seriously: one moment last month I was flipping through the current issue of Los Angeles magazine and there it was. Next thing I knew I was on Amazon pre-ordering it. I may or may not have been drooling.
Los Angeles in Maps, published by Rizzoli, arrived yesterday — all glorious 192 maptastic pages of it beginning with what’s believed to be the first published rendering of the area (1853) all the way up to a 2010 LA Times neighborhoods map.
I’ll spare you the OMG as you’ve either already clicked off to go get your own, or such awesomeness is just not as awesome to you as, say, free tix to Mudjunkeez at Spaceland or That Is Not Them That Is Us at Echoplex. But if you’re still here and need more input, allow me to direct you to LA Creek Freak, CicLAvia co-organizer and all-around incredible dude Joe Linton (a contributor to the book), who wrote about it here.
As an aside, the Library Foundation is hosting “Los Angeles in Maps: A Multimedia Journey” at the Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium October 28, featuring Creason and author D.J. Waldie. It’s probably standing room only and they’re not accepting any additional reservations online, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from trying to get in.