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Classic L.A. to Z: U is for UNION STATION

Photograph courtesy of flickr/ShawnHenning

There’s a reason director Ridley Scott chose to set Blade Runner’s futuristic LAPD headquarters in the waiting room of Union Station (800 N. Alameda St., downtown). Travertine walls and terra-cotta tile floors give this vaulted 1939 structure—the last of the nation’s great rail stations—a grandeur that perfectly evokes a happier, more aspirational past. A mix of Dutch colonial, mission revival, and streamline moderne, the building’s architecture somehow hangs together, as if all that coming and going has blended the competing elements. In a sense, the station, with its ten train tracks and five island platforms, is like Los Angeles: Fed by many tributaries, it is often crowded and always diverse.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town