City parks festoon metropolises the world over, but consider how many you can actually see from pretty much anywhere, regardless of where you happen to be standing in said city.
The number's not high, right? Because pristine rectangles dominated early park design, and pristine rectangles, as pretty as they are, tend to be rather flatter.
Not Griffith Park, though. "Flatter" is not a word we'd apply to our scrubby, hill-pretty, observatory-cool, Hollywood Sign-y, puma-riffic, carousel-charming, zoo- and museum-plentiful wild space, a space that can be seen from countless spots, high and low, around Los Angeles.
This unusual metro-wild place is a major player in providing our always needed urban elbow room, and it gets a major birthday party, in its honor, on Tuesday, Dec. 16.
The place: Griffith Observatory. The time? Be there from 4 to 5 p.m.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge and LA Parks and Rec staffers'll turn out to say words of a stirring and important nature about this oxygen-producing expanse, which is marking its 118th anniversary. Colonel Griffith J. Griffith bequeathed 3,015 acres of his Rancho Los Feliz estate to we Angelenos on Dec. 16, 1896, ensuring that we'd all have a free-to-see place to retreat to, for decades and now centuries to come, whenever we needed to clear the mind and exercise the body, simultaneously.
The park stands at over 4,210 acres. It's been a setting for films, a place to play golf, to trot by horseback, to hike, to meditate, to spy wildlife. It's one of the largest in the world, city park-wise, and, as mentioned, one of the handful that rises up, up, up, above the city, serving as a visual reminder that we all can take a breather when needed.
True, it is getting a little shower for its birthday, but call that part of the celebration. We humans often walk into a shower of confetti or balloons on our birthday; why shouldn't Griffith Park, at 118, also enjoy a little rain, which is, of course, the natural world's own celebratory shower?
Happy 118, big park.