City Organizer: Steve Gerhardt
Walk Leaders: Steve Gerhardt (Walk Long Beach) Sean Warner (DLBA) Katie Rispoli Keaotamai (We are The Next)
Text by: Marcos Lopez
Photographs by: Katie Rispoli Keaotamai
Downtown Long Beach Is a very walkable city with rich history from its architecture to its public figures. However when walking around Downtown Long Beach, visitors and residents are unaware of this history. The walk sought to tell some of these fascinating stories through the lens of today’s built environment.
The walk began on the south-east corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pine Ave. This intersection was chosen because of its unique history with the city. The corner was home to the Jergins Trust Building, built in 1919. The Jergins tunnel was built underneath the building which allowed pedestrians to cross Ocean Boulevard safely to The Pike amusement park. The tunnel was successful and used by pedestrians until 1967, when it was closed during the widening of Ocean Boulevard. Although the building was demolished in 1988, the tunnel remains underneath Ocean Boulevard.
The Walk continued to the Promenade, an open air pedestrian walkway that connects the convention center and waterfront to the Downtown Core. The group stopped along the Promenade where the new Step Back viewers were recently installed. When passers-by peer into the viewers they see a historical photograph of the streetscape allowing comparison between now and then.
The walk ended at the City Place outdoor mall. City Place was highlighted because of the many transformations it has gone through. In 1999 the mall known as the Long Beach Plaza closed after only 20 years of operation. City Place opened in 2004 bringing in contemporary suburban style retail stores. City Place was not successful due to its perceived lack of authenticity and inability to attract a urban oriented consumer. Currently, City Place is going through a transformation to better connect it with the burgeoning Downtown in which it sits.