[Photos by Elizabeth Daniels]
The area’s newest green space is open and it’s a stunner. Santa Monica’s $ 42.3 million Tongva Park, fronting Ocean Avenue and abutting City Hall, is currently in soft-open mode, with an official opening on October 19. It’s hard to believe that this 6.2-acre space was basically a parking lot last year–James Corner Field Operations, the people behind New York’s High Line, built observation decks (some 18 feet off the ground), winding walkways, rolling hills, expansive lawns, picnic tables, and lots of play areas for kids. Corner’s hand is evident, not only from the warm wood touches on the benches to the tasteful plantings and, most importantly, the ideal use of space. One of the nicest aspects are the seven pedestrian entrances, making it feel like a real urban park rather than many LA green spaces that are surrounded by parking and garage entrances. Tongva made fans out of the early crowds assembling at the space (the only gripe was the unwelcoming signs that list the 101 things prohibited in the park). Representatives from the city’s engineering department are discussing widening the sidewalks facing the ocean, as well as those on Colorado, a street getting rejiggered along with the opening of the Expo Line light rail.
· Tongva Park Archives [Curbed LA]