6.22.13: One If By Land, Two If By Bike

Before New York had The High Line, Paris created La Promenade Plantée aka La Coulée Verte, an elevated parkway that follows the old Vincennes railway line that was in active use between 1859 and 1969 and subsequently abandoned. Despite the blustery weather, the Promenade is filled activity: senior citizens strolling along the wooden walkway, tourists enjoying the slightly skewed views of the city, and puppies, homeless people and overly amorous young lovers fumbling around in the dense greenery. Something for everyone!

Later I hop on a Vélib’ (with over 20,000 bikes at 1800 stations throughout the city, this is the biggest bike-share program in the world) for a twilight ride around the city, ending up on a path beside the Seine heading toward the Tour Eiffel. There’s art, music, cafes, hangout and recreational areas made from recycled materials, more magnificent views of the city and tons of people enjoying public space on a summer night. Why do urban engagements that appear effortless here seem like impossible dreams back in LA?

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Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr travel the world, sharing movies and music with the masses. At home in Los Angeles, they facilitate community screenings and workshops at the Echo Park Film Center, a non-profit media arts organization.

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