I'm a bit of a sugar nazi when it comes to kids, but I maintain my reputation with the cool crowd by blaming our sugar prohibition on my wife since she's a sugar jihadist. She has the three year old so brainwashed that he thinks a milkshake consists of: Milk, mango, and KALE. Is that not a form of child abuse?
I once blended him one of his mother's "milkshakes" and he scolded me that it wasn't "green" enough. That is the textbook definition of Stockholm Syndrome.
This is why it took me a couple days to happen upon what should've been the obvious solution to escaping the one hundred degree temperatures in DTLA: Plying the boys with sugar while lounging in an artificially cooled environment.
Ice cream was the straightforward choice, but that would've required me googling "Divorce Attorneys Los Angeles" while finishing off my waffle cone. Some sugar might be tolerated, but too much deviation from the party line could get me sent to the gulag. I seriously considered enjoying a scoop of cookie dough ice cream while teaching my son how to lie to his mother, but I need to keep that parenting tool in my back pocket for the day I really need it. I also wanted an establishment large enough to explore with the the Little Dictator and his buddy. Which is a nice way of saying I wanted to kill extra time, so a charming little bakery wasn't going to cut it.
I needed The Millenium Biltmore Los Angeles. It is the grand, old money hotel of DTLA. The Biltmore harkens back to the era of handmade craftsmanship with ornately carved woodwork covering every available surface. The hotel also has a central place in Hollywood history as a filming location for legendary films like Chinatown. During Hollywood's golden age, the property even hosted the Academy Awards.
The Biltmore may seem like an inappropriate venue for entertaining a pair of three year olds. My belief is that as long as the kiddos are well-behaved, the bean counters are happy to get the revenue. As a teenage busboy, I worked at a fancy ladies social club (insert eye-roll here) where I lost any reverence for the artificial construct of different classes of people or establishments. Then again I live in a bubble of white male entitlement, so take from that what you will.
On our bike ride to the hotel we passed by a much admired construction site:
In the first floor galleries of the Biltmore, we happened upon a wall-sized photo of one of the Academy Award ceremonies. Centered in the picture below is Walt Disney.
To a three year old brain, the world in which they live appears to have created itself. They can't fathom that an architect designed the buildings we bike past. Or that someone designed and manufactured the cranes constructing those buildings. I really enjoyed having a conversation with the boys about how Mickey Mouse and Disneyland came from that man's imagination. What could the boys create with their imaginations?
Following our tour, we settled into the Rendezvous Court for some lemonade and yogurt parfait:
The kind man who runs the food counter took excellent care of us. Once we sat in our plush seats at a table, the boys needed a minimum of "inside voice" reminders. All in all, they behaved like little gentleman as they enjoyed their snacks.
Following our five star adventure we got to whisk past the gridlock in our own protected bike lane along Los Angeles Street on our way to Union Station.
This is what bike infrastructure is supposed to look like. Bravo, city of L.A. Now perhaps you could extend it more than the two blocks from City Hall to Union Station?
The following day we enjoyed a snack and some reading at the Central Library (If you are my wife then those muffins are definitely sugar free).
Due to the extreme heat, I mostly stuck to riding along the sidewalk at pedestrian safe speeds on the shady side of the street on the way to the Biltmore which was still much faster than driving the same route in downtown traffic. From the Biltmore to Union Station we took the excellent bike lane on Main Street to the bike lane on 1st before turning into the protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street.
Below is the route through the 2nd street tunnel to Vista Hermosa. Once again we traveled at jogging speeds on the shady sidewalk until we reached the 2nd street tunnel which has bollard protected bike lanes running through it. The bike lanes extend almost the entire way to the park:
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