“Just before visiting Los Angeles in summer 2008, I read a story in the Los Angeles Times about the opening of the first public park in downtown L.A. in more than 100 years. I was intrigued by the description of the park created at a former oil field in a low-income area where residents are less likely to have access to a free public park. I remember being amazed during the first visit at how well the area formerly described as a weed-infested, dusty lot had been transformed into an urban oasis with wonderful views of downtown Los Angeles.

Kristy Serratos in Vista Hermosa Park in April 2022, photographed by her husband, John Sowell.

(John Sowell)

“I love that Vista Hermosa Park provides free access to anyone who can walk, ride a bike or drive to it. I get great pleasure watching children of different ethnicities climb the rocks, play in the pond and the short waterfalls and on the soft toy snakes and turtles. I like to walk along the paths looking at the flowers and different trees that grow in the park. It’s a little harder to view downtown as some of the trees have grown a lot since Vista Hermosa opened.

“I got married two years ago and introduced my wife, Kristy, to the park on our last visit in 2022. It was fun to match up the scene from the 2013 music video ‘The Walker’ from Fitz and the Tantrums, where the character walks across the grass toward the city skyscrapers in the background. It was unmistakable the first time I saw the video that’s where that scene took place.”
— John Sowell, Boise, Idaho

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