Long Beach by Bike 001: First Congregational Church
241 Cedar Ave.
I’ve lived in Long Beach, CA, for over 20 years now. I’ve mostly known the city by where the Skate Spots are, where to eat, and shop. But its architecture, its physical and visual history has eluded me. So, I’ve set out on my bike to explore the city’s landmarks and to see what I can see.
As I ride up Cedar Ave. from Broadway, I see that the First Congregational Church is under renovation. The streets are quiet except for the hungry and homeless shuffling in and out of Patterson Hall on the east side of the building where the church is welcoming, feeding, and providing other services such as health screening, first aid, email, and phone to those in need. As I ride by, one of them angrily calls me a name. I keep riding to the corner.
The asphalt of 3rd Street feels like a canyon cut through the steel and glass of luxury apartments, but really, it’s the opposite, the pavement was here first. It seems like it’s all new construction in this part of town, well, except for the church. This Sunday afternoon seems exceptionally quiet. I don’t see the people, but I see their buildings.
As I sit on my bike, catty-corner to the church, observing its Romanesque and Gothic-inspired architecture, I hear, then see a man in a wheelchair behind me empty his stomach onto the sidewalk. An acquaintance of his jumps back to avoid the splatter, then later uses a bottle of water to try to clean up after his friend.
While they’re still cleaning up, I ride off, through the quiet canyon, down 3rd Street towards the 710 Freeway and the LA River Bicycle Path.
Total Mileage: 21.20