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Los Angeles Valentine

Pierson X


Behind the Shot

“It was Valentine’s Day and I didn’t have any plans,” recalls Pierson. “The phone rang, and it was my friend. He told me, ‘I’m having a bad day. My girlfriend broke up with me three days ago, and I had planned a big thing. I can’t cancel, so do you want to be my Valentine?’

“He had reserved a helicopter tour of Los Angeles. Very romantic. I figured that the least I could do was step in and try to cheer him up.”

Among the sights the ex-girlfriend missed visible in this picture: the Wilshire Center, 1,100 feet tall and (73 stories). It’s the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. (The tower on the top counts as a structure; kinda sneaky, but it gets the record.)

US Bank Tower, the previous record holder at 1,018 feet and 73 floors. It appears taller than the nearby buildings because it’s on higher ground. The US Bank Tower was built to withstand an 8.3 Richter scale earthquake. It has the world’s highest helicopter landing pad, and the world's highest signage.

Los Angeles City Hall—at 454 feet, it was, by decree, the tallest building in Los Angeles until 1964. Seen in nearly every skyline shot of any movie depicting Los Angeles, City Hall was featured on TV in Adventures of Superman as the home of the Daily Planet.

Westin Bonaventure Hotel, designed by John C. Portman Jr., defined the 1970s. It has the most hotel rooms in all of Los Angeles. The outdoor elevators have plaques dedicated to the famous movies and TV shows filmed there, including In The Line of Fire, True Lies, and Interstellar.

Pierson adds: “This was February 2020, so things hadn’t closed down yet. In hindsight, this was one of the last times I saw traffic in Los Angeles until recently.”