Weeks of enforced hibernation in your own house can make it seem like you’ve been living in a fox hole, only occasionally peering over the side into the larger world, and then only with great trepidation. All that time being shut in does tend to focus your attention though. There is a surfeit of time for contemplation if nothing else. One “benefit” is how we find ourselves pining for things we once took for granted—that favorite park, playhouse, retailer, coffee shop, or restaurant—and remember all over again why we love living in Pasadena. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
At Pasadena Magazine, we’ve been staying connected remotely with friends, contacts, and colleagues, and staying in touch with the community via social media. Over the last couple of months, we talked to Pasadenans from all walks of life—some prominent, some less so—about what they loved about living in and around Pasadena. One thing they all expressed was how much they simply missed being out and about and interacting with the daily life of our city. Just being out walking with other people—around the Rose Bowl, or Old Pasadena, or among the abundant trees of nearly every local neighborhood—was easily the most referenced activity that we are all itching to get back to.
Being stuck in the same space for days has served to brightly illuminate what a dynamic and fulfilling sense of place Pasadena truly possesses. There is more there in Pasadena than any city its size in the country. From Victory Park and Pasadena Playhouse, Rose Bowl Flea Market to Arlington Garden, from Vroman’s to the Norton Simon, and everything in between, there is a lot to pine for.
More quality restaurants, more philanthropies, and more world-class cultural and educational institutions, all bound together with an unmatched spirit of innovation and a preservationist spirit for a historic past. Not to mention possibly the most famous parade in the world.
It’s no wonder we’re all so anxious to see the full panoply of life return. We’ve collected some of what we’ve heard during the crisis and put those thoughts together here in a sort of love letter to our town and its inhabitants. This has been a trying time for everyone, but if you have to ride out a global pandemic, it would be hard to find a better city to return to afterward than Pasadena.
Our Readers Share What They Love and Miss About Pasadena
“I miss the smiles shared with neighbors, waiters, shopkeepers. I miss the little [smiles] you share when you pass a stranger on the street, almost a tip of the hat acknowledgment. And now, as we venture into the world, we’re smiling behind masks. I just miss the smiles.”
“Being able to hang out with family and friends! And even going to work!”
“I miss the vibrant spirit of Pasadena and the gracious people of the city.”
“I have missed going the Pasadena Humane Society and getting to volunteer.”
“One thing I would do is get friends and family to walk the Rose Bowl with me…we loved seeing all the people from all walks of life doing the loop. A staple of Pasadena is the Rose Bowl.”
Danny Feldman, Producing Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse
“I’ve missed standing in the lobby of the Playhouse before and after our productions. I love interacting with our community (and having a glass of wine) before shows in our beautiful courtyard and talking to people about what they just experienced on stage after they leave the show.”
Allen Edson, President, Pasadena NAACP
“I miss being able to socialize with friends and colleagues. I’m looking forward to the new normal, the old one has failed us!”
Chuck Jones, Owner, Jones Coffee Roasters
“I’ve missed seeing all of our regular customers, drinking coffee, and bantering about life, reading Pasadena Magazine, or listening to killer jazz. I miss seeing my friends and family, especially my parents. I miss talking with customers in our stores, going to Laemmle to see a movie, and sitting in a restaurant or café watching people being humans.”
“The Pasadena Playhouse! This little gem is so emblematic of what I love about my city. Its top-notch quality and capability of putting on big productions, but it still feels quaint and somehow very much “ours.” We’re really lucky to have it and I’m excited to see more plays there soon!”
Jered Gold, VP Marketing & Communications, ArtCenter College of Design
“I’ve missed the creative energy you find across campus: seeing artwork displayed in our gallery spaces and hallways, attending a lecture, walking by the shops and soundstages, or sitting in on a classroom presentation.”
“I miss the intimate live play productions at Parson’s Nose Theater and
having drinks and dinner at the Parkway Grill.”
Leslie Levy, Co-owner, The Raymond 1886
“I’m a hugger and I miss being with close friends.
I can’t wait to walk around The Huntington Library, seeing other people enjoying the outdoors. I can’t wait to visit my favorite coffee houses rather than ordering coffee online. I can’t wait to dine and drink with friends by the fireplace at The Raymond Restaurant.”
Lawrence Moore, President, Lawrence Moore & Associates
“I am so looking forward to revisiting the Norton Simon Museum and then having lunch at Mi Piace afterward. I am also excited for the 5th Anniversary of Masters of Taste to be rescheduled at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium once it is safe.”
“The people! My father, sister, and close friends of more than 20 years all live within a few minutes of each other because we never wanted to leave this wonderful city! It is beautiful, unique, and a bit quirky. Even after all these years, we still discover new things. Pasadena lifers! ❤️”
“There are so many things to love about Pasadena. The Doo Dah [Parade,] Pie ‘n Burger, the incredible community, Lucky Boy breakfast burritos, my amazing family, and friends! Such an incredible place to call home!”
“I love the trees. They make this city a special place—calmer, cooler, lovely for early morning or sunset walks. Pasadena is special.”
“I love the Pasadena culture and “trend,” and being a city that prides itself on its history. Beautiful Craftsman homes, amazing restaurants, cute coffee shops, lush neighborhoods, and all the unique characters the city has evolved throughout the years.”