Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting high in downtown Los Angeles a tad pricey

Los Angeles is trying to attract people to its resurgent downtown, and it has settled on the idea of a thrilling outdoor slide ride in an entirely glass tube 70 floors high. This probably beat out other ideas like a zip line from the top of Disney Hall to the Grand Central Market or gator wrestling in the Biltmore lobby.

Height-novelties are a mainstay of tourist-seeking cities around the world. New Zealand has "Skywalk," where you don a jump suit, latch on to a safety line, and teeter along the edge of the open air rooftop 630 feet above Auckland.

At Toronto's "Edgewalk," you can do the same at 1168 feet. You can even get married up there, although I'm not sure of the symbolism that evokes.

Chicago has a couple of attractions, evidently because being windy has ceased to be a draw. You can stand in a glass box and look straight down at your doom 1353 feet above the ground. They call it "The Ledge."

Just across town there is "TILT," on the 94th floor of another building. You face the glass, hold onto handrails, and your window slowly tilts you out 30 degrees so you are facing...well, again, your doom, or at least the air conditioners of a lot of shorter buildings.

L.A.'s "Skyslide" is atop the 70th floor of the U.S. Bank building, is glass on all sides, and is mounted outside so that your trip takes you down to the rooftop of the 69th floor. Yes, you could take the elevator and save yourself $33, but then you would not be able to say you conquered your fear of spending.

The ride (based on my watching several YouTube videos of people sliding) lasts about four seconds, which comes out to roughly $8.25 a second. If you watched a 90 minute movie at that rate, it would cost you $44,550.

For that kind of money I would insist on being launched via catapult off the U.S. Bank building in a wing suit, with my destination the Hollywood sign. Maybe a cadre of unemployed actors could break my fall.

Proclaiming its safety, one spokesman said you could hang two blue whales from the Skyslide and it would not budge. Now that is something I would actually pay $33 to see. But for four cheaper seconds of thrill, may I suggest you just try crossing Figueroa against the light?