Funiculi Funicular

I am thrilled by the news that the restored twins, Sinai and Olivet have been unmothballed and re-installed on their Angels Flight tracks (clickably thumbnailed below in a photo I took in the summer of 2007) to once more (at a date as yet to be determined) go up and down Bunker Hill.

I paid my quarter and rode those short and steep rails several times between the year the landmark funicular was reopened with much fanfare in 1996 and 2001 when it was shut down following a fatal accident, but it was that first year that also provided the most memorable trip because it happened a day or two prior to the Academy Awards and I found myself on the downhill trip standing next to Nicolas Cage — wearing a white leather sport coat no less — who was with a friend or assistant. As he was a best actor nominee for “Leaving Las Vegas,” I figured he was probably on lunch break from some pre-show happening up at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and perhaps heading off the hill to Grand Central Market for a bite.

Our brief history is that when he was still just Nicolas Coppola and before he dropped out of Beverly High to pursue his dream having been cast in the male lead in “Valley Girl,” we were in the same drama class together. Andy Grenier was the teacher.

I toyed with the idea of wishing him luck and telling him I knew him peripherally from back in the day, but I opted to keep all that to myself and instead marvel a bit both at his outlandish fashion sense and at the coincidence that the two times I saw Mr. Cage in person were separated by 15 years but both related to acting.

A couple days later he won the Oscar.