Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hollywood & Western's TOD - A Neighborhood Betrayed

Any debate over the impact of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) will benefit from a visit to the densely populated and transit heavy neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue. Thai Town to some, Little Armenia to others, this East Hollywood community is one of the most diverse in Los Angeles with over a hundred languages spoken.

TOD communities typically consist of facilities that include both residential and commercial elements (mixed use) which are supported by significant mass transit. They differ from their "urban sprawl" counterparts in that they tend to be denser and more pedestrian friendly. The emphasis on creating and supporting a "complete" community results in a wide range of local services and amenities which reduce the need to travel which in turn accommodates a denser population. At least that's how the philosophy goes.

Anyone who has travelled to any of the "Great Cities" in the world can offer examples of impressive TOD that efficiently supports a vibrant and invigorating community. (I use the term "Great Cities" loosely and define it as any of the wonderful places we have visited, loved and envied! I'm sure you can think of some. If not, you gotta get out more!)

As Los Angeles grapples with its commitment to a "no homeless cars" paradigm (LA leads the nation in homeless people but yet LA County has 7 parking spaces for every motor vehicle. It's good to have priorities!) the debates over parking, traffic, congestion, wear & tear on infrastructure, commute times, development, housing and mass transit are forcing communities to reevaluate and reconsider the TOD concept.

Which brings us to Hollywood & Western. This intersection has it all! Why, it should be the poster child for LA's TOD movement! Home to the Metro's Red Line, host to a half-dozen major bus lines, both Hollywood & Western are major arterials that serve as conduits for significant transit around the clock!

On the southeast corner is the Metro's Red Line Station topped by the "transit village." This station is coming up on its 10th birthday. Occupancy in the 4 floors of affordable housing runs high but as for the ground level commercial spaces, not so much. In fact some of the space has never been occupied. Nevertheless, the development stands as evidence of the partnership between the Metro and the CRA, and their collective commitment to the regeneration and the revitalization of this community.

Across the street, on the northeast corner, is a fortress built by the CRA and featuring senior housing which is typically occupied to capacity. The Hollywest Fortress is a daunting sight from the street, with access on both Hollywood and on Western for the motor vehicles that utilize the ample parking. (both courtyard and underground!) Pedestrians, apparently an afterthought, and cyclists, definitely an afterthought, also frequent the facility which includes Ralphs, Ross and Starbucks as anchor tenants.

On the southwest corner stands the historic Louis B. Mayer building, built in 1928, significantly damaged in the '94 earthquake, but now beautifully restored. LA City Council President Eric Garcetti moved his field office to the 4th floor a couple of years ago and when he visits, he holds court in Louis B. Mayer's old office. In spite of the building's rich legacy, its art deco beauty, its status as LACultural Monument #336 and its auspicious anchor tenant, the "House of Garcetti" sits almost completely vacant, unable to attract any of the business tenants that New Urbanists such as Garcetti tout as the natural result of a commitment to TOD communities.

But at the end of the day, it is the northwest corner of Hollywood & Western that serves as the true test of the TOD concept and the full complement of Metro, CRA and City Council vision, power, support and bottom line impact on the community. This is the corner that hosts the infamous but abandoned "Thai Hot Dog." Formerly a hot dog stand, most recently a Thai restaurant, this boarded up business sits on the high side of the intersection in stark contradiction to the promise of Hollywood & Western.

Granted, this is a vast improvement over the past when the landlord of a building on the south side of the intersection was sentenced by the court to ...gasp...live in his own building as punishment for his slumlord crimes. One might even argue that having a politician sitting in Mayer's old office is a step up from the days when the building was used to produce pornography.

There's no doubt that this is no longer the crime-ridden and dangerous neighborhood of days gone by and, quite simply, things are a lot better. But is this the promise of the TOD concept, "It's not as bad as it used to be!"

The Hollywood & Western neighborhood boasts a dozen motels, bearing witness to the tremendous value of the most significant neighborhood "brand" on earth, Hollywood! Once here, these tourists, a captive audience, find themselves requiring the quotidian amenities that should be found in the immediate vicinity of the TOD. Instead, they are basically limited to the merchants found in the "strip mall on steroids."

There are some exceptions to this dismal evaluation. For example, Angel'z restaurant is a great place for breakfast or lunch and there are so many Thai restaurants of note that it would take a couple of vacations to visit them all. Why, we've even got a Sizzler!

But the brutal reality is this, even the Dapper Cadaver closed up and left the neighborhood. The local business with the greatest staying power is "The X Spot," a 24 hour porn shop. As for other offerings, the selection gets better the farther east or west you move, not a strong testament to the significant positive development that we are promised is the residual impact of New Urbanism.

This intersection begs the hard question, does the positive impact of TOD happen naturally or does it require assistance and support? If it requires support, who dropped the ball at Hollywood & Western?

It was public funds that got things going but our leadership failed to push for the finish line. This is consistent with the "legal minimum" standard for performance that we have grown to expect from our City as we are, once again, asked to settle for mediocrity and simple accept "It's not as bad as it used to be!" as the battle cry.

The missed opportunity for this TOD is that it never became the place to be, but instead is simply a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else.

Welcome to our neighborhood!













In a neighborhood that suffers from the lowest ratio of parkland to people of any of the city's council districts, there are empty lots to be found, boarded up or surrounded by chain link fence, but no public space to speak of. Granted, the Metro Station, under the "No Loitering" sign, offers the opportunity to hang out with some of the community's under-challenged youth and the Starbucks across the street offers the opportunity to sit on the narrow sidewalk and engage in the ongoing sunflower seed-spitting contest that never seems to end. But as for open space or green space, not so much!






















The courtyard space at the Metro Station is not really "useable space" and it joins the empty commercial space and the secluded bike racks in the "unfulfilled promise" category of TOD.










The Aaron Brothers store has a "fake" door on the Hollywood Blvd. side of its business, demonstrating the lack of commitment to pedestrians that is the hallmark of the Hollywest project. It's no small wonder that one of the anchor tenants, the Shoe Warehouse left them hanging with so much empty and dead space, after all, nobody walks in this neighborhood!










The interior courtyard of the Hollywest Fortress, where cars go to hang out. This would have been a great place to create shared public space for the community but then nobody would be able to look at your car! The underground parking is so large that the facility is rarely close to capacity and is often rented out to production companies who use the space to store crew vehicles.










Periodically, the community will get together for a game or two of Frogger, great fun for the motorists, keeps the peds in shape!










Only in Hollywood! Such a bittersweet moment. No longer will we walk past the Dapper Cadaver, your local source of coffins, autopsy tables and other accoutrements of death. Apparently the "DC" was not so dependent on pedestrian traffic and the move to Sun Valley will allow them to focus on their huge internet audience. Who knew!










The Gershwin Hollywood Hotel and Hostel, partially occupied and partially boarded up as its owners await the development opportunities that seem to simply come and go. Its street side tenants include a publisher, a self-defense studio, a furniture refinisher, a production designer and a clothing designer. Only the self-defense studio is open to the public. The blue space next door is the home of the Blu Monkey, the white space with the security bars is the former home of the Dapper Cadaver.










Auto parts, an anemic mini market, a Thai restaurant and Thai club, another empty shop (green awning) and the neighborhood's merchant of the year, the X Spot, featuring porn around the clock!






On the bright side, the neighborhood is flush with opportunities to eat. Angel's for breakfast, Thai anytime and the Sizzler for those less adventurous!



























Motels throughout the neighborhood bear witness to the power of the "Hollywood" brand! If only our leadership believed in it as much as the rest of the world does.









On the House of Garcetti side of the street, the abundant presence of security bars bears witness to the long distance that remains ahead if we are to truly revitalize this community.

Sadly, the large amount of empty space, empty buildings and empty lots indicate that the real opportunity in this neighborhood is for real estate agents. As they stand in the midst of this densely populated community filled with people who crave the services that a TOD promises, one can't help but wonder how they will answer the question "What went wrong?"

For those who might argue that the dismal occupancy rates along Hollywood & Western are simply a sign of the times, I look to other areas of Hollywood and note that business is booming. Space 15 Twenty just opened between Ivar and Cahuenga. With Hennesey + Ingalls as one of the anchors, this development features performance space in its courtyard and actually stimulates pedestrian activity in the neighborhood with the pedestrian alley that connects Ivar to Cahuenga.




















Now is the time for the Hollywood & Western community to turn to our leadership and our community partners and to raise the standard and to demand that this neighborhood realize its full potential and become the Transit Oriented Development that is the sign of a Great City.

See you on the Streets!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might be pleased to know that there is a very comprehensive Specific Plan for this area and that numerous mixed-use and well designed projects have actually been approved for construction in the area. For instance, everything west of the Mayer building (save for two other historic structures) has been approved for a 5-level residential project with a large plaza and ground floor retail. Across the street is a smaller but equally well designed project at Garfield (at the vacant lot). Many decent affordable projects have also been either approved or already constructed up and down Western. Lastly, CIM has plans for the NW corner area, but they are lame and will probably take forever to build something.
Believe me, lessons have been learned from the design failures of the Ross/Ralphs building, and the onerous community facility requirements imposed on the Mondrian building across the street. Even the new fire station at Van Ness had to go through hell to make sure it was ped-friendly.
You're right, this is indeed a special area, and I hope that over the next couple of years we can finally see some progress.

SoapBoxLA said...

This is all great news!

But...while we pontificate about the abundant plans for the neighborhood, the building to the west of the Mayer building has been tagged four times since I took the photo that appears above.

It's not just the tagging but the time it takes to have the tags removed.

While our Senior Lead Officer talks of injunctions against the gang members and our City Council President talks about a reduction in tagging, the simple truth is that the wall to the west of the Mayer building bears witness to the gang activity in the neighborhood.

Fred Camino said...

Incredible article! This was my neighborhood for 3 years, and the first place I lived when I moved to LA five years ago. This neighborhood is the reason I'm a car-free Angeleno, and have been for over 3 years. I agree with all the points you made, and it is sad to see how even after all these years the TOD in this neighborhood has basically failed. The question, like you said, is why?

It's a question I can't really answer, but I know it's not 100% due to bad design, although certainly much of it (like the Ralphs/Ross is poorly designed for TOD). Indeed, what it shows, in my opinion, that the populous of LA still has a long way to go. These people fucking love their cars.

Here's the thing. I lived in this neighborhood, about 5 blocks away from the Red Line station (near the 7/11 and the 101 freeway). I moved there with a car. Now let me tell you, owning a car in this neighborhood is hell. The street parking situation alone makes you want to commit suicide. It really isn't all that much of an auto-friendly place frankly. But, so many people who lived on my apartment building and on my street would drive to Ralphs! They would risk their precious parking space (which could mean 30 minutes circling the block to get one on the way back) just so they didn't have to walk for 6 minutes to go the grocery store. Now this wasn't a high income apartment building or street, but most people owned cars. I rarely saw any of my neighbors on the subway or the bus stop just down the block.

To me, coming from suburban Florida, this neighborhood was a transit utopia. I was within walking distance of a subway, a number of bus lines, and I could walk to get groceries, eat Thai Food, get a smoothie, go the the gym, relax at a coffee shop, play pool, have a Slurpee. Frankly, it was amazing!

Unfortunately, I think the car culture is far more ingrained in others than it is in me. I don't know, maybe I'm just more easily annoyed by parking tickets, circling for parking, making left hand turns, waking up at 6am to move my car for street cleaning, etc.

The fact is, Hollywood & Western is not unique. Most TOD is a failure in LA. Design-wise, most of them are just wrong, sure. But even still, just their existence should be having more of an impact, but it simply doesn't. Not yet at least.

Caleb said...

Great writeup. This is my hood and I like it -- though I would like it to have a future.

Sue Basko Blog said...

The "plans" written in the top post by Anonymous are the very source of such problems as you describe.





The empty lot at the northwest corner of Hollywood and Garfield, where the Vellaslavasay Panorama and tis gardens used to be, should be purchased by the CIty of LA and turned into a wonderful little city park with greenery and a kid's playground. The structure planned for that site is too dense, poorly designed, and not needed or wanted.




The Dapper Cadaver and the hot dog stand/ THai place on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Western left when they were told they must leave by the development corporation that owns the property.




The massive structure planned for just west of the Louis B. Mayer building is another too-dense, poorly-designed unwanted thing. It will bring in more of the sort of too-expensive retail space that can only be rented by wealthy corporations, rather than being rented by a small business real owner.




If you look at what works in terms of businesses that people will walk and ride bikes to, look at the area around the Bicycle Kitchen on Heliotrope near Santa Monica, behind LACC. The retail spaces are old and I assume affordable, so that small business upstarts were able to create the bicycle kitchen, a bike shop, ice cream shop, and vegan restaurant. It is all open to the street and friendly to walkers and bike riders.




Compare this to the CRA- corporate slave-type design and construction at the Ralph's/ Ross/ Starbucks fortress at the northeast corner of Hollywood and Western.





First, to make the place most unfriendly, they ALLOW smoking (in violation of law), so that all the outdoor space is filled with cigarette smoke and car exhaust. Very unhealthy and very unpleasant.




Second, the walkways are very narrow, congested with tables and planters, and broken by places where one must cross parking lot and driveway traffic. Any such future place should have continuous, safe, smoke-free walks, not bordering on a parking lot, and wide enough for tables, planters, and people.




Three, the shops are not open to the street. That may be for safety and if so, I do not blame them.




Fourth, the type of businesses that can afford such a place are all corporate giants -- not any local upstarts or small business owners. Thus, you get very boring businesses and no one local is making any money off this.




If the CRA and CIS really want to help, they will let the city buy real parkland and stop having such a grip on every open space. They will also build retail spaces of a size and affordability to small upstart individually-owned business can be there.




As to the Metro station "plaza" at the northeast corner of Hollywood and Western - yes it becomes a sitting area for the homeless, sheltered, and mentally ill of the area. I guess that makes it vitally connected to the urban reality of the area. I consider it great when people are skateboarding or ramp jumping there, especially when they are videoing.




I think that building is hideously ugly and no place to call home. I am sure the rents are high, and the building and plaza are so ugly that it is not welcoming to tenants. My understanding, though, is that it is interior water leakage that keeps renters out of the first floor spaces.




Walk along Western just north of Hollywood, and see all the piles of trash. Piles and piles. Filth and ugliness abound. If there were a trash bin, it would soon be emptied onto the sidewalk by a mentally ill person left to roam the streets. Or by that hunched over lady who is not homeless or poor, but who digs up all the trash in that area in her old clothes, then goes to her home ( to her very nice building on Gramercy), cleans up, and goes out. This area needs trash bins, and ticketing or arrests for trash diggers, litterers, and property owners with trash out.




TAGGING: I have seen young men jump out of very nice cars, run to a building or other object, tag the heck out of it, and jump back into their nice cars and drive off. I think the local public schools and the local Armenian school should be teaching the students about littering, tagging, ethics, public spaces, group morality, forming a community, etc.




CRA nonsense: The CRA points to Hollywood-Highland complex as a sign of its success. I DO like the design, structure, open spaces, etc. in that complex and consider it very exciting. I also like that it has open public music and other events. I also like that it is well-patrolled, has decent, clean public washrooms, really nice outdoor tables for eating, that it brings in tourists and gives them a safe and clean focal point, etc.




BUT the rents at Hollywood-Highland are obviously too high to be commensurate with the money being made by the retailers -- because they seem to be changing as the leases come up. Also, there too, it is all corporate giants instead of local small businesses. There is nothing local, nothing interesting, and nothing that is actually supporting a local family business.




Isn't the point of something like the CRA to do things for the community, not for giant corporate interests? CRA uses tax dollars, should be supporting the local people and their businesses. Worse yet, to build such things as CRA builds, older buildings are demolished -- and the businesses that exist are being displaced or permanently destroyed. Further, the spaces that are available for such small businesses are being permanently removed. For a city to be vital, there must be places where young people, immigrants, families, creative individuals, etc., can start their own small businesses.




-- Sue Basko

Hairy said...

You had me until Urban Outfitters and Hennessey + Ingalls. You can keep the "Grove for Yupsters"--I'll take good ol' Ord Noodles over all of that. And Loz Feliz, for that matter. Hollywood & Highland too.

Rick said...

This long article does not cover some of most pressing concerns for part of Hollywood.

The article omits the lies and deceits by CRA which caused the CRA Hollywood-Western project to "crash and burn." This article omits the anti-people type developments which CRA and private developers tried to force upon the residents. For example, it has been estimated that the proposed project for the N/W corner of Hollywood and Garfield would have added somewhere about 80 cars to seek on-street parking. Several years ago, residents conducted a study that showed that both Garfield and Gramercy already had about 100 more resident cars than parking spaces. This neighborhood's number one problem has been and is lack parking. Thus, the streets are lined 24/7 with cars and double parking is common.

Some residents have to park 3 or 4 blocks from their homes and this developer would aggravate this problem by adding more garage-less cars. A parking space can cost $30,000.00. Thus, a developer who refuses to build 80 spaces pockets $2.4 Million. Instead, all these additional cars would have to compete for the on-street parking spaces in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Certain people who favor buses and bikes, however, want their modes of transportation to replace cars. Studies have shown that people who live near Transit Stations still need to own cars as the transit system is woefully inadequate to handle a family's transportation needs (San Jose Study 2001). In fact, if a family does use the subway much of the time, secure parking is even more important to protect their cars from on-street vandalism, one of the most prevalent crimes in this part of Hollywood. Yet an informal alliance of anti-car zealots and developers who do not want to pay to build parking spaces call for fewer and fewer off street parking spaces.

In fact, if the City adopted a reasonable program to make certain everyone had off-street parking, then the terrible situation would be ameliorated. Due to lack of off-street parking, miles and miles of driving lanes are used for parking. Instead, the councilmen have been following the opposite plan; they want less and less off street parking and that makes traffic worse and worse. One has to wonder how generous developers would be with their favors if councilmen required the developers to bear the full costs of their projects.

The sole viable Hollywood-Western development is the Ralph's Center and its success is due to its expansive parking. The Metro Building (El Feo) across Hollywood Boulevard has almost no parking, and is a commercial disaster for one reason -- no parking. Even though it only has a small bank branch and one Out of the Closet store, its tiny parking lot is often full. That is why 50% of the retail space is un-rented after 4 years. One look shows that there is no place for customers to park.

The article also fails to discuss another community project -- the creation of shared streets ("woonerfs" from the Dutch). L.A. Municipal Code mandates that these areas of open green space be built in this part of Hollywood, but Councilman La Bonge has strenuously opposed the residents’ having this green space, and his office has gone so far as to blatantly lie and say that Share Streets are illegal.

By following the requirements in the L.A. Municipal Code and turning Garfield and Gramercy into shared streets, about 96,600sq. ft of more green space would be added to this neighborhood, but again an amorphous alliance of anti-car zealots, developers, and Councilmen objects to the residents’ having more green space. Why? The shared street plan calls for an increase in underground parking so that the street space where cars now park will be free to become green space in front of people's apartment houses. That is where residents need green space -- right where they live. It should be no surprise that politicians care more about developers’ contributions than peoples’ lives.

People on the anti-car crusade show little concern for the actual health and quality of life for the area residents. They prefer people to give up their cars. It seems that anything which might impede their goal of a “car-less society” is verboten. Providing secure underground parking would remove much of the aggravation of owning a car. And thereby, make car ownership easier. Councilman Reyes stated the City's philosophy about lower income people owning cars when he complained that "there has to be some way to prevent them from owning cars." (One should note that there is a plan for the wealthy to have clearer freeways by raising the cost of car ownership. The plan also includes drastically increasing downtown parking rates in order to discourage modest income people from driving downtown. The bus - subway system is designed as third world transportation. If the City thought that the doctors and lawyers from Los Feliz would use the Metro, then they would have build at least one extra parking space near the Hollywood-Western Metro Station.)

People with their quasi-religious anti-car campaign overlook some of the pressing needs of the people. A mother of four cannot carry a week's groceries home in her arms. Without a car, she cannot go to the cleaners at Bronson and Franklin, stop at Home Depot to buy some spring flowers, and then shop at Ralphs in one shopping trip. The buses do not help and the subway is useless, and even if she rode a bicycle, she could not balance everything in her basket. As it is now, residents have to double park while unloading their cars. Nonetheless the City persists in its desires to make car ownership for lower income families more expensive and more arduous.

The article avoided some of the real problems with this little bit of Hollywood.

(1) councilmen who act according to campaign contributions and against the interests of the people

(2) myopic developers whose apparent goal is the slumification of Hollywood by constructing substandard housing (The exception to this is the project on the south side of Hollywood Boulevard west of the Mayer Building)

(3) Anti-car zealots

The pictures, however, were nice.
Rick

Scott said...

We lived in this area for some time and it is nice to see someone write a long article on Hollywood/Western.

The greatest threat to this slice of life in Hollywood is the coalition of greedy developers and corrupt politicians. Zoning limits to protect what quality of life is left are routinely waived aside by the city. The big shots at city hall arrogantly inform us that so many people will move in that we need to trash all zoning protections and turn our area into another Manhattan.

Of course, that is a big lie. All these predicted people are not coming here any more than cattle herd themselves into the Chicago stockyards. The developers seize upon this area as it has a high percentage of foreign born and low rate of voting and a lower rate of campaign contributors. In brief, the councilmen find this area easy to victimize.

Someone said that the Garfield lot should be bought for a park. The law required a hearing before the City Planning Commission so that the park people could make their pitch for a park. The City handled that inconvenience by not holding the hearing. When developers and city hall conspire to deprive the poor and weak of a decent quality of life, it is time for a change.
Scott

m said...

The Mayer building did briefly hold the DMV (on the first floor) that was relocated from Vine St. (just south of Hollywood) which was raized to make way for another fiasco, the W development... One day I noticed that it had been closed which I found surprising... Upon perusing the DMV website, I discovered that a new DMV had opened on Formosa to replace both of these... New building with small, busy parking lot but not super busy the first time I went... I can walk there from my house but I didn't bring my license plates with me (or my car) so I couldn't do what I wanted to do...

Anonymous said...

When will politician figure out that high density brings social problems? People need some open space and parks between the beehives they occupy. The sidewalks are narrow and littered. And the anonymous response that was concerned about the timeneeded to remove the grafitti? Other cities have found that if you IMMEDIATELY power spray it off or paint over it,you reduce its reappearance,more of it elsewhere, and you have the very positive effect of reducing gang violence;let's face it: the spray painting is claiming territory andinviting gang violence. But why would that be a problem in L.A.? The electronic billboards are more offensive and claiming more territory than anyone inthe city. No parks,but lots of virtual advertising. HMMM.

Rick said...

You're right. The City's philosophy is that billboards are OK, but parks are bad. Dense development is good, green space is bad.

The only green councilmen recognize is the type that folds and is passed under the table.

As Laura Chick said, with these councilmen the city is "going backwards, like we are starting to use Chicago as our role model city." Controller Laura Chick 12-23-08

Gary said...

I've really enjoyed reading the comments regarding this article. There's no question in my mind that our City needs to put a renewed focus on this area and incorporate the opinions of real people in the community to make it work. I've lived in this area for a little over 5 years myself and it troubles me to see its continued neglect.

A number of comments noted that we need some change, as our Councilpersons fail to be responsive to people in the community. On March 3, there will be great opportunity for change by voting against the status quo politics-as-usual system that currently leads out City. As the only candidate challenging Eric Garcetti, I encourage you to check out my website at www.gary4citycouncil.com and see how you can help make a difference in our community.

katherine said...

i moved to Hollywood from New Orleans seven years ago. i stayed on Whitley at the Fontenoy for two years, then moved because of a crime spree to Hobart Blvd, two blocks east of Western. ive been in the same small apartment that increases 100 bucks a year in rent in a poorly managed building. they hold many an armenian genocide protest rally or celebration on my street and just happen to build the stage in front of my garage exit. they never post signs or tell the residents, none of whom are armenian in my building...so theres no way we would ever know in advance. ive lost jobs because of this because ive woken up with a stage built in front of my car and the whole streets been blocked off for an indeterminate amount of time. its disconcerting to say the least. even though it took a while to get used to, ive started to find the charms in my neighborhood after spending a year without a car. i love the donut shop on the corner and the new influx of medical marihuana dispensaries. theres a great russian deli and a cheap supermarket within walking distance that will take you and your groceries home and help you unload. the crime has begun to get worse...over the last four years my car has been broken into and vandalized 8 times, very creepy personal items were taken the last time, the gate breaks constantly, i was assaulted by a kook while i was struggling with a broken foot on crutches and the cops just drove away in the middle of my reporting the incident...they never came back to follow up. theres a new pimp running his girls on the block...and thats not what i want to see in the morning when i walk my dog. ive lived in tough neighborhoods before but this used to be a pretty decent place...its a shame to see it deteriorating before my eyes. ill stay here until ive finished at lacc then ill move somewhere closer to the next phase of my education.

Rick said...

You could tell your Councilman Eric Garcetti and the councilman in the contiguous district Tom La Bonge. Both have worked quite tirelessly to return Hollywood Western to its glory days of the early 1970's when the intersection was designated by Time or Newsweek (hard to remember which after all these decades)as the most dangerous intersection in the nation. I am sure they will be glad to learn that their efforts at zone busting and neighborhood deterioration are paying off

Scott said...

In Hollywood, it seems that the only role zoning laws play is to make politicos wealthy. The stricter the zoning, the more they can charge to have them waived.

We get the government we deserve and we voted in these thieves, knaves and crooks.

E.D. Lancaster said...

This is what happens when yuppies move in and whine about the local characters. This is the neighborhood of Charles Bukowski....and it has been ruined by all of you who have moved here in the last ten years. Some of my best times have been here. The Northwest corner of Hollywood and Western was my hangout. I lived in the Gershwin and was run out as well as all of the businesses. That was a terrible day as we were all like family there. The Sizzler isn't even there anymore.