NY Times Asks Whether L.A. Should 'New Yorkify'
As we all know, New York is the only city in the world with tall buildings.
Wait, what's that you say? Other cities have tall buildings, too? Well, that's not what the New York Times thinks: In a piece published today, the newspaper offers up the opinion of six Angelenos on the rezoning plan that would revitalize Hollywood by introducing high-rise buildings and better public transportation.
The conversation is framed by the question: "Should Los Angeles New Yorkify?"
It's sort of adorable the way that the old gray lady continues to push for her city's relevance and influence, isn't it?
Anyway, this conversation comes on the heels of an unfortunate article in the Times about the Hollywood Community Plan, which describes residents of Hollywood as being "fearful that [the plan] would destroy the rakish small-town charm of their community" -- because nothing says "small-town charm" like two-story nightclubs and weekly movie premieres! -- and the introduction of skyscrapers to Hollywood as, "a decidedly un-Californian urban enclave pierced by skyscrapers, clustered around public transportation and animated pedestrian street life."
True. It's true that there are no high-rises, trolleys or busses in the entire state of California.
Anyway, on to the debate itself. Most of the six commentators are Angelenos that we known and love -- Susan Morgan, a local writer and editor; Adrian Glick Kudler, from Curbed LA, and Bill Fulton, former mayor of Ventura.
But the two most compelling arguments on either side of the issue come from bloggers (no surprise there): Kudler, and Cori Clark Nelson of Los Angeles, I'm Yours.
Nelson argues that Hollywood isn't ready for skyscrapers yet; that with a number of apartments already sitting vacant, putting up high-rise buildings is "putting the cart before the horse." She suggests that it might be more prudent to get the public transportation underway first, allowing demand to be created, then go forth and rise high.
She also won us over with the following line: "Perhaps the secret plan behind rezoning Hollywood is to fill the skyscrapers with all our disgruntled New York transplants and hope the steel and glass quell them."
Glick, on the other hand, appears to have the best grasp of all six commentators on what the plan will actually do. While Nelson and the like wax poetic about their own life experiences and how they might be affected by the plan, Glick points to the proposal's concrete features and the effect they'll have:
The Hollywood Community Plan is not particularly groundbreaking...What it does is make sure that big buildings rise near transit stations, notes that historic buildings should be properly looked out for, and encourages pedestrian-friendly street improvements and new park development. It treats Hollywood like the urban center it's been for a long, long time, and it tries to make it a nice-looking, working urban center...
So, readers, we bring the question to you: how do you feel about the city's plans for Hollywood?