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New Yorker looks at LA's Ambassador

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While we are madly in love with LA, we do have a little crush on New York. So when this week’s copy of the New Yorker arrived, we were thrilled to find a piece by Dana Goodyear on LA’s own Ambassador Hotel and one of its pioneering architects, Paul R.Williams. The hotel, which closed in 1989, has been the subject of a massive financial, cultural and ethical tug-of-war between the LAUSD, who own the land and plan to raze it to build a school, and a number of preservationists, most notably LA Conservancy, who want to have the historic site saved and restored.

The Ambassador’s history reaches back to its splashy 1921 debut in the burgeoning LA society. A who’s who of Hollywoodland’s brightest stars danced under the palm trees of the Cocoanut Grove, Academy Awards were handed out in a half-dozen ceremonies in the Ballroom, it’s where Mrs. Robinson seduced a certain Graduate, and, in 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated there by Sirhan Sirhan. More recently, a number of the 500 rooms and empty halls have been used for filming shows like Six Feet Under, earning the hotel the nickname The Ambassador Studios.

The LAUSD, who bought the site at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard in 2001, have plans to tear the building down in order to build a state-of-the-art school to accommodate up to 4000 local kids. In addition to the $76.5 million pricetag on the property, the school board has spent over $100 million fighting for the land, right on the hot heels of the Belmont fiasco.