Driving south on Cahuenga today, making my way to ye old day job, it suddenly dawned on me that the area bounded by Hollywood, Cahuenga, Sunset and Vine has emerged from it's awkward phase and become a pretty vibrant neighborhood. I remember when Vinyl Fetish
bolted Los Feliz for the Cahuenga corridor, and I thought, well, that's it for them. I mean, that stretch of Cahuenga was probably best known for a storied gay bar and a 24 hour newstand (one of the very few anywhere in town). And parking? Forget about it.
Now, there are cafes (directly across the street from one another, and engaged in a street fight that Karma Coffee seems to be winning, judging from an ass-in-seat count), Amoeba
, the Arclight
(great theaters, not so successful retail space), the renovated Cinerama Dome
, with it's congress of pigeons scratching out a living high atop the famous geodesic dome, the Sunset+Vine
development (with a reincarnation of Schwab's Soda Counter and the freakiest Borders ever), the newly refurbished Ricardo Montalban Theater
, Klasky-Csupo, the Hollywood Farmer's Market
on Ivar, that building
(abandoned now) - in short, this neighborhood has almost everything, and
Vinyl Fetish is still going strong (leaving Los Feliz served only by Eastside Records).
Hopefully, the city can continue to build on the momentum generated by these projects. It's easy to get behind redevelopment programs that actually contribute to livable, vibrant neighborhoods rather than lining the pockets of developers. And I have to say that the city's Hollywood plan is well conceived: focus on building two strong tent-poles at Hollywood/Highland and Vine between Sunset and Hollywood, and then turn to Hollywood Boulevard itself, a stretch of road famously resistant to revitalization efforts. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next five years or so.