Watchin’ the Tide Roll Away….

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What’s the point of living in LA if you never go to the beach?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. I love the beach, but I hardly ever get out that way. I guess it’s one of those things, you figure it’ll always be there, so you keep putting it off. But a few weeks ago, I made up my mind I was going out to Santa Monica.

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It was a grey day, and I was wondering if anybody else would be out and about. The beach itself wasn’t very crowded.

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Not crowded with people, at least. There were plenty of seagulls.

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The pier was pretty lively, though. There were lots of folks strolling around, and lots of opportunities for them to spend their money. Aside from the amusement park and the restaurants, there was an artist doing portraits and a band playing for passersby.

People hanging out on the pier.

People hanging out on the pier.

An artist waiting for customers.

An artist waiting for customers.

Musicians setting up their stuff.

Musicians setting up their stuff.

I was glad to see there was still an arcade. These days they’re almost extinct. But this one seemed to be doing decent business.

Entrance to Playland.

Entrance to Playland.

Some people still like the old school games...

Some people still like the old school games…

...though I didn't see anybody playing skeeball.

…though I didn’t see anybody playing skeeball.

How could you resist?

How could you resist?

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with arcades. I never play the games, but I like wandering through them. Maybe it’s just a nostalgic thing.

The amusement park was drawing plenty of customers. The kids on the Scrambler seemed to be having a great time.

The entrance to Pacific Park.

The entrance to Pacific Park.

Spinning out on the Scrambler.

Spinning out on the Scrambler.

I love walking along the sand, but what really draws me to the beach is the ocean.

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On the day I was there, it looked cold and grey and endless.

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Heavy clouds hung overhead, but there was a rim of silver light lining the horizon.

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I was glad I came.

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Building Blitz

LA will be changing dramatically in this new year. We’re going to see a wave of construction that will transform the city, for better or worse. The mayor and the city council are decidedly pro-development. They will tell you it’s because they’re looking to the future and trying to create jobs. It might also have something to do with the massive amount of campaign cash that local politicians have received from developers.

But I don’t want to be totally negative. Development is necessary. And change can be good. It’s the beginning of the new year. Let’s try to accentuate the positive.

DOWNTOWN

Downtown will definitely be getting more dense.

Downtown will definitely be getting more dense.

A wave of construction is hitting Downtown LA. There are a staggering number of projects in the works, and the landscape is going to change considerably. For an overview, check out this summary in the Downtown News.

Downtown Development

The project I’m most excited about is The Broad. The building looks cool, the collection is impressive and admission will be free. What more could you ask for? A link to the site is below, but like the building, it’s still under construction.

The Broad Museum

HOLLYWOOD

More cranes on the horizon for Hollywood?

More cranes on the horizon for Hollywood?

These huge cranes have become a familiar sight in Hollywood. There are a number of buildings going up right now, and many more in the works. Under construction at the moment are Blvd 6200, Columbia Square, Emerson College, and a ton of new residential and retail space on La Brea.

But the projects that may have the most significant impact are the expansions planned by Paramount and Universal Studios. I know Universal isn’t located in Hollywood, but their “Evolution Plan” will certainly impact the Hollywood area, both in terms of jobs and traffic. Click on the link for more info.

NBC Universal Evolution Plan

Next is a link to an article in the New York Times which talks about both the Paramount and Universal projects.

Bold Growth Plans at Hollywood Studios

SANTA MONICA

An image of Santa Monica back when it was less crowded and less expensive.

An image of Santa Monica back when it was less crowded and less expensive.

The picture you see above doesn’t represent Santa Monica as it is today. It shows the Santa Monica I knew when I was growing up, a sleepy, laid back community where rent was cheap and traffic was light. But those days are gone. While the residents staunchly supported a slow growth policy thirty years ago, today the city council is enthusiastically pro-development. There have been some complaints from locals, but that hasn’t stopped the council from approving a slew of projects. The first article, from the LA Times, is an overview. The second, from The Architect’s Newspaper, is about a group that wants the council to slow down.

Santa Monica Bracing for Growth Spurt

Wealthy Coalition Demands Halt

The photo of skyscrapers on Bunker Hill is by Gary Leonard, and comes from the Los Angeles Public Library’s on-line archive. The image of Hollywood was taken by me. The photo of Santa Monica was taken by Anne Laskey, and also comes from the LAPL archive.