Several of you emailed in regards to our End of Year Thoughts we posted back in December. One reader took issue with our somewhat bleak outlook on Downtown and offers a well thought out response as to how our Downtown fits within the larger urban fabric of Los Angeles:
The reason to think the downtown renaissance is genuine is that we've seen failed attempts before and this doesn't look anything like them. (Sandra Tsing Loh wrote a book about a previous failed attempt called If You Lived Here You'd Be Home Right Now.) The important thing is not to have the wrong expectation. Downtown is never going to be the "center" of the city. (I don't think people do this anymore, but when I first came here at the end of the 70s people used to refer to downtown as "Los Angeles," i.e., when someone was going from Hollywood to City Hall he'd say, "I'm going into Los Angeles.") What it can be though is a part of the city with a traditional urban feel. Pauline Kael once wrote
something to the effect that Los Angeles allows you to live any way you want to except the urban way. That deficiency may be curable. However, a couple of months back I read an article, I think it was in the Times, about how the developers of the downtown loft conversions were building pools and other recreational facilities on their rooftops,
the upshot being that the residents did most of their socializing within the building, with relatively little involvement with the street outside. The lesson of this is that while you may not like Los Angeles,
and you may not approve of Los Angeles, it isn't an accident. The city's DNA will make itself felt, and can't be remade to order.
As to the "downtown or Hollywood" question, remember that it could be downtown and Hollywood. Of the two I'd say that Hollywood has the greater potential, although it lacks the convertible buildings.
Well said reader. And your lack of swearing in your email made it all the more credible. Fuck yeah.