FINALLY -DOWNTOWN LA
I know I am very late to the Downtown LA is happening Party. Admitting you finally discovered Downtown LA is like saying, ” Have you heard of this cool site called Netflix?” Though truth is I have known for some time that the downtown LA scene was very lively, young, and considered the most fun, trendy neighborhood in the city.
However, I ignored it for several reasons. One is whenever I’m out there I’m usually working and dragging to downtown LA from West Hollywood is a real schlepp, it’s actually not. Though that is what I had convinced myself. But the truth is I had a sense of failure in regards to downtown LA. You see long before it was the place to be for all those in search of the place to be, it was a real disaster. There were the office buildings and the courthouse. There was always Little Tokyo and the Jewelry Market, but that was kind of it. Otherwise there were vagrants, tons of crime and a very skid row vibe. It was during the peak of the that downtrodden era when my mother and I inherited a warehouse in downtown LA. I know. I know. It was one of those warehouses that are now being turned into state of the art lofts, art galleries and fusion restaurants. But at the time we got it it was full of Spreckles Sugar products as they had rented it from our family for decades. Tiny history, my grandfather was very smart: he saw the boom coming – back in the thirties. Well, OK, he was smart, but downtown was sort of boomy then. Though not where he bought the land and built a big state of the art warehouse. State of the art for 1933. And it was a swell investment on his part and paid a nice sum each month. By the time the building passed on to my mom and myself, it was no longer state of the art. It was state of total disrepair. Spreckles was in the process of moving to Gardena, an area with less crime and 1991 flourishes. And we were left with a warehouse of troubles. It had to be painted almost weekly because of the graffiti. It needed a very expensive roof. It required earthquake retrofitting. It needed new air conditioning and if I remember correctly forklifts and newer automatic garages. Do the math. We sold it. Had we known that in twenty-five years someone might have paid us millions to turn it into a Mexican – Sicilian Fusion restaurant with a revolving bar and upstairs installation art gallery, would we have put the money in and held on? I doubt it. But when I go down there that is where my mind goes. I had one of these. I can’t even type what we sold it for, plus it’s tacky to talk about money.
But I could not take hearing about the redone Grand Central Market, The Arts District and the hipster Ace Hotel any longer. So last week Glenn, Lucy and I took a day and did Downtown LA.
I’m glad we did. It was great fun. And yes, I kind of wish we still had our warehouse.
What you do is this, head downtown and park in the pay lot next door to The Ace on Broadway and 9th. It’s 10 bucks for the day and worth it. A guy watches your car. Go do a tour of The Ace. If it’s evening have a drink on the roof. If daytime, have coffee in the lobby. Don’t eat there, there are more interesting places.
great article on Clifton’s from LA Magazine this month.