Thursday, June 16, 2005

Summer In The City! Hot And Gritty! And Mothers - Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up To Be Bruins!,0,5185724.story?coll=la-home-style

Some weeks (months?) ago, LA Times writer, Steve Barrie-Anthony, posted on a local downtown list-serv that he wanted to interview people who held parties and socialized on their rooftops.

I quickly reviewed my dozen best rooftop experiences downtown. I then did some rough calculations, and even more quickly realized that the statue of limitations had not quite run out - and declined to participate. This (undoubtedly) was why this was such a 'G' rated story.

The article also failed to investigate the forbidden pleasures - and parties and art events - and the romantic (hell, we're talking... wild monkey sex) liaisons - that took place on forbidden rooftops during the 1960's, '70's and 80's long before the current crop of loft dwellers arrived. I remember one night in particular after we stealthily broke onto the roof of the...

But I digress.

Getting back to the article in question, it gets both the mis-en-scene and the gestalt of the current loft/roof top scene dead right. I have nothing to add to that aspect of the story, so if you are interested in the present scene - read the article.

Related to this, though, at the Central City Association (CCA) annual Housing Luncheon, Tom Gilmore did yeoman duty as panel leader/MC - and stand-up comedian. (And I did my part by delivering up to Tom the soft ball straight line of the day, for the biggest laugh of the day.) But what was increasingly interesting, was that as each developer showed the slides of his projects, a clear case of... pool envy developed.

Yes, the 'p' word was repeatedly used - and it became very clear that size does indeed matter.

As each of the latest projects boasted of their new roof-top pools, the few, older projects presented - without the increasing mandatory roof-top pool, now felt compelled to... apologize... for the lack of that amenity. Tom Gilmore did counter, though, that when he hosed off his sidewalks daily, if the storm drains backed up just right, there was the occasional... puddle.

In closing, I wish to present a clear case that the apocalypse is indeed, upon us.

To wit, an illustration that holding a high position at a major university today requires the complete absence of common sense and a total inability to relate to the real world. Please read the below mind-boggling quote:

"These rooftops are "private heavens," says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, chairwoman of the urban planning department at UCLA. "What concerns me is the increasing tendency to take activities which were for hundreds of years part of the public realm, and privatize them. Then we'll have parks only being used by low-income and minority people, and affluent people will use private parks.

"This is not only a moral issue; it is also a practical one. The cost is the vibrancy of the city. The more we segregate cities, the more fear there is that we'll never become a community of citizens, that everybody will follow their own individualistic interests."

I mean - can you believe that... dribble?

According to her... the very fabric of society is threatened because these horribly immoral people (remember - this is a moral issue, according to her) downtown - gasp! - use their own roofs as outdoor space! My God - let's take these... criminals... and shoot them! How dare they have individual interests! Off to the Re-Education Camps! Mao shirts for everyone!

The real irony is that the people she is attacking are those who are moving into the heart of the city and revitalizing the urban fabric. But, no, that's not enough. She won't be satisfied until we're all stripped of our personal identities, working in collective farms and singing songs about Father Stalin and happy farm implements.

1 comment:

Loren said...

When I read Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris's comments in the Times rooftop article, I realized I'm really getting old. I actually remember when people did their swimming, BBQ'g, and socializing in fenced-in backyards of family homes -- and their wild monkey sex in Pershing Square park.

Seriously, I would never want to see public gatherings such as street festivals, concerts and festivals in parks, etc. diminish -- I'm a strong supporter of there being more of them; too much funding for such events is drying up. But people living in densely packed urban buildings, especially renovated commercial buildings designed without outdoor space,and often without backyards or even little balconies, are fortunate to be able to share outdoor rooftop space with neighbors, and breathe a little fresh air when they want to.