Monday, December 31, 2007

A Historic Downtown New Years Eve!

It's been well over ten years I've been down here - but sometimes it seems like just a few years.

Other times, it can feel like a lifetime.

I headed out to a New Year's party in the San Fernando Building - just a block away - which was the very first of the new loft buildings to open up. But before I got there, I got waylaid by a small party in my building, then was dragged to another party in a restaurant I passed on the way for a bit, then heard my name yelled from a third floor window of one of the Hellman Buildings (my black cowboy hat makes me instantly visible at any distance) and ended up there for a while and, just as I reached the San Fernando, I was pulled over the railing into the patio of Pete's Cafe and when I finally reached the exterior lobby, I ran into some more old friends there.

In less than one block, with the intent of only attending one brief party - I spent an hour and a half with five different groupings of friends and acquaintances.

At the party I had been trying to get to, I met a lot of the old timers in the 'hood, some of them dating almost back to the fall of 2000 when Tom Gilmore first opened the San Fernando. I also met people who knew about me and people whom I knew about - but whom had never met - and I also met some new people, including a grappler - who - alas! - lives too far away in Long Beach.

I also was asked for my help on three new civic/neighborhood projects before I left and found a person to work with me on one of my projects. Then on my way back, I ran into groups of friends walking at both Winston and Main and at 5th and Main and then dropped by at a party at INMO's Art Gallery on 5th before making my way back to Cowboy Central.

And when I tried to recall what that walk would have been like even last New Year's Eve - much less the year the San Fernando Building first opened - much less the year I first moved down here - it can all seem like a fantastic dream from which I will all too soon wake up.

And My Most Popular Post Of 2007 Was....

... Mr. Cowboy's Great Adventure!

And it was no contest.

Even though only one person was brave (foolish?) enough to post a response, I got hundreds - and yes, I mean hundreds of responses by phone, email, IM's, shouts out from passing cars, etc. - and you name it about Mr. Cowboy.

Even now, rarely does more than a day or two go by without someone mentioning the post - or inquiring about Mr. Cowboy and his health. Well, Mr. Cowboy is doing just fine, and he thanks all his many fans for their continued interest in his activities.

For awhile, though, the recent relocation of Cowboy Central from the 7th to the 10th floor of the Spring Arts Tower did leave the little cowpoke somewhat... crest fallen. He was unhappy to be deprived of all the lovely young production staff of the Magic Elves - particularly those involved with PROJECT RUNWAY.

But as we were setting up our new office, Mr. Cowboy discovered only twenty feet across the air shaft from us were two photographers who endlessly photograph beautiful young models wearing very little clothing

Mr. Cowboy is now very happy with his new office.

Our little cowhand has also been on a lot better behavior since the... quite unfortunate... incident at our gym mentioned in the above linked post. And the one recent... problem... of ours was not his fault, for once.

My old - and only - swim suit was getting a bit loose around my waist to the point it was starting to slip off, so I grabbed one of my wrestling trunks before heading to the gym. And they seemed a perfect fit. Alas, when I wore them in the shower before I hit the pool, there was a minor... glitch.

Checking the mirror before heading out to the pool area, I discovered when wet this particular fabric didn't just... cling... to Mr. Cowboy, but it completely shrink wrapped every single inch of him. Even worse, both of his two closest friends were each equally well wrapped in a rather unfortunate shade of Myer lemon yellow.

We skipped our swim that day.

Vote For Downtown! TODAY!

Even though they call it by the old name of - the Historic Core - Vote for Historic Downtown on the CURBEDLA poll for best nabe of the year. Deadline tonight!

You Know It's Really Time For A Year To Be Over When Joel Stein Writes a Funny, Witty Column!

Some highlights below. Seriously!

So here is my set of predictions for 2008. Clip it, laminate it, drop it in your time capsule and let it be some future generation's problem:

Housing market: Home prices drop an astounding 15%. Far more disheartening to Americans who bought homes in the last three years, stainless steel kitchen appliances go out of style.

Presidential election: Barack Obama wins the general election but does not carry the Northeast, due to New Englanders' increasingly implausible excuse, "It's not that we're racist; it's just that the South would never elect a black person."

Writers strike: The Directors Guild accepts a crappy deal from the studios, and a week later, the Writers Guild agrees to the same terms, calling it a "major victory for the proletariat." Studios are then flooded with 150 comedy scripts about an out-of-work dad who drives his wife and kids crazy. Michael Keaton once again commands $20 million.

White House: In late December, no longer intimidated by the power of the vice presidency, Dick Cheney's friend shoots him right back in the face.

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page: Rosa Brooks, after a long coffee with Jonah Goldberg, decides that she is not only for the invasion of Iraq but also the invasion of Jonah's heart.

New York Times Op-Ed page: Thomas Friedman adopts a strident voice of urgency on topics ranging from carbon emissions, Middle East democracy and globalization to carbon emissions, Middle East democracy and globalization.

Music: A major rap star retires, and, two months later, unretires with a new hit album. Also, the big summer hit is Amy Winehouse's "Seriously, Dude, I'm Not Going Back to Rehab."

Food: Every new restaurant in America serves only small plates. Patrons remain blissfully unaware that four small $12 plates equal a $48 entree.

Sports: The Patriots win the Super Bowl again, and the Red Sox win the World Series again; the city of Boston is set two more steps back from realizing its utter irrelevance.

Environment: Al Gore agrees to head a beefed-up version of the Environmental Protection Agency. His first act: Condemning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's front lawn.

Russia: In the final months of Vladimir Putin's term, Garry Kasparov is imprisoned and becomes the undefeated prison checkers champion.

Diplomacy: In December, President-elect Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walk away from their first meeting with one significant agreement: No more neckties!

Online: In the space of three weeks in the late fall, Facebook loses almost all its traffic to some other social network site that seems exactly the same to anyone older than 15

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Staggeringly Beautiful Photos Of New Police Headquarters Building in LA Times!

Photojournalism has had a number of periods where one or more newspapers or magazines had a series of great photographers. Henry Luce's Fortune Magazine in the 1930's, starting when he first hired Margaret Bourke-White in 1929, is a guilty pleasure of mine. I never miss a chance to see the original photographs and have lusted after many of them.

But in a more low key, day by day way - the Los Angeles Times has today put together a team of photographers second to none in the world. Even though a daily newspaper needs instant responses as opposed to the months - and even years in the past - a magazine photographer can sometimes spend on a single project, the quality of work turned out on a daily basis at the Times is often astonishing.

Today's photograph essay - best seen on-line - of the new Police Headquarters Building by Mel Melcon is just the latest of many examples of the exemplary work at the Times.

In the past, I have been particularly struck by the memorable images done at events I helped produce. I can still close my eyes and visualize the - alas, an on-line only I believe image - shot of the ballroom at the Los Angeles Theatre (possibly by a fish eye lens) during our last March BOXeight Fashion Show, by a photographer whose name I can not recall.

I also have sitting on my desk the Calendar front page with the photo of a model at our October show at St. Vibiana by Lawrence K. Ho. What surprises me is how much they saw at the events I was at and helped put together, but did not see until I saw their photographs.

I wish I could recall all of their names, but several of the best do show at the de Soto Gallery at 2nd and Main in the Higgins Building. So stop by and ask to see their work if you are in the area.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bizarre Fantasy Story About Pasadena's Ritz-Huntington Hotel!

In today's LA WEEKLY, the writer worries the new owners of Pasadena's Ritz-Huntington might be tempted to tear down or otherwise destroy the 'old' hotel's character.

The century-old hotel has been sold by the Los Angeles County Retirement Association to Langham Hotels International, which operates a small chain of luxury hotels around the globe, but only one in the United States. Langham’s parent company, the Hong Kong–based Great Eagle Holdings, has announced that the venerable Ritz Huntington will be quickly put to a $25 million renovation.

In the abstract, this might be seen as a benign development or even good news for an old hotel that perhaps could use a new coat of paint or some reinvigorated landscaping
Now this is shock because a previous owner DEMOLISHED the century old building! They then painstakingly built a brand new structure from the foundation up (in 1992) as an exact replica. They did save some of the architectural detail and much of two of the public rooms. But everything else is... new due to earthquake damage to the old structure.

The writer, though, is seems to be unaware of this when one reads paragraphs such as:

Our era has seen the triumph of paper-thin wealth and the lemming like stampede it has triggered to constantly buy or build something “new and bigger.” Like a window to our past, the very essence of the Ritz Huntington hearkens back to a less-frenetic, more-deliberate time. A little worn around the edges, perhaps, but it’s a century down the road and the Ritz Huntington still offers an air of grace.

There he clearly states the building is an old building that is worn around the edges - and not a building built in the prior decade. Plus his claims that the style of the Ritz-Huntington is in danger due to our collective culture is contradicted by fact when the prior American owners rebuilt the hotel back at a time when developers were far less likely to restore, much less rebuild, an older building, they even then recreated the old hotel.

Equally odd are his observations about two of Downtown's older hotels:

WHAT FUTURE CAN A CIVIC HEIRLOOM like the Hotel Figueroa look forward to in downtown L.A. today? As the power players’ shining new cathedral of L.A. Live — yet more restaurants and concert venues — rises just across Olympic Boulevard, the subtle 1920s grandeur of the “Hotel Fig,” with its rustic Moroccan interior and breezy Veranda Bar, may as well be on a deathwatch.

Up the street at the Biltmore, where I once parked cars as a valet a generation ago, I suspect the same pressures will come to bear. An old-world hotel is attempting to survive an era that’s characterized by people driving vehicles bigger than its rooms.

The idea that either the Hotel Figueroa or the Biltmore - two hugely successful hotels because of their character - are in danger of being demolished demonstrates a lack of understanding of everything driving the downtown boom.

The existence of these historic treasures is one of the main reasons new development is happening in the area. In fact, one of the developers of LA Live - Tim Leiweke, bought and and restored a low rise single story historic building in the area for a restaurant rather than tear it down for high rise condos.

And AEG - the overall developer of LA Live - also bought a the historic theater building (the old Variety Arts Center) with limited commercial potential and, rather than tearing it down or making it into something it was not - instead held it until they could find another developer who would restore the building and reopen it as several live theaters and performance venues.

Yes, that's right, they bought and saved an old theater building - that will compete with them - because of how much they value the historic buildings of Downtown. They are going out of their way to buy and save historic buildings with architectural distinction in their area when they could make more money demolishing them. The LA Live developers also strongly support the re-opening of the historic Broadway theaters.

Additionally, multiple American based hotel chains are right now looking for historic buildings - with small rooms, I might add - to convert into hotels rather than build new hotels; this interest is, of course, the exact opposite of what the article is saying is happening.

So how could anyone so misread the situation? How can anyone manage to get every claim in their article so wrong? How could he totally miss the fact that almost any old building of any size or any kind of distinction - no matter how rundown - is being bought by developers and being restored? Well, perhaps the answer in in the last two paragraphs:

As we have a nightcap and I listen to Cheung reflect on his first reactions to the hotel, I flirt with the notion that perhaps the Ritz Huntington got lucky when it was bought by an overseas firm.

That remains to be seen, with its fate in the hands of outsiders. But considering the meteoric ascent of the ugly American and his fetish for the overbuilt, overdone and overaggressive throughout Southern California these days, perhaps it is for the best
Ok. Now it all makes sense.

The fact the Ritz-Huntington is a new building that is only masquerading as an old building, the fact that when the Americans who owned it spent many more millions rebuilding the old hotel when they could have built something larger and splashier for less money, the fact that hundreds of millions of have been collectively put into refurbishing the Biltmore and Figueroa hotels he claims are on a deathwatch, the fact that American developers have bought and restored over a hundred Downtown area historic buildings for offices, stores, restaurants, and loft buildings, and the fact that overdone buildings are far more likely to be done by foreign and foreign born developers than American developers - is all meaningless.

The only thing that matters to the writer is how bad everything American is. Now there are plenty of things one can accurately say to try and make that case. But in this article, every single specific example cited Downtown is... dead wrong.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Has Craby Joe's Gone To Davy Jones's Locker?

Evidently, yes. I've been told that the depression era - and I recall hearing it opened right after prohibition ended - dive bar that everyone loved to hate - or hated to love - or... whatever.... closed for good on Christmas Eve. All the liquor was drunk up by and, supposedly, the sign was up for sale.

Now while this former Bukowski hangout was beloved by many of the regulars - others in the neighborhood lamented the drug dealers who too often infested the sidewalk in front of the bar, particularly after the main haunt... L & R Clothing(where Leroy sold 'clothes' out of a darkened store through a small sliding window all night long before he was arrested a second time) was shuttered by the police. But at least they still have their 'hamburger' stand....

Now I had heard from a police source that a sale was in the works - one step ahead of the DA's next action - and I also know Cedd Moses has long had designs on the place. So - hopefully - a good steward will soon reopen the place to keep some nighttime street life going(of the non-drug dealing type, for a change) at the corner of 7th and Main.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We're Number 8! LA's The 8th Greatest City In The World!

Actually, according to the London Independent newspaper, Los Angeles is tied with Washington DC as being the 7th (though they mistakenly list us as 8th) most powerful city when it comes to all things economic and cultural. And - surprise! surprise! - their carefully crafted criteria makes London the world's capital of culture and business, rather than... New York.

I'll examine later how bogus the survey is but to give you an idea - does anyone alive think LA and Washington DC are equal in cultural and private economic (as opposed to government) development? Or that Chicago and Madrid rank higher than LA in world wide cultural and economic impact? Or that Mexico City out ranks every city in China and India in international impact by a wide margin?

Below is the main article that links to all the other coverage:

(post updated in that the chart showed LA as number 9 which was my original headline, but I just noticed they mistakenly filled in the names of the topics of the columns witin the number 1 slot and so London is listed as number 2 on the chart even though it was... number 1)

The Cowboy Chistmas Colt

The first time Mr. D was bred was unexpected. Horny as hell and tired of waiting for me to arrange his loss of equine virginity (scheduled later that spring), D decided to mount a mare he had nickered after for some time the second she showed some interest in him.

Now since this was his first time (that we knew of), he appears to have skipped all the necessary steps of filly foreplay after she had initially presented him with her tentative interest. So there was some considerable conflict (the sound of which brought us running to the pasture) before she finally agreed to the consummation of the act. And the presence of two other more experienced stallions in the pasture likely contributed to his rushed sense of ‘carpe marum’.

Now this mare was in season in January only because a top stallion was in LA that month. That was because before his arrival, Tom's pard had kept her stall lit up like Dodger Stadium to trick her into thinking it was already the spring breeding season. But she still demonstrated no interest in the stallion when he was shown to her. The rejected suitor left and she was turned out to the pasture to graze upon the new winter grass (since this was the San Fernando and not the Owens Valley).

So whether it had just taken her a little more time for her hormones to kick in - or if she was really just waiting for Mr. D before she would present herself, we would never know. But we did realize, after doing some math – that we might have a proverbial Christmas foal later that year.

Eleven months later, on the morning of Christmas Eve, she was heavy with foal. A 'foal monitor' was in place so whomever was in the house - where Tom's pard and two of the others stayed when in LA - could hear her if she was in distress.

That morning I trailered over Mr. D from Lance's so D could join her and us as we all gathered together to exchange gifts and have an early dinner before retiring to our own families on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I departed before dusk, but left D in the stall next to her birthing pen to keep her company.

I got the call before eleven o’clock that night. Her increasing anxiety – which included snapping at Mr. D who then needed to be moved away from her – was a sign she was about to foal. Living on the far side of the Valley, I was among the last to arrive. Her water had broken, but no foal was appearing and she kept getting to her feet. Messages were left with the services of every vet we knew, but no one was calling back. It was clear she was about to drop a Christmas Eve foal, but that it wasn’t going to be coming out easily.

Now normally, as owner of the mare, Tom’s pard would have been attending to her, but as this was my first foal, I was to be the one assigned to assist her in the birth, this all arranged before we knew this it would be a complicated birth, this being her first foal.

D's vocal discomfit about not seeing what was going on made her more nervous so I let him out of his stall to stand and watch behind us. This calmed him down and he quietly nickered to her whenever she seemed in pain the most.

She finally appeared to try hard to deliver, but nothing came out. I had watched and helped in a number of deliveries to help prepare for this night so I stuck my hands into her to feel what was happening with the foal. But instead of the hooves or legs I should have felt, I felt only other parts of the body, including what felt distressingly like a nose.

As the others looked at each other, each knowing I was not remotely equipped to handle this my first time out the chute (so to speak), Lance and Tom exchanged glances and Lance gave a slight nod of assent to Tom. It made sense for Tom to be the one to intercede because were we still technically at odds with each other, so he being a ‘jerk’ and taking over for me would be expected where as Lance doing so would indicate a lack of faith by him in my non-existent abilities – plus while Tom had the biggest paws of any of us – he also had the skilled hands of a surgeon. He was easily the most qualified of us to handle a difficult birth.

Tom then made a point of shoving me aside and announced it was time for someone who knew what the hell he was doing to take over. Tom started by further opened her up with his hands to figure out what kind of mess she had gotten herself into while he muttered one of his more typical expletives.

He then got his arms almost shoulder deep into her when he uttered a convoluted seven or eight word expletive I had never heard him utter before. This indicated the seriousness of the situation. He then started to work the foal around into proper position as Lance explained to me that Tom had to first shove the foal back up the birth canal into her uterus – a couple times, it turned out - to try and reposition it while the others worked to keep her calm so that she would not move or kick Tom while he quietly (and melodically and soothingly) cursed her for making him do this, cursed Mr. D for knocking her up and cursed me for existing.

Finally, after several false starts, the first part of the foal began to appear to our quiet cheers as Tom was drenched with sweat. The rest of the foal’s body ever so slowly made itself out, not quite in the right order, until the rest of the foal suddenly popped out and Tom fell on his back, the foal partially on top of him.

The tension had been so great, we all broke out into laughter. Tom, as attending vet, then pronounced the foal a colt, even though he had been repeatedly predicting – due to its inability to decide if it wanted to leave the womb or not – that it had to be a filly.

The mare - by then totally exhausted - finally stood and began to lick her new colt while the rest of us stepped away to allow them to bond. Mr. D then tried to approach the colt to inspect him, but she firmly warned him away until he nuzzled and nickered at her enough to sneak in a couple of a couple quick licks of his new son – typical of the always totally unhorse like behavior of my totally unhorse like horse. D then walked over to my side to rest his head on my shoulder while we watched them bond until their son stood and took his first steps upon the hay of his early morning manger.

Oh, and one more thing.

After we had all laughed at Tom's pratfall, Tom's pard announced it was 12:05 Christmas day.

We had a Cowboy Christmas Colt.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Cowboy Almost Christmas Wedding

Two things were clear from the start.

First, we would spend the rest of our lives together.

There was never a question about that.

Second, I was not remotely ready to get married.

There was even less disagreement on that.

My ever wayward – and continent hopping - cowhand career (which by then had little to do with cows other than eating them) at that time still took precedence over my nascent (and unremunerated) writing career.

So while our increasingly… adventuresome… adventures were becoming rather lucrative, I had - without realizing it - made a decision not to live off of - or save any of that money, but to instead only use my share to finance further cowboy adventures to fuel my dopamine-starved brain.

Despite this stubbornness and male pride, though, she still hung in there with me and patiently waited until I would feel financially capable of providing for her in ways other than liberating stolen airplanes from foreign governments or riding shotgun on diamond shipments along the Orinoco.

Finally, though, one day Lance, as head cowboy, decided to take matters into his own hands and decided he was going to make an honest cowhand of me whether I wanted to be one or not. So shortly before Christmas, he announced he would marry us himself in a cowboy wedding and gave us – and everyone else – 48 hours to make arrangements.

I tried to challenge his authority on this, but he reminded me if a captain of a ship was entitled to marry couples, then as the captain of our sea of horses he certainly could.

Two days later on Christmas eve, in all my finest cowhand finery, I marched down an aisle in the middle of a corral lined with all the others in their newly shined, polished, groomed, and tailored cowboy suits, boots, hats and spurs. Plus each of our personal horses was also in attendance, each of them tacked out within an inch of their lives. Said horses also shortly created considerable unintentional – or more likely – intentional – humor as our horses did all the usual things that horses are often wont to do when around other horses.

Then in a brilliant stroke that displayed his true evilness, Lance had dragooned my ever faithless horse - Mr. D - into being the ring bearer, and Mr. D trotted down the aisle after me with his teeth holding a box with the rings that would symbolize my loss of freedom though eternal bridledom. (And with all the attention given my bride and my horse, if I hadn't shown up – no one would have much noticed – or cared)

Fortunately, D did not mistake the five carats of the ring (and as we were being paid in diamonds, size was no object) for real carrots, otherwise we would have had a wedding delay while we waited for the ring to reappear.

And, speaking of dodged bullets, with Bach as my best man since Lance was performing the ceremony – (and if there was ever anyone born to host a bachelor party, it was Bach since his nickname was short for… bachelor) it was a miracle any of us had the energy left to make it to the wedding.

Then when it finally came time to close the ceremony, Lance nodded his head as he announced I could kiss my bride and exactly as those words came from his mouth – my horse gently nudged me towards my bride with his nose – to the collective vocal ... aww.... of approval of everyone in attendance.

And so I was totally upstaged not just once, but twice at my own wedding by my own horse.

Then, after kissing my bride (after which she gave my Benedict Arnold of a horse both a hug and a kiss), I had the seriously mitigated pleasure of watching all the others embrace and kiss my new wife under my watchful eye – when Lance came over and announced this ceremony was his early Christmas present to me.

But just before I could properly thank him, for a moment I saw that look of incredible sadness in his eyes, the look he had when his thoughts turned to his wife and his son.

And when he saw me reacting to his momentary mood, he turned on his easy grin and reached over and gave me a ‘friendly squeeze’ on my shoulder – which left black and blue finger imprints all over my shoulder for a full week. And between the knee weakening pain and his grin, he had changed the mood and the subject.

But now looking back, I wonder if Lance somehow, or in some way knew that in all too short a time, we would all gather together again, but this time to celebrate a life that had far too soon ended before laying her to rest on the ridge where Lance’s wife and son already lay in wait for him.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hollywood Bowl Opens New Winter Season!

Yes! The Hollywood Bowl. Not just for summer any more.

According to their new advertising campaign - you can now take the shuttle service and enjoy late December concerts! Or at least that is what the new posters promoting their shuttle serice posted yesterday on Red Line subway would seem to suggest.

Headless Horsemen Haunt Happening!

Just when you thought the walk between Ralph's and the 7th and Flower subway stop cound't get any more forbidding - now every street light on the east side of Flower between 8th and 9th is out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vote For Downtown! NOW!!

Historic Core has made it to the CURBEDLA finals!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Seen Any Headless Horsemen Downtown Lately? Well... Just Wait!

Downtown’s Haunted Walk of Horror!

If you missed the haunted house attractions of last Halloween, you can still get your thrills and chills by simply walking the single darkest and scariest place in all Downtown; the two terror filled blocks between the front door of Ralphs and the 7th and Hope subway stop.

Now this surprisingly deserted pathway should be well lit to encourage people to get to Ralphs by subway rather than getting in their cars and driving; but, instead, this corridor of darkness seems to have been lit for a night shoot of Icabod Crane’s immortal encounter with the headless horseman. If CIM had deliberately decided to create barrier between the subway and Ralphs to keep us subway-riding riffraff out of their stores, they could not have done a better job.

This free of charge thrill ride begins once you leave the front door of Ralph’s and start to head east; after you pass the glass walls of Ralphs, and once the corner coffee shop closes, darkness ensues and hope vanishes. There is no exterior lighting anywhere on that side of that building that directly lights the sidewall.

Then upon turning the corner onto the ironically called ‘Hope’ Street to head north – all hope becomes extinguished since there not one exterior light that shines directly on the side walk (and only a few pale lights barely illuminating the side of the building). Not a single light brightens your path until you approach the canopy over the front door. Then, even when you do reach those few lights, they are placed so high as to be almost useless; they dispense little light on the sidewalk – even on the rare occasion those lights aren’t burned out.

And that’s the good news!

It then gets darker and darker the rest of the block. From then on – on both sides of the street – the sidewalks are just barely illumined by the dimmest of dim lights in all Los Angeles – excepting possibly a few dim bulbs at City Hall. Even by the impossibly low standards of downtown street lights – these barely provide enough light to create even a pale shadow.

So while I used to see people walking the subway stop at night after Ralphs first opened, and even though there are more people in the store at night, it’s been weeks since I’ve seen even a single person make that walk from the subway in the evening. People simply do not feel safe walking along streets when it's too dark to recognize the faces of the people walking towards you.

So what needs to be done?

First, CIM needs to attach lights on all sides of ALL their buildings that are not just decorative – but lights that actually provide enough light on the sidewalks so pedestrians will feel comfortable. Then they need to realize how dark their sidewalks are once the light in the stores have been turned out and light the outsides of their buildings so that the sidewalks feel safe even when the stores are closed.

Lastly, CIM needs to get the city to put real light bulbs in the street lights (and fix the ones that are broken) so the rest of the block (and the next block before the subway stop) is bright enough at night for people to feel comfortable walking.

It’s either that – or keep a sharp eye out for the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Did David Beckham Buy At LA Live's Ritz-Carlton?

That's what Page SIX reports today. And I had heard a five million dollar unit is in escrow - so if one did sell for eight million - it would be a new record:

Looks like British import David Beckham has plans to stay in sunny California. The L.A. Galaxy star has plunked down $8 million for a luxurious loft space in the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live, a testament to “ultramodern style living” that is currently being built downtown. Sounds just like Posh’s taste!

Their opulent 3000-square-foot pad on the 18th floor of the tower overlooks the adjacent Staples Center and the new Nokia Center, as well as the entire L.A. skyline. David, Victoria and their three boys will share the building (which features 224 extravagant condos and 52 stories of hotel rooms) with big names, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and basketball star Kobe Bryant. For a cost of $20,000 per month, high-rise dwellers will have access to five-star amenities and services.

This is the Beckhams second West Coast home. They already own a $9 million spread in Beverly Hills that Victoria selected before the family moved to the United States in July.

Other units in the ten million range are also going to be available.