Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bldgblog on my new town

I like his take:

I got back from Los Angeles last night and my head is still spinning. I'd move there again in a heartbeat.
There are three great cities in the United States: there's Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York – in that order.
I love Boston; I even love Denver; I like Miami; I think Washington DC is habitable; but Los Angeles is Los Angeles. You can't compare it to Paris, or to London, or to Rome, or to Shanghai. You can interestingly contrast it to those cities, sure, and Los Angeles even comes out lacking; but Los Angeles is still Los Angeles.

[Image: L.A., as photographed by Marshall Astor].

No matter what you do in L.A., your behavior is appropriate for the city. Los Angeles has no assumed correct mode of use. You can have fake breasts and drive a Ford Mustang – or you can grow a beard, weigh 300 pounds, and read Christian science fiction novels. Either way, you're fine: that's just how it works. You can watch Cops all day or you can be a porn star or you can be a Caltech physicist. You can listen to Carcass – or you can listen to Pat Robertson. Or both.
That's how we dooz it.

L.A. is the apocalypse: it's you and a bunch of parking lots. No one's going to save you; no one's looking out for you. It's the only city I know where that's the explicit premise of living there – that's the deal you make when you move to L.A.
The city, ironically, is emotionally authentic.
It says: no one loves you; you're the least important person in the room; get over it. What matters is what you do there.

I agree with his assessment about the three great American cities--San Francisco and Boston are wonderful, but then so is Madison. None of them are as consequential as the big three. I think he gets Washington right--it is perfectly pleasant, and has become far more international in the years I have been coming and going to and from it, but I have never been able to fall in love with it, as I have Madison--and Chicago, New York and Los Angeles (and Rome and Tokyo and Hong Kong and Mumbai, but that is for another time).

In any case, Randy Newman's song is not ironic, and neither am I--I love LA, and am looking forward to many happy years there.


Uncle Billy said...

Welcome to the Hotel Green:

"Hotel Green

Hotel Green, 1900.The Hotel Green started construction on South Raymond Avenue at Kansas Street in 1887 by Mr. Webster who was unable to finish it. Colonel George Gill Green, a wealthy patent medicine distributor from New Jersey, finished the six story edifice in 1888. In 1898, he finished construction on a second edifice on the other side of Raymond and connected the two buildings with a bridge and a tunnel. The patrons arrived by train at the adjacent station. In 1902, the hotel was extended to the P.G. Wooster building at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Green Street. In 1924, the hotel became a private residence. The annex was razed to its first story and sold, today known as Stat's Floral Supply. In 1970, the two wings of the hotel were partitioned creating two separate buildings. The 1898 section remained the private residence now called the Castle Green. The 1902 portion was taken over by the government's HUD program for senior residents and disabled persons, and is called the Green Hotel. In 1929, Kansas Street was widened and renamed Green Street."


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