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Tanzirian in LA

51166 Views 141 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  tanzirian
Hi everyone! I moved to LA in June, though I have travelling to the city fairly frequently for the past two years. I am creating this thread for the possibly thousands of photos that I take during my time here.

Recently I went for a stroll around Broadway, and I thought I would start with some pictures from there. I am a big supporter of both historic preservation and urban renewal, and I sincerely hope this area is restored to its former greatness some day.

For anyone unfamiliar with Broadway, it used to be LA's main entertainment and shopping street before WWII. With decentralization of the city, white flight, etc after World War II, the area declined, together with the rest of downtown LA. Broadway found a second life as the main commercial street for the city's working class latino community, and as such at least remains a vibrant (though unaffluent) locale. While gentrification has started to creep into the corners of downtown, this area still retains a somewhat seedy and gritty character. Despite that, there is great potential here. There are no less than 12 historic theaters in close proximity to each other, waiting to find a second lease on life, and many other beautiful old buildings besides, that could become home to apartments if the area becomes more attractive.

But anywho, I parked and started out near Pershing Square...

Pershing Square was LA's first (if I'm not mistaken)...and today has a wonderful architectural backdrop combining old-school buildings like the Biltmore Hotel with newer skyscrapers and other buildings. The square so-so. While it's not bad, and is certainly colorful, I think the space uses too much concrete and is fragmented into too many sections and levels. Unaviodably, there is also some of the seediness of the general area. Still, with a thoughtful redesign, and with general uplifting of the neighborhood, this could easily become a truly great square.

Biltmore to the fore...

This nice deco building is on the northeast corner of the square...I think it's the former Ohio Oil Building?

...and this oldie with attractive brickwork is in the southwest corner...the color and patterns are similar to the Biltmore's...I believe it was the Associated Realty Building, or something like that. Next to it, another nice oldie with a clock on top...I think formerly known as the James Oviatt Building.

A picture of Assoc. Realty with Aon Tower in the background...

More coming up...but it's about time for me to hit the sack today...
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Wow...very good shots
^^ Thanks

I went down 7th Street, with primary intent of taking a peek at the old Warner Brothers Theater.

A couple of random shots:

This (below) is the Warner Bros. Theater Building...which was the main showpiece for the studio back in the 1920s. Today it is part of Downtown LA's Jewellery District.

The theater survives largely intact but the interior has been partitioned to accomodate its current function. I've read that the current owners generally don't mind people interested in photographing the interior...I'll try that some other time. Subsequent to this theater the Warners built a number of art deco gems around town. The largest is in Hollywood and sits abandoned, waiting for some TLC. There are also fine examples in San Pedro and Huntington Park. A truly beautiful Warner theater in Beverly Hills was sadly demo'd in 1988 and replaced with...a parking lot.

In the pic below, the Downtown Warner is to the right. I believe the building on the right was called the Foreman Building.

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This great little example of example of art deco is between 7th St and Pershing Sq...I think it's on Hill St, if I remember correctly. The glazed sea-green veneer is reminiscent of two of LA's more famous deco edifices - the Wiltern Theater and the Eastern Columbia Bldg.

I think this is 6th St, looking east:

These buildings look very business-like, yet with ornate details as typical of yesteryear...

Same buildings to the left, looking south on Hill St, if I remember correctly...

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Obviously no central air in those buildings.
These are great pics! Do you know Apu Nahasapemapetalan?​
Welcome to LA. Are you from Armenia?
^^ Yes, I'm originally from Bangladesh.

I got the idea for the Sanjay pic from another forumer who had Apu's (the two are supposed to be the same ethnicity as me).

And yes my screen name sounds Armenian but that has to do with yet another Simpsons related matter that would take too long to explain.

...and just to clarify...I'm really not that much of a Simpsons nut...but these two aspects of my SSC identity just happened to relate to the series.
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^ Awesome! LA could use some more Bangladeshi folks. :tongue3:

Did you know that we have a Little Bangladesh? It's a four-block stretch of 3rd Street between New Hampshire and Alexandria. :lol:
^^ Yes, we Bangladeshis are known for our small numbers. I'll have to check that area some time :)

Anywhos...some more pics.

Finally getting to Broadway...the very ornate building with the arch is the Arcade Building. Next to it are three surviving theaters. Right to left, they are the Arcade, Cameo, and Roxie Theaters...all three in disuse, I think (but at least, all still intact).

The Arcade Building, does, in fact, have an arcade (photo below). This hall provides a passage from Broadway to Spring St. Today it serves as home to a variety of small vendors...but it's not difficult to imagine it spruced up as a classy home to shops and eateries.

Just to the south are two of the most important theaters, the Palace and the Los Angeles. The Palace, on the east side of the street, was the main showcase for RKO (one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age, together with MGM, Paramout, Warners, and Fox) before the construction of the grander Orpheum Theater down the street. Across from the Palace on the west side of the street is the Los Angeles, which has perhaps the glitziest interior of all of LA's historic theaters. The image below, the Palace marquee is on the right, and the LA is on the left.

Here is a view of the Palace from the east side of the street...

...and here is a close up of the Los Angeles.

I think this theater is modeled on the San Francisco Fox Theater. The latter I consider a contender for the most beautiful movie palace ever built, and it was also twice the size of the LAT. However, the LA Theater is still here...whereas the SF Fox, like many of the greatest movie houses, was torn down (in 1960, I think).

On another note, anyone visiting Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim may note that the facade of the "Hyperion" Theater is actually based on that of the LAT.
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Nice work Tanzirian... the city of LA in a different lense, I like it.
^^ Thanks.

Some more theaters... Here is one of my favorite, the Tower Theater. This one is smaller than some of the others, and has a somewhat uniquely shaped interior. The exterior is quite distinctive, too:

While most of the theaters on Broadway are in need of restoration, the one that already been spruced up (and one of the best) is the Orpheum Theater. This became the main showcase for RKO Studios, taking over from the Palace. I fully intend to attend a show here in the upcoming months, and will take some pics for SSC when I do.

This shot has three nice buildings in one pic...the Orpheum on the left, United Artists Theater in the background in the middle, and Eastern Columbia Bldg to the right of center.

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Great pictures. As is obvious, most of DT's aesthetic problems are at street level not in the buildings (although some buildings not pictured are expendable). We need more medians; better sidewalks; some streets closed to traffic; tougher signage rules. Otherwise a huge asset is being wasted.

I am even wondering if there should be much push for more office business in "old DT" or if it should be pushed toward housing and retail, with Bunker Hill and Civic Center staying as commercial and institutional.
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Great pictures. As is obvious, most of DT's aesthetic problems are at street level not in the buildings (although some buildings not pictured are expendable). We need more medians; better sidewalks; some streets closed to traffic; tougher signage rules. Otherwise a huge asset is being wasted.

I am even wondering if there should be much push for more office business in "old DT" or if it should be pushed toward housing and retail, with Bunker Hill and Civic Center staying as commercial and institutional.
I would lean towards residential. I am not sure how good these old buildings are for modern business. But downtown is not lacking in modern office space. What it needs are for more people to want to live there. A restoration of the historic district, which has so much potential character...together with concurrent improvements in cleanliness and safety...would help towards achieving that goal.
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The southern end of the main section has two great buildings, the Eastern Columbia Bldg and United Artists Theater Bldg. The Eastern Columbia is a fine example of art deco, with two distinctive elements - a green glazed veneer and big clock on top.

Here it is in the glare of the sun, in this view looking north...with the UA Theater in the foreground left.

A closer shot of some entrance details:

Unfortunately I did not get pics that do justice to the UA building. This Spanish-gothic delight is my favorite theater / tower combo in all LA, together with the Wiltern on Wilshire Blvd. Some day, I will get better pics, including hopefully the interior of the theater, which is currently a church. Till then though, these two:

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Gorgeous pics. Very informative. Was at Artwalk last night and downtown has so much potential....
Artwalk shows that downtown isn't about potential but more about actual.

Great tour Tanzirian. I can't wait to see more.
^^ Thanks all

Just a few other random pics...

The building below houses Loew's State Theater. MGM was Hollywood's biggest studio during much of the "golden age"...and Loew's was its theater chain. Sorry that I didn't get a picture that does the building has really attractive brickwork in a lush red color. I'll rectify that some other time.

Just a random but nicely detailed doorway a little south of the Orpheum...

...and another shot of the Orpheum just for good measure.

Before leaving downtown for an evening invite, I stopped by to get a membership with the public library. The main entrance is on Flower St:

There is beautiful rotunda half hidden away on the second level:

There was also a nice modern atrium that I neglected to take pictures of...will remember to do so next time. And that's all the pics for just now, but many more will follow periodically, including interiors and further details of some of the theaters.
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I was in Downtown recently and walked through the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Civic Center, Historic Core, South Park, and the Financial District. Yes, it is just amazing how much potential there is around every corner.
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