Monday, December 8, 2008

The Times Square of the West?

This past Saturday, Tami and I made a pit stop on our way to her brother's loft in downtown Los Angeles to check out the much-touted "LA Live" complex - situated at the north end of the Staples Center complex @ Figueroa & Olympic - which has been dubbed by many in the local press as the "Times Square of the West".

Ummm... nice, but no.

Because this...

...simply doesn't equate to this:

In fact, the only thing in the western US I can think of that's even remotely close to Times Square, in terms of scale and spectacle, would be the Strip in Las Vegas... and even that's a considerably different creature.

What LA Live is however is something that SoCal has a patented hammer-lock
, a design model done better here than anywhere else in the country.

Locally, it's what's some call "shoppertainment" - the big overblown outdoor shopping/dining/nightlife areas that can be found just about everywhere around here (3rd St Promenade, the Hollywood & Highland complex, etc).

I'm all for seeing new development in downtown LA - there's been plenty of it in recent years - but one has to wonder if this neck of the woods *really* needs yet another gathering point like this. The investment put into this project would imply so but color me skeptical. The hipster crowd is hardly going to flock given the proximity to trendier LA areas nearby and, as mentioned, the general concept here is hardly a new one. The complex isn't quite a finished project either; only a few higher-end chain restaurants and bars open currently (no shops or clubs yet), making this largely a watering hole for Laker fans at the moment

Time will tell I suppose. As disjointed as Los Angeles is, it could certainly do with a true Times Square to help pull it together... but for now, this is hardly the spot.

- M

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