Images of Venice, California, with gondolas on its canals and oil wells lining its beach, form powerful impressions in the mind.
These views are c. 1910 and 1950s, respectively.
I recently had the chance to visit downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)—which is certainly one of the most fascinating places on the planet—and stay at the Ace Hotel. The Ace opened this year in an epic renovation of the 1927 United Artists Building (which has also been used by Texaco and was then a church).
The Ace is rivaled in downtown architectural coolness only by the 1930 Eastern Columbia Building (now condos), which I also visited. It is one of the masterpieces of the art deco era and seems to have no parallel anywhere in the universe.
These buildings are remnants of a previous era on South Broadway, as well as anchors for the neighborhood’s current resurgence.