Thirty Posts in Thirty Days

Nathan Marsak

Nathan Marsak

· 6 min read

RIP Los Angeles has been absent from the landscape for a good long time, yes. Certainly not because the developers all read this blog and exclaimed "hey! we're moral lepers!" and thereafter ceased the wholesale destruction of our shared cultural heritage. And I certainly wasn't gone because the City suddenly decided it needed some sort of sane policy to ensure a livable environment. Rather, the eradication of our collective memory has gotten worse.

Which may have been the reason I stopped; this enterprise became too depressing. (That, and I got really busy over the last eighteen months publishing and promoting three books. Moreover the original RIP website was hacked to all hell by some Kyrgyzstani bitcoin scam, and it took forever to transfer everything to a stable server.)

But I wanted to jump back into the thing, ergo: RIP September: Thirty Posts in Thirty Days. Because I can so easily produce a post-a-day should underscore the irksome regularity with which our city—once replete with charm and heart—is torn apart, picked clean, and remade into a bland sea of third-rate khrushchevki.

Moreover, the first of September is the blog's anniversary! Yes, the very first post was Sept. 1, 2019 (and yes, the building I wrote about lo these four years ago was sacrificed on the altar of the Density Brownshirts, oh and did I mention the nifty 1947 apartments across the street at 139 S Occidental, with the Regency columns and broken pediment door surrounds, is being replaced with this exercise in greige, which I should mention replaces fourteen rent-stabilized units with nine deed-restricted medium rent units, because, as happens every time, IT MAKES TOTAL SENSE TO AWARD DEVELOPERS ZONING VARIANCES OF EXTRA HEIGHT AND NO SETBACKS IN EXCHANGE FOR A NET LOSS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING).

Of course, each forthcoming post won't be quite as involved as those of yore. Without having endless hours in every day, this month's posts won't be as worked up as when a doomed liquor store produces a discourse on the Late Moderne, or involve endless outrage when jerkbags act like total jerkbags, or involve pleas to the Catholic Church that then result in ranty videos, etc., etc.

Rather, I'll simply point out something that's happened, or is going to happen, without going too much into it.

For example, this case filing from last week, on August 24th:

...whereby the three SFD at 1030, 1038, and 1044 North Manzanita will disappear:

That is, these three single family homes, set back from the street, with all the calm and grace and mature trees that once made people want to live in Silver Lake, displaced by fifty units in the form of a six-story box—seventy feet tall—flush with the sidewalk, covering every inch of three lots.

1030-32 North Manzanita. Mission Revival, 1922, note the orange tree. The dream of Los Angeles, once; now bête noire of the ruling class and their shocktroops.

1038 North Manzanita. Classical Revival, 1922, designed by Chicago architect Perley B. Hale, who, after moving west, is probably best known for the 1913 Lincoln Hotel in San Diego. The round portico with the railing is especially fetching.

1044 North Manzanita. A bit tough to view with all the foliage. But it's a classic cockpit bungalow, built in 1910. The giant Canary Island Date Palms will go, especially because developers routinely yank those out and sell them to Vegas casinos for a hundred grand a pop. Speaking of trees, check out the Deodar Cedar adjacent 1038—

That will definitely have to go, as we all know developers really hate Deodars.

Here's a shot of the three, up on their sightly terraced lots, with a view of the capacious and lush backyards:

The horror! I mean, what if people actually had fruit trees and shade trees and a little area to sit in the quiet and contemplate life??? Well, then they might figure out the Developer Class and their puppets, Friendly Local Government, want them packed into fifty units instead.

Why look it's an enormous beige block, what a surprise. Image of "1030 Manzanita" via Warren Techentin Architecture.

Destruction of the block has already begun, of course. Next door at 1048, they built this thing, which is bad enough, and it's but a mere four stories with a measly eight units.

I won't even mention this new beige charmer built across the street...

There are a lot of incredible homes on Manzanita between Santa Monica and Hoover, and soon they'll all be gone, and I'll be able to say I told you so, cold comfort that'll be.

So, this is just to hip you what's coming down the pike, a post-a-day all September. Enjoy! And by enjoy, I mean recoil in disgust!

P.S. Do you have a special place on your block that's headed for a landfill? Somewhere in the neighborhood you think is threatened, or just somewhere in LA that speaks to you, and you've noticed it neglected or boarded up? Shoot me a wire! Just hit "Contact" above.

Nathan Marsak

About Nathan Marsak

NATHAN MARSAK says: “I came to praise Los Angeles, not to bury her. And yet developers, City Hall and social reformers work in concert to effect wholesale demolition, removing the human scale of my town, tossing its charm into a landfill. The least I can do is memorialize in real time those places worth noting, as they slide inexorably into memory. In college I studied under Banham. I learned to love Los Angeles via Reyner’s teachings (and came to abjure Mike Davis and his lurid, fanciful, laughably-researched assertions). In grad school I focused on visionary urbanism and technological utopianism—so while some may find the premise of preserving communities so much ill-considered reactionary twaddle, at least I have a background in the other side. Anyway, I moved to Los Angeles, and began to document. I drove about shooting neon signs. I put endless miles across the Plains of Id on the old Packard as part of the 1947project; when Kim Cooper blogged about some bad lunch meat in Compton, I drove down to there to check on the scene of the crime (never via freeway—you can’t really learn Los Angeles unless you study her from the surface streets). But in short order one landmark after another disappeared. Few demolitions are as contentious or high profile as the Ambassador or Parker Center; rather, it is all the little houses and commercial buildings the social engineers are desperate to destroy in the name of the Greater Good. The fabric of our city is woven together by communities and neighborhoods who no longer have a say in their zoning or planning so it’s important to shine a light on these vanishing treasures, now, before the remarkable character of our city is wiped away like a stain from a countertop. (But Nathan, you say, it’s just this one house—no, it isn’t. Principiis obsta, finem respice.) And who knows, one might even be saved. Excelsior!””
Nathan’s blogs are: Bunker Hill Los Angeles, RIP Los Angeles & On Bunker Hill.

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