NYT poses the question: should LA New Yorkify?

times+square+srr.jpgInteresting exercise on the New York Times website. The paper notes City Hall's plans to densify the center of Hollywood with high-rise towers and transit hubs, and asks six Angelenos (or ex-Angelenos) to opine and debate on these questions: Is it the start of a “New Yorkified” Los Angeles? And if so, is the City of Angels ready? But it's really about Hollywood.

The participants are William Fulton, the planning writer and former city official in Ventura who recently moved to Washington; UCLA professor Eric Avila; Curbed LA senior editor Adrian Glick; Los Angeles I'm Yours blogger Cori Clark Nelson; writer Reggie Rock Bythewood; and Susan Morgan, editor of the new anthology, "Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader."

Sample from Glick: "The Hollywood Community Plan drafted up by city planners doesn’t try to turn Hollywood into Tokyo, or New York, or even the planning utopia of Portland. All it does is try to make Hollywood into the best version of the little city it already is."

Fulton says in part: "New York is an intensely compelling urban place, and historically Los Angeles has been the Big Apple’s opposite number -- the kind of place you come to for a really different life experience....But now a funny thing is happening: L.A. is becoming way more urban. The delis, theater and restaurants really are as good as in New York. And while L.A. is still fairly low-rise and auto-oriented over all, it’s increasingly a place where you can live a more traditional car-free urban lifestyle. New Yorkers may think that reinventing Hollywood as an urban center is nuts, but the truth is Hollywood already is an urban center."

The exercise caught the eye of lawyer Ben Sheffner, who notes on Facebook: "I have shown great loyalty to the LA Times over the decades, but the fact that the NY Times is beating the hell out of them on a local zoning dispute in my neighborhood is making me re-think."

LA Observed photo of Manhattan's Times Square by Sean Roderick

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