The beleaguered paddle boats will get some KCRW air time today on Warren Olney's Which Way L.A. Eric Garcetti is set to discuss with Warren the beloved watercraft -- a Parks Dept. concession that dates back to the 1890s, when recreational canoes plied the waters of Echo Park Lake. Parks and Wreck (as one friend of mine has decided to call them for the moment) wants to shut the concession -- effective June 30 -- because it isn't "financially sustainable."
A Chicken Corner reader, Ofer Lion, put the question nicely in an email, when he wrote:
I would like to know the rationale behind cutting the service. And please don't tell me it's because the boats don't turn a profit, which is about the most ridiculous reason to shut down a public park service I could ever dream of.
Here, here. (Or is that hear, hear? Or Hear here?)
A few blocks away, on Sunset Boulevard, it's Code Red at the Gold Room, as writer Daniel Hernandez put it. Hernandez, who reports a crush of hipsters on the street in front of the down and out bar, digs his fingernails into his palms and then takes a breath to consider:
Why fault Gold Room for wanting to make an extra buck? Why get all haughty and neighborhood essentialist when, as someone with a blog, I'm as much a part of the problem as the kids that flipped La Cita? Because Gold Room is special. In a gentrifying city, it's stayed real -- real paisas, real skimpily dressed bargirls, and, on most nights, real danger. My four years of regular patronage have got nothing on the real cabrones who guard their watering hole with steely stares and the occasional "rough play," whether threatened or carried out.
Yes, that's the problem with gentrification. It doesn't just stop at the perfect moment. About five years ago, I heard stories of the late singer Elliott Smith passing the time quietly at the Gold Room. Who told me? A hipster. By chance, I suppose, I have never been inside the Gold Room. Looks like I missed my chance.