As I walk around Hollywood, I still see a few patches of open, undeveloped land. It’s been a wet spring and they’re still green now, in early May. Of course, as the building bubble continues to stretch and inflate, I think, “Well, that won’t be there long much longer.” And I'm generally right.
And as I look, and sometimes take a picture, I think to myself, there’s an art project here – "The last patch of green in Hollywood." It isn’t a project for me but it definitely could be for somebody.
For instance, there used to be a patch of bare ground on Franklin Avenue that stayed empty all year and then each December some local entrepreneur rented it and sold Christmas trees from it. This was recently paved over and it’s now the staff parking lot for Gelson’s supermarket. I don’t know what will happen come December.
And a couple of days back I was looking at a patch of land on Hollywood Boulevard, empty and still with a few remains (rather than ruins) of whatever had previously been there.
As well as some greenery there were also, naturally, piles of rubbish, although you can see worse piles of rubbish in this city, in pretty much any city. There was even this surprisingly stylish, abandoned bra (although maybe it's half a bikini):
And as I was taking these photographs I heard a woman shouting, “That’s right. Take more pictures. Take more pictures.”
She sounded annoyed although not specifically with me, and she did, in some sense, mean what she was saying.
“Take more photographs and send them to the mayor,” she said, with passion rather than anger. “I’ve written to him but it does no good. Maybe he should see some pictures.”
So we talked, and she said that this empty lot had become a hangout for homeless druggies, hence the garbage, though it was uninhabited at that moment. She lived in the apartment block next door and she thought this lot was disgusting and dangerous, and you could definitely see her point. Sympathy with the homeless doesn’t necessarily mean you want them as immediate neighbors.
And then she said, “Ah well they’ll be building there soon,” which was undoubtedly true.
Not very far away, in a corner of a newly built apartment block, I did find this patch of green. It’s a (very, very small) dog park. The “grass” is Astroturf.