The History Los Angeles Has Lost to the Pandemic |
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The History Los Angeles Has Lost to the Pandemic

Photojournal by Ted Soqui

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The pandemic took more than just precious lives away from us—it took our careers, landmarks, music, art, restaurants and theaters.
Here are some of the places COVID-19 has bequeathed to Los Angeles history. 

 

Some of them were elegant, others fun, many of them substantial to the cultural identity of L.A. All of them will be missed along with the folks that worked, performed and hung out in them. Los Angeles has always been a city that looked to the future, but it also has a strong, historic past, one that deserves to be celebrated.

Aerial view of the distinctive blue AstroTurf pool deck at the Standard Hotel on the Sunset Strip. The Standard opened in West Hollywood in 1999 with the financial support of Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Benicio del Toro and Smashing Pumpkins members D’arcy Wretzky and James Iha.The hotel shut its doors on Jan. 22, 2021. The COVID pandemic has wreaked havoc on the tourism industry in Los Angeles.

The Sunset Car Wash has been closed since late February 2020. The Brutalist concrete landmark built in 1972 has cleaned some of the world’s most amazing automobiles. Celebrities and locals favored the Wash due to its proximity to the Sunset Strip. The business appears to be shut down; homeless people and graffiti have overtaken the property.

Aerial view of the Ralphs Supermarket at 9616 West Pico Blvd., in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles. Deemed to be underperforming by the Ralph’s chain and set to be closed along with several other locations. Local Jewish residents were upset by the closure and protested to keep the store open as it featured numerous kosher items. Many felt the closures were brought on by Ralph’s executives' bitterness over the $5 “Hero Pay” raises for grocery workers required by local governments. Frontline grocery workers faced increased risk of contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic. The store closed on May 15, 2021.

Aerial view of the Olympia Medical Center, appearing like a bow of a great ship. The 204-bed hospital in Mid-Wilshire closed on March 31, 2021, ending all emergency and patient services. The hospital opened in 1947 near the corner of Olympic and San Vicente boulevards as Midway Hospital, and served the uninsured, seniors, and the Black and Latino communities. During the pandemic, 450 health care workers lost their jobs due to the hospital closure.

Hospital closed sign to the main entrance at the Olympia Medical Center. The 204-bed hospital in Mid-Wilshire closed on March 31, 2021, ending all emergency and patient services. The hospital opened in 1947 near the corner of Olympic and San Vicente boulevards as Midway Hospital, and served the uninsured, seniors, and the Black and Latino communities. During the pandemic, 450 health care workers lost their jobs due to the hospital closure.

Patina restaurant at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, permanently closed on Aug. 15, 2020. All the employees were terminated, many of whom worked there for 15-20 years. The Michelin star restaurant moved from Melrose Avenue to the concert hall in 2003. Fine dining establishments have been devastated by the pandemic.

Patina restaurant at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, permanently closed on Aug. 15, 2020.

A night view above the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. The movie theater first opened in 1963 with the film “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” projected in 70mm on a contoured motion picture screen measuring 32 feet high and 86 feet wide. The geodesic dome was developed by R. Buckminster Fuller, and the building by architect Pierre Cabrol, lead designer of the architectural firm of Welton Becket and Associates. The theater was shuttered in April 2020.

The Satellite in Silverlake closed on March 13, 2020. The historic venue originally opened as a gay disco called Dreams of L.A., then became Spaceland in 1995, and finally the Satellite in 2010. The owners removed the stage and have posted on Instagram that it may reopen as a restaurant. Artists that appeared at the club include Beck, Foo Fighters, Silversun Pickups, the White Stripes and Possum Dixon.

The Satellite in Silverlake closed on March 13, 2020.

Exterior of Rage Nightclub in West Hollywood. The 37-year-old club is now closed by the landlord. The legendary venue shut down last year due to pandemic protocols and was unable to generate revenue to pay for a new lease. The Rage was a flagship club in West Hollywood serving the gay community.

Oceanwide Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles remains in limbo. The Chinese funded project aimed to be a premier location to live and shop. It consists of two residential towers and a giant Park Hyatt 5-star hotel on 4.6 acres of prime real estate. The $1 billion project lost funding right before the pandemic and work stopped, leaving three structures looming next to the Staples Center. Now dubbed the “Zombie Towers” by downtown locals, the project has no completion date or ownership in sight.

Oceanwide Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles remains in limbo.

The 101 Coffee Shop, RIP. The eatery was restored 20 years ago in a retro diner style. Hollywood stars and young people made it one of the hottest spots for a late night post-party meal. The movie “Swingers” featured Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau ensconced in this booth and established the shop’s fame. Favreau also wrote the movie at the shop. The diner closed in the early spring of 2020 and couldn’t sustain business with only to go orders.

Terroni in Downtown LA is now closed. One of LA’s most beautiful restaurants, Terroni featured a European deli next door, Dopolavoro, which is also now closed. Downtown restaurants were devastated during the mandatory shutdowns. Few have reopened, and many remain boarded up or only partially operating.

All Photographs by Ted Soqui

Copyright Capital & Main 2021