New Year’s Eve and here in Hollywood another year ends, as does another decade. But Hollywood Boulevard on New Year's Eve is just not Times Square – close sometimes, but not the same thing - and not on New Year's Eve.
It's not that LA didn't try – "Plans for a billion-dollar, music-driven development in the shadow of the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles will create a West Coast equivalent of Times Square, according to its backer, Anschutz Entertainment Group." It's been years now. That's not working out. That's not Times Square West. There's no organic city around it, just vague Los Angeles. We don't really do cities out here. They're more of an administrative convenience.
Our own Times Square? Tim Noah at Slate said that was a stupid idea anyway – "Los Angeles doesn't need a Times Square, because it already has one at Hollywood and Vine. There's even a Disney presence - the refurbished nearby El Capitan movie theater." Of course he meant Hollywood at Highland, with the Kodak and Chinese theaters too, and all the rest of the madness. And the El Capitan does seem very New York at times. But it's not the same thing.
Maybe the Sunset Strip, outside the front door here, will be our Times Square –
Along Sunset Strip, the 75-year-old pavement could tell some incredible stories about Hollywood through the ages. "There's probably chewing gum spit out by Jim Morrison in front of the Whisky a Go-Go," West Hollywood Councilman John Duran said Wednesday. "Don't tell anybody or they'll want to go pick it up."
The Sunset Boulevard "strip" has not been repaved since the 1930s. So it's possible there may be gum deposited there by movie stars who once frequented the Strip, like Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo or even regal Shakespearean actor and unlikely gum-smacker, Sir Laurence Olivier.
Beginning on Monday, the city of West Hollywood will begin giving the Sunset Strip - its roadway and sidewalks - its first face-lift since it was converted from a dirt road.
Ah – wide sidewalks, lots of trees, massive foot traffic for a change – that sounds nice. We'll see.
But this is New Year's Eve afternoon at what will have to do for now.