Dogtown landmark to be replaced by something boring?

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A little piece of surfing/skating history may be shut down and replaced by a Chipotle. Kind of. I just assume “neighborhood redevelopment” means Chipotle is on its way. In this case, we’re talking about the site of the original Zephyr and Jeff Ho Productions building at 2001-2011 Main Street, which in its current form is the Horizons West Surf Shop. If you surf, you know this place. If you don’t, you saw it in “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and “Lords of Dogtown.” People are pretty pissed off that the building’s owner may redevelop this spot out of existence, and supporters seek “historic landmark” status in an attempt to save the place. Read about it here and here.

I’ve never been to a Chipotle. I’m sure it’s a nice place. And the landlord owns the building, so they can do whatever they want with it. But I think what they want to do is lame, for two reasons:

First, Horizons West isn’t just a place with historical significance for surfers. It’s also a great surf shop. They actually sell surfboards, not just surf clothes (which is increasingly rare on this street and in the world). Second, and more importantly, if they don’t preserve this place outright, the landlord will pursue a “compromise” to satisfy all the people they’ve upset. But here’s the problem with compromise:

After seeing a copy of “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” developer Juli Doar, Herrmann’s granddaughter, voluntarily withdrew her application for a demolition permit and organized two public meetings at which community members aired gripes and brainstormed ways to commemorate the Zephyr team’s contribution to skating. Doar hopes to propose a plan that would integrate art that celebrates the team and its culture into the building’s design. LA Times

This is a dumb compromise. The developer wants to “integrate art that celebrates the [Zephyr] team” into the design of the new condo/retail space? What will this “art” be? A statue? A plaque? A hula girl tchotchke? Whatever form it takes, one thing is certain. It’ll probably be shaped like a Chipotle.

4 Replies to “Dogtown landmark to be replaced by something boring?”

  1. I stopped in last year for the first time, having seen both the doc and movie of the Z-Boys stories, and instantly recognized what it was. Pretty neat.

    But deserving of goverment intervention as a landmark? Hardly. There is nothing structurally unique about the place. Just because some legends used to be in there hardly qualifies it for the efforts to rescue the place.

    This is by no means dissing what the Z-Boys were about. But I think more could be done by building a museum, erecting a statue, or even something as benign as a marker

    There’s a novelty in keeping the place as is, but little more value than that. A sad passing, but let something else hopefully greater take its place.

    By the way, Chipotle is damn tasty.

  2. Yeah, Chipotle seems like a good enough guess: a bland chain restaurant owned by McDonalds making their way onto a cultural landmark. Though the locals should resist it, that’s how things go nowadays on the westside. I’m not going to get bothered so long as they don’t put one in the OG Dogtown near LH. We don’t need more crap food!

  3. Maybe you should peruse Business Week’s glowing review of our McDonalds-free awesomeness. In addition to our giant, throbbing integrity, did you know:

    – Men who eat at Chipotle at least three times a week never develop cervical cancer
    – Areas with deep Chipotle penetration report decreased instances of soil erosion
    – Chipotle spelled backwards is El Topihc, which means “Life-affirming fast fresh food that Zeus himself would cower before” en Espanol*

    So Sanj, just relax, and treat yourself to Chipotle — or El Topihc — today. You’ll thank me afterward.

    * According to our Corporate Book of Guidelines and Best Practices

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