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Razed L.A. Landmarks Rise Again on Vintage Los Angeles Razed L.A. Landmarks Rise Again on Vintage Los Angeles

Razed L.A. Landmarks Rise Again on Vintage Los Angeles

by Alissa Walker

May 1, 2011

As the daughter of actor and singer Al Martino (best known for his role as an Italian crooner in The Godfather), Alison Martino watched her parents act like most celebrity couples in Los Angeles. Drinks at the moat-surrounded Luau in Beverly Hills. Dinner at the glamorous star-magnet Chasen's. But unlike the other kids she knew, Martino didn't have to stay at home. "They took me everywhere," she says. "So I got really sad about it when these places I went to that had stuck around for 30 to 40 years started going away."

Like another cult-favorite Facebook page, Hidden Los Angeles, Vintage Los Angeles seeks to reclaim the sumptuous, secret history of a city that many say forgets its past all too quickly. She points to the beautiful modernist building that used to host the restaurant Scandia, which has been empty for 13 years. "Maybe people will see this and see that it would be good for a restaurant or a club or a gallery."  Plus she hopes developers will take inspiration in the vibrancy of, say, 1940s Wilshire Boulevard. "It was a very colorful place," she says. "Now they paint all the buildings brown."

While many of her readers are of the age when they really did ice skate and bowl at many of the lost landmarks (Martino herself just turned 40), she knows that people just a few years younger see the photos as the framework for preservationist action. "I do think the newer generation can do something," she says. "I get the same reaction to every photo I post: 'What were they thinking?'"

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Razed L.A. Landmarks Rise Again on Vintage Los Angeles