Friday, December 09, 2005

Ambassador Cam, #16



Gone by New Year's Day... that's what I've been told by a source familiar with the Ambassador Hotel demolition. And taking a look at the latest progress, I'd say that's a real possibility. The north wing of the hotel -- the one visible from Wilshire Blvd. -- is more or less gone.



But hey, at least they're still keeping the lawn in top shape! (/sarcasm)

Meanwhile, reader Adam was inspired to write us after this post about Sammy Davis, Jr.'s Ambassador apartment:

The mention on LAObserved steered me to your site to gander at the pics of Sammy Davis' suite at the Ambassador.

What her pics fail to convey (thankfully) is the hideous purple the place was once painted, and the heavy black wood shutters which encased the windows. It also had dark, fuzzy velour type wall-paper of the era on some walls. It truly was a decorating fiasco (which Sammy oversaw). The room was dark and dank even in the daytime - perhaps to ensure a sound sleep even after the sun came up for a night-owl such as an entertainer.

When Sammy no longer was involved in the Grove, he removed anything personal from the suite, and the room was rented as an "A" suite (akin to the Presidential Suite down the hall), or given to VIPs who performed downstairs. The paint was lightened up a bit by the hotel to make it less morose.

But the saving grace of the suite was a black baby grand piano which sat under the windows on the Wilshire side of the room. One could only imagine who else sat at the bench during the hotel's heyday and played the piano (besides me lol). (In the pic of the gutted suite with the brick arches, you'll see the wall/window where the piano sat.) Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

11 Comments:

Blogger jay at 35.5 said...

Thank You for showing the pictures of the destruction of this landmark. I feel you have brought more attention to this historic building than any one ever could. You know how they said pictures are worth a thousand words. I hope you wil continue this blog even after our beloved hotel is gone

9:40 AM  
Blogger Democrats Hate America said...

I think it is literally a crime that this hotel was torn down. The folks at the LAUSD who permitted this destruction should be placed in prison for life -- without parole! Yes, this is a terrible crime. We destroyed history to house a bunch of fucking illegal aliens who could have gone to another school. What's worse is that our tax dollars are funding this atrocity.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently read a comment that an anonymous writer suggested that a new Ambassador Hotel be built to replace the old one. I think that, if done properly, could be a wonderful idea. My wife and I recently stayed at the Willard Inter-Continental in Washington, D.C. and we were impressed at how they were able to restore the hotel to its grandeur. Some friends of ours recently stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Huntington and they told us how, in archeticture, it resembled the old Ambassador. When I pulled up the web site, I was surprised at how much the two hotels resembled each other. I would not write off this person's suggestion about building a new Ambassador. When we stayed at the Willard, there were several photographs of the hotel that gave us a chance to really learn about the past. Now this is a big if, but should a new Ambassador be built, how about having a museum type room in the hotel where we could see artifacts of the old Ambassador and learn about the rich history that it has. Besides, I cannot think of a better way to thumb our noses at the L.A.U.S.D., the Kennedy's, and Martin Sheen (Who went to bat for his friends the Kennedys with the L.A.U.S.D. to give his as well as their support for the destruction of the old Ambassador). Think about it?

Sincerely,

Jim

2:51 PM  
Blogger jay at 35.5 said...

Please tell me comments from democrates hate america did not say f__ing illegal aliens? I find that very offensive. Its not the communities fault that the hotel was built. Maybe because they are not white it was built. Not because they are immigrants or aliens as if you call them.. I think that person is spewing hate. Be upset with the school distict nto the innocent people...

4:37 PM  
Blogger Democrats Hate America said...

Of course I used the term fucking illegal immigrants. Think about it: there are many reasons why the Ambassador Hotel no longer exists. The god-damn illegal alien Mexicans have had a lot of children, which creates a huge demand for our public schools. Further, the Mexican gang members -- many of whom are illegal aliens -- have caused the neighorhood around The Ambassador hotel to decline. So yes--fuck the illegal immigrants--they are to blame. I know. I live here.

The people are not so innocent. They created the demand for the school. If they did not create the demand, the LAUSD would never have created this school. But of course, I hate the LAUSD, too.

I do not even believe the public schools should be provided -- to anyone -- citizen or not.

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all. Let's try to calm down. It is vey clear that a great number of people do care about the Ambassador and their feelings and emotions are sincere. I go back to the original idea about building a new Ambassador. If we take all that passion and all those feelings and work it into a worthwhile project as this, I see why this idea could be a huge success. The writer that made this suggestion could really be on to something if we all could work together on this. My wife and I stayed at the Huntington Ritz-Carlton and were amazed by the beauty of it all and how we felt like we back in time 80 years ago. When we first pulled up, my wife said that the hotel looked similar to the Ambassador. Maybe we can get Ritz-Carlton involved in to build a new Ambassador that looks like the old one. They clearly have done a beautiful job with the Huntington Ritz-Carlton. Here is another idea. If the hotel is re-built, and that is a big if, how about having a work study program where students in the area could divide their time between school and working at the new hotel? Those children would have a chance to not only learn about the history of this great hotel and the feelings and passions that led people to build a new Ambassador, but a skill and a trade that they would not have had the chance to do otherwise. This would be more of a tribute to Robert Kennedy than building a school on the old Ambassador site ever would. Sorry Kennedy's and Martin Sheen. In additon, look at how much money could be poured back in to the community with jobs, money from conventions, work study programs, and political events. Robert Kennedy was found of saying that one person can make a difference. Well, if we could all work together on this idea, we could make what some may see a pipe deam a reality and something that we all could take pride in.

Thanks,

Bob

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ritz-Carlton Huntington is actually a renovation of the old Huntington hotel (built in 1906). It, like the Ambassador, was a jewel in the old life of Los Angeles (well, Pasadena), that also fell victim to the economics of earthquake retrofitting (it was owned by Sheraton at the time). Ritz-Carlton (perhaps with the prodding of the Pasadena area preservationists) did a major renovation to the venerable hotel (including uncovering some of the gorgeous ceilings in some of the dining rooms), and it reopened in 1991, after a 6 year slumber and facelift.

The Huntington's saving grace is that its address does not fall anywhere inside LAUSD territory (and subject to LAUSD's abusive eminent domain powers), and was never afflicted by the same blight and gang problems that affected the area around the Ambassador in the late 60s through 80s (so it was able to keep running successfully as a hotel until 1989).

It's in a very nice neighborhood, so, if you're in the area, take time to drive through the winding roads and gawk at homes that in many cases best any offering from 90210 (Take that, Westsiders! ;) After a tour of seeing what you can buy when you win the lottery, you can relax at the Ritz-Carlton, enjoy the high tea and take a trip back in time.

I don't see another hotel like the Ambassador being built anywhere in LA, myself. If you watch the progress of the lamely named "LA Live" project, the developers had to cut a deal with the other hotels in downtown. And they're just going to build some garish ultramodern mall-moviesuperplex-parkinggarage-hotel combo. Your ideas about work-study programs sound hopelessly naive against the corrupt and inept backdrop of LA policymaking in general and the LAUSD in particular (remember Belmont?)

The Ambassador's passing is particularly sad, considering its stature at its height. But it is just the latest in a series of old, stately hotels that have been leveled in LA's history. That is why hotels like the Huntington are rarities.

Now, if only I could afford to stay in a good room there ;)

4:56 PM  
Blogger eecue said...

for the love of G-d please turn off anonymous commenting and delete the hatespeak. Thanks!

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a shame that anything the school district at this site, like maintaining lawns for community use, is met with negativity and sarcasm. i suppose that the thing all of you folks, crying over the hotel's demolition, are interested in is holding onto a fleeting memory of a once grand hotel that was mismanaged, poorly maintained, and razed by the hundreds of film crews that worked there. at least the school district has enough foresight to see that this underutilized parcel of land would be more of an asset to the community as a school than a memorial to people, hollywood types, and conservation types alike who would not put a penny towards its restoration, or at the very least, a return to its basic funcionality.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would suggest that anger is a more responsible response to what the destruction of the Ambassador Hotel represents then so much BS political correctness.

Great way to erase and disrespect history: destroy the Ambassador, along with the original scene of the still-unsolved crime of the murder of the once future President of the United States, Robert Francis Kennedy... So convenient, and all in the sacred cow name of providing more schools... it's long overdue to face the music that RFK was clearly killed by a conspiracy... of course, it's one of many remarkable coincidences that Nixon was in Dallas when they took out JFK... and also in LA when Bobby was murdered... hmmm....

As for the school space - the school system is broken, period. Throwing more square footage at the problem will never cure the root cause at the base of this vast charade. What nonsense to destroy an irreplaceable landmark such as the Ambassador using this totally lame justification... Ah yes, the sacred cow of state-run public schools, which are a dismal failure ever since the concept was introduced into America back in the 1800's.

How totally we've all forgotten that the public school system in the US is directly based on the Prussian military model, whose aim was to turn out obedient soldiers who didn't question authority or ask too many questions... Perfect for turning the creative, free-thinking, self-leading geniuses that all children start off as into (mostly) easily led, unquestioning, authority following, non-stop consumers who (mostly) buy the media propaganda that only lone nuts take out the only leaders who matter... John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy all gone in under 5 years? No pattern here or larger reason? Please. History is NOT an accident and war (often well-cloaked in much false patriotism) is big, big, big business... The equation is simple, as the truth always is:
RFK = end of Vietnam War = no trillions of dollars in war profits = follow the money...

Read "Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling," by John Taylor Gatto for the fascinating full story about the true history of the US school system. It will shock you and open your eyes at the same time. As President James Garfield once said, "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable," updated by Werner Erhard as "The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off." Anger, honest dialogue and positive action over despondency and resignation any day...

May Robert Kennedy's spirit live on in the true, noble heart of the people of America who remember him and keep his spirit alive. You can kill the man, then methodically assassinate his character after he's dead and cannot defend himself, lie about how and why he was murdered and even destroy the scene of the crime... Yet his spirit and what he represents is powerfully everlasting...

11:57 PM  
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10:26 AM  

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