Graffiti–and Worse–on the Hollywoodland Stairs

July 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the best things about  Hollywoodland is how little it has changed over the years. The Village Coffee Shop not only features fusty mid-century decor but a nostalgic menu from the same era. Next door, the friendly Beachwood Market allows account holders to sign for their groceries. And on the street, neighbors greet each other at such length that often it has taken half an hour to walk my dog six blocks. The Land That Time Forgot is a very pleasant place to live.

Beachwood-Westshire Stairs/Hope Anderson Productions

So it came as a surprise to find graffiti on the historic Beachwood-Westshire stairs and the retaining wall on the landing halfway up. Written in yellow paint, the graffiti is subtle by LA standards. Still, it took me back to the 90’s in Hancock Park, where tagging was so prevalent that the City eventually gave up using neutral colors to paint over garage walls on Bronson between Wilshire and Sixth, instead executing murals of vines and berries. The murals did the trick, probably because they resembled graffiti.

The funny thing about graffiti is how quickly one becomes accustomed to it, once the initial shock wears off. After I discussed it with my neighbors, the matter slipped my mind entirely. Apparently none of us contacted the City about eradicating it, because 18 months later it’s still there. Recently my son pointed out the graffiti appeared the same day Westshire got yellow markings from the street department and that the ink is identical.

As if that weren’t enough, someone recently used the top of the same stairs as a toilet. I discovered the result on my way up to Westshire last Saturday. Horrified, I sidestepped it; my dog, following me, promptly pocketed the turd in her bag-like mouth and didn’t drop it until we got home. It was a disgusting experience and–in light of the fact that the neighborhood is a long, uphill walk away from Hollywood’s homeless encampments–a baffling one.

Needless to say, my dog had her mouth washed out with soap and her teeth thoroughly brushed. Once I recovered, I contacted the City about removing the graffiti on the stairs. I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about the tell-tale yellow ink.

Update, July 21: After receiving an e-mail from the City claiming the graffiti had been removed, I went out yesterday to check. The graffiti on the wall is still visible, though perhaps a bit more faded, while the tagging on the stair (above) is untouched. If this is someone’s idea of abatement, we’re in trouble.

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