Monday, July 5, 2010

Mosaics...they're everywhere!

Mosaics are never commonplace, but they turn up in suprising places once you start looking. Here, for example, are signs on the entrance/exit to a mall parking structure.

The mall is The Promenade on the Peninsula in either Palos Verdes or Rolling Hills (who can keep them straight?). I think The Promenade used to be the Peninsula Center, an appellation that only boomers remember and which now googles to a cluster of stores west of the Promenade. My memory may be faulty, but in the 80s and 90s I'm pretty certain this was an enclosed, three-story mall. I loved shopping there at Christmas time because it was the only mall that wasn't jammed with people...good for me, bad for the merchants.

Come to think of it, was there even a parking structure back in the 1980s?

Now The Promenade at the Peninsula has gone open air and is doing much better.

I can make a vague link to an open air shopping center of the early 60s. When the city of Pomona wanted to revive its downtown area, business leaders teamed up with Millard Sheets, the famous artist and teacher who designed many of the Home Savings and Loans for Howard Ahmanson. Sheets got Ahmanson to build a 6 or 7 story Home Savings that would anchor an open-air mall in Pomona on 2nd Street. By closing the street off to pedestrian traffic, it became the first open-air pedestrian mall west of the Mississippi, or something like that.

So, my point is that going open air can certainly revive a shopping area. It did for Pomona, at least for a little. (Only a little, actually. Within a few years, business fell off and the streets became streets again. There my analogy falls short, because the Peninsula Center was never a downtown business district like Pomona, and never had cars driving down its promenades.)

I'm off on vacation for a week; forgive the rambling. The mosaics in Rolling Hills Estates (I checked; that's the right city) were an expected delight.

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