Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Sunset Tower

Ah, the Sunset Towers Apartments. Home of Howard Hughes, Bugsy Siegel, and the second-best bas relief of a zeppelin in town.

Architect Leland Bryant’s friezes also include Adam and Eve, other mythological creatures, and radiator grilles; some wags have posited Satan himself resides amongst the cast flora and fauna. Look, the Baphomet!

The Towers was the first building in LA to have “all-electric suites” and central AC, and was the first built on rockers to sway with the quakes. Note the prominent mention in Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely and in its film adapt Murder, My Sweet.

After everyone and his brother tried throughout the 70s to tear down the 1929 landmark, it was finally renovated by the St. James Club in 1986. It became the Argyle in 1994 and was fitted with endless deco from top to bottom. The new owner, New York’s Jeff Klein, has stripped the interior of the hotel of all its renovations. As bad as I'm naturally inclined to make that sound, the new renovation is based on original photographs, and while a little cloying in its adulation of "Old Hollywood," isn't bad at all.

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