Hollywood, 1965: the futuristic Cinerama Dome has just touched down on Sunset Boulevard. This spaceship of a movie theater—built in 1963 to showcase the three-projector Cinerama process—seems to bob amid a sea of surface parking. On the left, a new 22-story office tower rises from a concrete plaza at the corner of Sunset and Vine. Aside from these highlights, it's a rather bleak photo. It's a landscape devoted to the automobile.
But that landscape has changed a quite a bit in the intervening 49 years:
Using the magic of Google Earth, I've (roughly) recreated the view today. Gone are the expansive parking lots, replaced by new commercial structures. The Arclight theater complex surrounds Welton Becket's Cinerama Dome, now considered a modernist classic. Offices have become apartments inside the Sunset Vine Tower, where the empty plaza has given way to sidewalk-facing retail. And outside the frame, behind the vantage point, the 1999 opening of the Metro Red Line's Hollywood/Vine station has injected new pedestrian activity into the area. Hollywood is by no means a model of urban perfection, but the change is astounding nonetheless.