Downtown Los Angeles movers and shakers are abuzz about the survival of Ed Rosenthal, a real estate deal-maker and sometime poet who wandered Joshua Tree National Park lost for six days, so sure he was dead that he wrote his will out on a hiking hat.
Rosenthal, credited by some with rescuing Clifton's Cafeteria and the city's Old Bank District, was rescued himself Thursday, but not before he wrote what he thought were his last words, the Los Angeles Times reported. He wrote notes to his wife and daughter, instructions on where to donate money, and details about his hike.
None of it, apparently, was poetry.
It was for nought.
He was airlifted Thursday to Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree in good condition.
Rosenthal, a 64-year-old from Culver City, is known as a key leader in downtown. Area activist Brady Westwater told the Weekly that Rosenthal helped the city's historic Old Bank District — the spark for downtown's revival — come into being in the late 1990s.
“He basically saved the Old Bank District,” he said.
He's also known for being a deal-maker in the sale of Clifton's Cafeteria, a Depression-era downtown landmark for foodies that's headed for hipsterization.
Rosenthal's wife, Nicole Kaplan, told the Times that his survival was “miraculous.”
When he got lost he lit flares and whistled before simply praying and writing what he thought would be his last words, she said. As others prayed for him, an effort to find him was launched on Facebook.
Westwater says Rosenthal should expect some practical jokes when he recovers.
“We have plenty of time to make his life absolutely miserable when he gets back here,” he said. “He's going to wish was back in Joshua Tree. He'll love it. He'll never live this down.”
A friend of the family, Westwater says Rosenthal and his wife are not discussing his ordeal today as he continues to recuperate.