Of all the desecrations, disfigurements and civics insults, few things grate upon the Angeleno soul more than the transformation of Pershing Square over the past 50 years or so. What was once an oasis of tropical plants, benches and shade, merely became the rooftop of an underground parking garage in the 1950s. In the early 1990s Pershing got its notorious PoMo makeover that qualifies the square for the Guinness Book of Records for “Eyesores.”

Pershing Square then . . .


KPCC's Off Ramp program last Saturday offered a pithy critique of the square by host

John Rabe and urban design journalist Sam Hall Kaplan. Sample dialogue as the two

stood in the park one day:

Rabe: It has two statues to war dead, for some reason a statue of Beethoven, a cannon — there's no rhyme or reason . . .

    . . . and now. Ugh-ly.

Sam Hall Kaplan: Basically, it's a statue graveyard.

Listen to the four-minute segment here — then go skating on the ice rink that's there until January 19.

(Pershing Square images from LAParks.org)

LA Weekly