Edition 23
February 11, 2016

What Have We Become?
More Tales from Abbot Kinney

One guy recently defending an enormous proposed project on OFW proclaimed we were all going to be ‘left behind’ if it was not approved. Left behind? The question is “what is Venice left with right now? What is Abbot Kinney now?” It is not the authentic, funky and a little raunchy street it once was. Can Abbot Kinney ever reclaim some semblance of the distinct and real place it was? It was a street like no other in LA. Our Abbot Kinney was put on the world map when GQ named it ‘the coolest block in America.’ GQ would never anoint our little street the coolest anything if they saw it now. Cool is over. Authentic is done and gone.

Real, eccentric, unique, weird, grungy and annoying, Abbot Kinney has been hanging by its fingertips to that image for a couple of years now. It just finally dropped into the abyss of nothing special. No, it was not everyone’s ‘special.’ Those drawn to Venice because it was not like the rest of the Westside, now find themselves living exactly where they didn’t want to live: Aspen is what we have become. That is the new Venice. Just thinking Aspen kind of gives you a shiver doesn’t it?… but we need to face it. We have indeed become Aspen.

Between losing 3000 housing units to the ‘sharing economy’ and its short-term rental industry, we are now writing epitaphs for our wonderful, a bit decrepit non-trendy gay bar, the Roosterfish — and the best restaurant the street has ever housed, Joe’s is soon to close. International companies are replacing local shop owners at a lightening pace.
Now the Googleites and Snapchatters who think The Grove has a sense of place, determine our new normal. Every vegan or vegetarian restaurant that opens make the unique street more homogeneous. We have become a mere shadow of our former self. People now walk down the street carrying $40 boxes of donuts to their offices and think they are living the real Venice life. Those $40 boxes of donuts are our new normal.

The Butcher’s Daughter, the NYC offspring, is packed to the gills. Just being there is what is important — not designed for lingering, coffee cups aren’t refilled at breakfast as patrons are lining up for avocado toast. Price is no object. Turnover fast. There is no ‘hanging’ on Abbot Kinney any longer. Remember when we used to linger over lunch or dinner?

There’s still not a french fry to be had on the street and hamburgers are now totally extinct.

We remain, searching for a BLT on Abbot Kinney.