What About Windows?
May 28, 2014
The logic behind shuttering a restaurant behind a wall or obstruction baffles me.
This was the trend at the turn of the century. And by that I mean the 21st century. When the “nightclub chapter” was just rolling out in Hollywood, the definition of cool was to have a business that had no sign, no visible address, no evidence that there was life behind the walls. Some of the early successful nightclubs in Hollywood capitalized on that mystique. It was a two-edged sword for this community. On the one hand the sidewalks were alive with people at night, but during the day, the walls to the street removed life from the pedestrian experience. An entire block could feel lifeless.
The purpose of this particular blog is to celebrate windows that open to the world. Windows are two way experiences. I have to think they are a powerful marketing tool, because they demonstrate to the passersby that there is life within. Perhaps a meal to be had. Merchandise to be bought.
No matter your vantage point, windows signal light. The light of day, or the light of night. Light is inherently inviting.
Recently I visited Victoria BC, because I was on a panel at a conference for the International Downtown Association (IDA) on the topic of homelessness. I arrived on Sunday night and left my hotel to take a brisk evening walk and find a place to eat. And, as a BID executive, this is what we do. We plunge ourselves into experiencing another BID as a visitor. I was wandering the “main drag” and I was struck by the relative emptiness of Government Street at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night. Granted, it is not tourist season, but there had to be some place to eat.
I found a few pubs, looked in the windows, and found myself evaluating which one I would enter based upon what I could see from the street. Too many people? Too few people? Was there a bar where I could sit alone and order a meal? All important decisions to be made at the sidewalk vantage point. I chose a place called the Bard & Banker because I could see inside and it looked appealing.
How many missed opportunities are there on Hollywood Boulevard with businesses or restaurants that hide behind walls, curtains, frosted glass or too much merchandise? Let’s celebrate light and encourage businesses to think about how we make this street more welcoming for the pedestrian — the new visitor and the long-time resident alike.
Kerry Morrison serves as the executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, a position she has held since the inception of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID in 1996. Prior to coming to Hollywood, she spent 14 years in public policy and senior management roles at the California Association of REALTORS in Los Angeles. She has a MPA in Public Administration from USC and is a graduate of Santa Clara University. She also participated in the Coro Southern CA Fellows program in 1980-81. She has a passion for ending homelessness, and serves as Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), serves on the United Way Home for Good Business Leaders Task Force, and on the board for The Center at Blessed Sacrament. She loves to knit, collects fountain pens and eschews loud music in restaurants.