Santa Monica Boulevard (which runs approximately parallel to Sunset) was where many gay bars and restaurants were (and are) located, and the area around where it intersects with San Vicente Boulevard became known as Boys Town. Sheriffs generally took a life and let live approaching the area, and because of that custom, gays in West Hollywood could live without the constant threat of harassment and arrest in those earlier and less tolerant times. The area is now a vibrant multicultural nightlife destination; The Abbey Food and Bar is one of the most successful nightspots in the country, with every imaginable type of person represented among its clientele every night, and the most successful restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, A. In the 60s and 70s, the Sunset Strip had become in the mecca of sex, drugs and rock and roll, acquiring a darker and more sordid complexion.
Other issues, including the possibility of the county abolishing rent control, caused a movement to unite around the idea of WeHo becoming its own civic entity. As a result, in 1984 West Hollywood residents voted to become the city of West Hollywood, governed by its own mayor and city council. The city has been a huge success, and some of Southern California's best shops, restaurants, clubs and hotels are located there, and many more are being prepared. The newly redesigned West Hollywood Park (currently under construction) will include two new swimming pools, sports courts, children's play areas, an AIDS memorial and a grand monumental staircase linking the park with the swimming pools and the impressive public library.
It will be a great addition to the city. Naturally, there have been growth problems, and income disparity between old and newer residents has occasionally strained the social fabric, but WeHo has been more successful than many places in maintaining a diverse community. Gertrude Stein famously said of her hometown, Oakland, that there is nothing there. And people sometimes use that quote wrongly when talking about Los Angeles.
But the city has changed a lot over time, and there's certainly one there now. And where is that? I'm going to give you two tries. New York's Flatiron District is rapidly becoming the Fitiron District, as its central location, anchored by the famous Flatiron Building at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue, has become Manhattan's new fitness mecca. Visit a quote page and the tickers you've seen recently will be displayed here.