Connecting New and Old in Santa Monica

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The Looff Hippodrome, home to the iconic carousel on the Santa Monica Pier, will commemorate its centennial this Sunday, exactly 100 years to the day since Charles Looff opened the doors on June 12, 1916. The building has been a backdrop for many films (most notably The Sting), TV shows and commercials, and some very lively celebrity-studded parties at the upstairs apartments. It also survived a City Council decision to tear down the pier, which was reversed by a citizen movement in 1973.

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The Looff Hippodrome at the Santa Monica Pier
Courtesy of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation

Meanwhile, the Colorado Esplanade recently opened from 4th Street to Ocean Avenue, designed to connect the Downtown Expo Light Rail station, the new Tongva Park and the Santa Monica Pier. Internationally-acclaimed landscape design firm Peter Walker Partners used super-wide sidewalks, planters and lighting to give the area a sense of place and make it more pedestrian-friendly, as well as to connect the Civic Center and Downtown Districts together across the freeway.

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The Colorado Esplanade in Santa Monica
Courtesy of Peter Walker Partners

Episode photo: the Looff Hippodrome at the Santa Monica Pier (Avishay Artsy)