Securing the 2028 Olympics is just the latest success for Los Angeles, a city thats witnessing a turnaround. But can it keep up the momentum?
Outsiders have long enjoyed mocking the City of Angels its sprawl, its vapidity, its kookiness.
Los Angeles has been called New York lying down (Quentin Crisp), paradise with a lobotomy (Neil Simon), and 72 suburbs in search of a city (Dorothy Parker). Tip the world over on its side, said Frank Lloyd Wright, and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
The putdowns are still mean, still funny and still contain kernels of truth.
But from the roof-deck of the 73-storey Wilshire Grand Center, a newly completed skyscraper offering stunning panoramas, the quips feel dusty, even quaint.
From this 1,100ft eyrie, the highest in the western United States, you can observe the glint of other towers rising up over downtown, transforming the skyline. You can see the web of railways criss-crossing the east side, and construction work on the expanding subway system. You can see the Hollywood sign to the north and the Pacific ocean to the west. You can see Dodger Stadium, the Coliseum, the Staples Center and other sporting arenas.
You can see, in other words, why LA this week clinched the right to host the 2028 Olympic Games. And why mayor Eric Garcetti is exuberant.
This shows that LA is still a can-do city. We didnt make a bid that said, if the Olympics comes, well do all these things. We said, were doing all these things, the Olympics should come, he told the Guardian. This is definitely a moment. People want to be here.
The International Olympic Committees decision to bring the Games to LA after Tokyo and Paris host the next two caps a remarkable turnaround.