Classic L.A. to Z: T is for TERRAZZO


There was a moment in L.A.’s history when even the sidewalks weren’t spared the enthusiasm of the developers, architects, and hucksters who were shaping the city. Borrowing a technique from Venice, Italy, workers used marble, coral, shells, and glass to paint earthbound images alongside our congealing motorways. The stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame may be the most conspicuous example, but it’s the stuff downtown that can stir the soul. Walk along Broadway, and you’ll find the triangular rays of the Roxie Theatre and the elaborate crests and fleurs-de-lis outside the Los Angeles Theatre. Nearby a natty pince-nez announces the entrance to an optometrist on your way to the best terrazzo of all: the swath of pavement at Clifton’s Cafeteria that was designed by architect Welton Becket’s firm and celebrates the Hollywood Bowl, City Hall, and the La Brea Tar Pits as well as the beaches, deserts, missions, and movies.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town