Palm Springs Architect Donald Wexler Honored in New York Times and Los Angeles Times Obituaries

One of Palm Springs’ masters of Desert Modern architecture, Donald Wexler, was honored with New York Times and Los Angeles Times obituaries today.  Fitting tributes to a great architect and a wonderful human being.

Donald Wexler

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Habana Hilton – Pawn in Castro’s Battle Against America in 1959

The Guardian newspaper published this intriguing article about how the Habana Hilton, the hotel-casino that had just opened in 1958, became the symbol for Fidel Castro’s dismantling of America’s dominant position in Cuba when he took it over as his headquarters in early 1959.

Habana Hilton upon completion in 1958

Habana Hilton upon completion in 1958

The article also generously includes quotes from my Havana book.

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“Palm Springs Holiday” Inspires Fashion Line

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I was surprised to learn that former Project Runway fashion designer Christian Siriano says that his new Resort 16 fashion line was inspired by my book “Palm Springs Holiday.”  The Desert Sun took notice and published this article.  How fun! … Continue reading

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Pete’s New “Havana Before Castro” Website and Tour Maps

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Because of the renewed interest in Cuba travel, it made sense to completely revamp my Havana Before Castro website.  It includes chapter summaries, a downloadable sample chapter, and cool Then & Now photos.   Take a look! People are using … Continue reading

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Lawry’s Legendary Chairman Dies at 92

Richard N. Frank, son of original Lawry’s owner Lawrence Frank, died on Wednesday, May 20th in Pasadena. Los Angeles Magazine editor and historian Chris Nichols wrote this obituary. I wrote an extensive illustrated blog about Lawry’s 75th anniversary that is … Continue reading

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Two Important Preservation Successes! Four Seasons and Norm’s Coffee Shop

Two major victories in two days.  New York City’s Landmarks Commission voted to deny requested alterations to the interior of the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan.  The interior had been designated years ago, but the current owner nonetheless wanted to make changes that would have harmed its integrity and historic fabric.  The Four Seasons remains my favorite restaurant interior in the United States.

Four Seasons Grill Romm

Four Seasons Grill Room

The other big victory was in Los Angeles.  One of the best remaining examples of Googie style 1950s coffee shop architecture was declared a Los Angeles landmark! Hopefully, this will motivate the new owner to keep rather than demolish the building, which is what motivated the nomination.

Norm's La Cienega on the border of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Norm’s La Cienega on the border of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Avanti!

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Four Seasons Restaurant Interior Threatened

This is my favorite mid-century restaurant interior in America.  And it’s threatened with inappropriate alterations!

The magnificent Four Seasons Grill Room.

The magnificent Four Seasons Grill Room.

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