For decades, Downtown has been the dark center of L.A.: a wasteland of half-empty office buildings and fully empty streets. But amid the glittering towers and crumbly Art Deco facades, a new generation of adventurous chefs, bartenders, loft dwellers, artists, and developers are creating a neighborhood as electrifying and gritty as New York in the '70s. Brett Martin navigates his way through the coolest new downtown in America

Downtown is still very much a series of frontiers—shifting, not fully formed, at times dangerous and self-defeating. What’s left of Skid Row is still a shocking tent city reminiscent of The Wire’s Hamsterdam. The homeless and mentally ill population that fan out from it daily are a major part of street life and a problem that won’t be solved by being pushed into a smaller area or different part of the city. New entrepreneurs complain that all the hype has spurred landlords to get ahead of themselves, jacking up rents and scuttling some development before it even gets started.

None of this, says Moses, changes the inevitability of Downtown L.A., its inexorable rise.

"The fact is," he says, leaning forward and making eye contact for the first time, "Downtown is the only solution to the problem of L.A."

And that, truth be told, is when the last of my skepticism begins to dissipate, the moment I finally grasp the vision so many people have so excitedly tried to communicate: that Downtown isn’t a bet on hipsterism, not on dumplings or cocktails or cool shops or food trucks. It’s a bet on urbanism itself, a conviction that the past fifty years of outward, sprawling cul-de-sac development was just that: a dead end. That this is how we want to live, amidst the spark and jangle of humans pressed up against humans. Even in L.A.

Reprinted from: Martin, B. (2017, March 09). America's Next Great City Is Downtown L.A. Retrieved March 23, 2017, from http://www.gq.com/story/downtown-los-angeles-restaurants-food-art