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New Leash On Life

Hollywood's Greyhound Station Recycles an Old Friend

August 06, 2000|ED LEIBOWITZ

"We lost the dog for a while," Josh Schweitzer admits. The architectural designer of Hollywood's new avocado-hued Greyhound bus terminal on Cahuenga Boulevard had persuaded the company to retain the neon mascot that graced the former location at DeLongpre Avenue and Vine Street. Then, toward the end of construction, Greyhound started hedging. "Look at it," Schweitzer told them. "It's the one thing you have to sell your customers: the nostalgia of bus culture." If Schweitzer had had his way, he also would have incorporated into his design the B-U-S letters from the Vine Street station, which was closed to make way for the new Cinerama Dome development. Alas, for Greyhound, the word was passe. "They eliminated 'bus' from their terminology," Schweitzer says. "Somehow they're fooling everybody riding on the bus."

"We try to avoid the word 'Greyhound' as being generic for a bus," explains Greyhound spokeswoman Kristin Parsley. "The official trademark name is 'Greyhound Line.' "

Greyhound imposed more practical restrictions--the type that didn't surface when Schweitzer's firm worked on restaurants such as Campanile and Ciudad. Inside the station, multicolored tile climbs from the floor up 7 feet of wall space. With customers sometimes treating Greyhound waiting rooms as bathrooms, at least this one could be hosed down like one. The typical Greyhound depot is usually no feast for the five senses. Nevertheless, the architectural designer has managed to create a space that is sun-dappled and airy, evoking more the anticipation of departure than the gloom of a holding pen.

One wonders how much farther he could have taken the project if not hamstrung by Greyhound's budget. "If it's a doghouse," Schweitzer says, "you could do some great things with 180 grand." Even a doghouse for a neon greyhound rescued from DeLongpre and Vine.

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