July 13, 2003 |
For decades it was the pride of Waikiki, a mammoth outdoor saltwater swimming pool where athletes and movie stars came to cavort and Hawaiian kids and tourist kids from the mainland took swimming lessons. But for the last 24 years, the once-proud Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium has been something else: a source of political controversy, an off-limits relic from the past, an eyesore.
October 20, 2002 |
Twice a week, about 100 people gather under a giant banyan tree at the foot of Diamond Head to imitate the body motions and breathing of a martial arts master who believes that "health is wealth" and that acquiring it should be free. It's clear that they leave the one-hour classes refreshed and renewed. Those who swear by the art of chi kung say it does even more than that -- from reducing asthma symptoms to helping them walk.
August 19, 2001
A Waikiki branch of Hawaii's venerable Bishop Museum, opened earlier this month, is part of a $95-million expansion of the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort that is also adding a spa. Earlier this year, 453 rooms opened at the new building, Kalia Tower, bringing Hawaii's biggest hotel to nearly 3,000 rooms. Until this month, visitors had to travel about five miles from beachfront Waikiki to 1525 Bernice St.to view the Bishop Museum's extensive Hawaiian cultural and historic collection.
March 11, 2001 |
"Why Waikiki?" That was the response of a friend who owns a condo on Maui when I told him I'd be spending nine days in Hawaii, five of them on Honolulu's fabled beachfront. "Join us on Maui," he said. "It's the real Hawaii." Oh, sure, I thought, his real Hawaii-a golf course by the sea. Poor Waikiki. Hawaii's oldest resort-the royal family summered here-with the image of Rio or Miami Beach: a waterfront of high-rise hotels and package tours.
March 29, 1998
Hammered by financial troubles in Asia and shorter stays by visitors, Waikiki in January recorded its lowest average hotel occupancy rate in 15 years--78%--then rebounded in February, to 87%, still down from a year ago, according to the PKF-Hawaii consulting firm in Honolulu. Overall for Hawaii, February was the 10th straight month of declining occupancy. Judging by the average cost of rooms, price breaks for consumers were not apparent. Waikiki's average hotel rate was $136.14 versus $134.
November 3, 1996 |
It was Christmas morning a couple of years ago. The day dawned warm and cloudless. From the open lanai came the smell of hibachi smoke--sure sign of a holiday in our neighborhood. Then my wife got a phone call from her work: She had to go into Honolulu, 20 miles away, across the Koolau Mountains. No time for presents beneath the tree, no time for an island-mainland--hape haole--Christmas meal.
March 17, 1996 |
The T-shirt-laden tables that once cluttered Waikiki are now gone, after a federal appeals court upheld the city's efforts to sweep peddlers off the sidewalks of this tourist mecca. Nonprofit groups had argued that selling T-shirts was a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. For $20, tourists could scoop up five T-shirts, bearing messages such as, "Take It Easy, Meditate, Hang Loose Hawaii."
June 16, 1995 |
There are occasional transcendent glimmers of emotional redemption in Godfrey Hamilton's monologue "Sleeping With You," staged by David Prescott at Theatre/Theater in Hollywood. Love without expectations or price tags is the state of grace desperately sought and all-too-briefly cherished by his two characters, both portrayed by Mark Pinkosh.
November 6, 1994 |
My first visit to Waikiki came 40 years too late. I wanted Arthur Godfrey's Hawaii. Harry Truman in aloha shirts. A lei-strewn Matson Liner welcome at the docks. Alas, both Arthur and Harry have gone on to the big luau in the sky and at the Honolulu airport, fresh leis must be purchased out of refrigerator cases.