Maybe you missed it — it was over in the blink of an eye — but last Saturday the high-rise Towne House Apartments just off Hollywood ArtsPark were blasted into asbestos dust. The plan is to replace the hideous eyesore with a 25-story tower packed with almost 400 luxury apartments, a boutique hotel, grocery store, a high-end restaurant, shops, and part-time international residents with pickable pockets. More coverage here.
Not too many people mourn Towne House’s passing. Built by Hollywood founder Joseph Young in 1924, the structure had long ago degenerated into little more than a vertical flophouse, an encyclopedia of code violations. History shmistory, y’know? Next one down will be the Great Southern, which is kept erect only by its termites holding hands.
(You can find footage of the demolition on Facebook. I’d link it, but I think that might accidently violate the poster’s privacy settings.)
The big problem now: approximately 10 million cockroaches have been left homeless. Why didn’t the city anticipate this tragedy? I call City Hall, and eventually get Hortensia Bludbauble, a Social Services Outreach Worker.
“Oh, this wasn’t an unexpected development,” she tells me, breezily. “Remember when they tore down the Pirate Inn in Dania? And the City of Hollywood is very concerned about our domicile challenged population. We’re constantly encouraging them to seek assistance, ideally somewhere else.”
Compassionate commuting. But what about the roaches?
“Well, the Wildlife Rescue Center told us they’d take whatever we brought in, but cautioned us that their policy is to release creatures once they’re healthy and self-sufficient, so in effect all we’d be doing was relocating them, which is what they could manage just as well without our intervention.”
Unlike homeless humans whom you round up and deport. Any thoughts about capturing them and selling them to tourists? Brand them as Exotic Everglades Palmetto Bugs, quiet, easy to care for, domesticated, etc.?
“One of our people had an idea like that. Another wondered if they could be processed into something edible. Preferably with bacon.”
Yeah, bacon makes everything better. But I think that’s already working locally — ever eaten down at the Broadwalk? There’s even a place where you pick your own roaches out of a tank. Or right off the floor, if you like them them au naturel.
“We were disappointed by the Human Society’s response, though. They told us their policy is not to get involved with anything 6-legged.”
“I know, right? So we ended up giving Sean Cononie a call. If nothing else, he’s creative when it comes to dealing with the homeless.”
That’s the word I’d use, creative. It’s litigation resistant. And?
“Well, he said he’d take ‘em off our hands and find housing for ‘em, but he’d need to work up a budget first, and when he finally delivered it we thought it was high — charging by the unit rather than volume. And then we just ran out of time.”
So millions of cockroaches end up on the streets of downtown Hollywood. And let me guess — nobody knows where they are now or what they’re up to.
“Oh, they’ll turn up,” she laughs. “After all, lots of ‘em have close friends and family in government here and on the City Commission. I imagine a lot will head north to Dania Beach, too — lots of cozy abandoned buildings just waiting for new infestations. And there’s always the canals. Cockroaches love it here, you know. Just like French Canadians, but bigger spenders.”
Yeah, and they stay year-round.
“Hollywood By the Sea — a tropical paradise! Ask any cockroach!”