Burning palm tree: Los Angeles’ Fairfax district on fire


A Jewish district in Los Angeles recently saw a burning bush — err, palm tree.
L.A.’s Fairfax district is a popular Jewish district, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Shirley Halperin in describing a pyrotechnic display on Aug. 1:

Four days after an LA Weekly article addressed tension around Los Angeles’ Fairfax district, pointing to the arrival of hip-hop collective Odd Future, whose OF pop-up is located on the storied Jewish strip and has been drawing unwanted crowds of tourists and celebrity gazers, the band made its presence known by setting a giant palm tree on fire.

Yards away from the famous Canter’s Deli at 419 N. Fairfax, reports cite that one of the rappers threw a bottle rocket into the tree, which set its fronds on fire and endangered local businesses and people walking by. Among those impacted, according to Gawker, was Damiano Mr. Pizza, a pizza joint frequented by the likes of Sarah Silverman.

Twenty years ago, Canter’s was noted for staying open while Fairfax burned during the L.A. riot:

In the Fairfax district, once almost entirely Jewish but now becoming ethnically mixed, several incidents of looting and arson were reported. But the landmark Canter’s Deli stayed open at night despite the curfew, providing hot pastrami sandwiches for Jewish and black customers. Yet there were losses in life and property.

Howard Epstein, a 45-year old businessman and father of two small children, flew in from his home in northern California to see what was happening to his machine shop in South Los Angeles.

While on the way to his shop in a rented car, he was shot and killed by three men, who afterward ransacked his vehicle and took his personal belongings.

Check out more Fairfax Avenue references in our archive.

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