Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Is this revitalization?

Today's groaner comes from the Long Beach Post:

Several popular businesses like Club V20, Gameworks and Long Beach Clothing Company vacated their locations last year due to the economy and rising rent costs. Crowds have been slow even on normally busy weekends, even with recent additions like Hooters, Kitchen Den Bar and KODI Boutique shopping. It's a far cry from decades past where the area was alive with an amusement park and beachfront attractions.

Pike management hope that they'll be able to recapture a little bit of that past glory with a new strategy.

Large signs depicting historic photos of the area will be installed along the currently-empty walls of businesses facing out toward Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive, as a 12-foot by 22-foot reminder of the what the Pike has been. The images will be installed in mid-February and depict things like the old Cyclone Racer rollercoaster and Looff Carousel.

“We are excited about these new graphics,” said General Manager, Jeff Miyaoka. “It will not only enhance the look and feel of the property, but it also is the first step in helping to market The Pike and the entire waterfront region as a unique destination for visitors and locals alike.”

If you've ever been to the Pike (the nearly deserted minimall by the sea, not the always busy seafood place on 4th street), you know this is literally nothing more than window dressing. The Pike has had problems for years. Aside from the Aquarium, the Pike offers visitors little more than a few chain stores (including bankruptcy adjacent Borders), several dreary watering holes and a ferris wheel.

If you factor in the already well-established assortment of Phantom Galleries in and around the Pike, maybe it's just a matter of time before the shopping center becomes Long Beach's largest failed development/art installation.

[Photo of the Pike during better times by William Reagh, via LA Public Library]