The City: Decorating the Derricks

A visitor returning to the handsome waterfront of Long Beach, Calif., after two years' absence is in for a surprise. In 1965, an empty expanse of Pacific Ocean reached away from the city's beaches, homes, hotels and marinas. Today, a chain of islands, complete with waving palm trees and towering high-rise buildings, is the view from the shore.

No sudden upheaval from the ocean floor, the islands are Long Beach's happy solution to a problem that has been nagging the city since 1961. That is, how to preserve the innocent charm of the beach front and at the same time exploit...

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