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Fort DeRussy and Other Observations

A mere block away from the Ilikai Hotel is Fort DeRussy. You may recall episodes of Hawaii Five-0 in which Five-0 went to Fort DeRussy. In "Follow the White Brick Road" (Season 4), for example, Danno and McGarrett drove Danno's white Mustang convertible along a circular driveway before the building where servicemen on rest and recreation from Vietnam could store their luggage in lockers, transfer to and from their buses between Fort DeRussy and Hickam AFB, and meet their wives, who were there to join them. The circular driveway is gone, now. Edging remains here and there that may have been part of the curb around the circular driveway. Too little remains to be certain. The service building remains as we see in this picture:


Now, as you can see, the service building is closed and protected by a fence. So, too, is a newer structure that appears to have been built either during or after Five-0's day. Behind it is a new building called the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. It appeared to be closed, even though PhotoLuke Hawaii took this video last May (2019).

PhotoLukeHawaii has a nice walk-through video about Fort DeRussy on YouTube: I took the liberty of "borrowing" the above screen capture to show how the building we saw appears today. I hope Luke doesn't mind (illustrative purposes and all that).

In another of PhotoLukeHawaii's videos, I saw that one no longer drives down a long slope to leave the entrance driveway before the Ilikai. Rather, what once was a service alley behind the Ilikai, seen in "Leopard on the Rocks" (Season 2), has been developed into a street. So, one turns from the driveway and onto Ala Moana Boulevard before the street enters the boulevard. Alas! Nothing ever remains the same.

Indeed, so many buildings have gone up, invariably replacing the ones we saw on Five-0 -- and even that I saw on my trips to the Island eleven and twelve years ago -- that I found it difficult to recognize where I was on PhotoLukeHawaii's Pink Trolley Line video tour of Waikiki. The only building at the Ala Moana Shopping Center that still resembles itself is Macy's! All others have received new, island-style facades that hide their mid-century appearance. Only the odd glimpse is seen of the rooftop parking lot where McGarrett parked as he tailed Jbara in "The Diamond That Nobody Stole" (Season 5). The low, post-war apartment buildings are quite literally buried amidst the high rises. So sad.

But back to Fort DeRussy, which is what this article is supposed to be about. Here's the sign that stands before the fort. I took it in 2008.

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