Amoeblog

Blow some my way -- Exploring Chesterfield Square

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 14, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Chesterfield Square signs
Chesterfield Square signs

INTRODUCTION
 TO CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

Chesterfield Square is without a doubt, one of Los Angeles’s most obscure neighborhoods. The obscurity is somewhat surprising given the neighborhood’s longstanding and dubious distinction of having the city’s and county’s highest violent crime rate. As a matter of fact, most of the Los Angeles’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods are rather obscure – communities like Compton, South Central, and Watts aren’t even in the top ten.

Divine protection
Divine protection

Although I don’t in any way wish to minimize the seriousness of crime, both visitors and residents of the neighborhood are more likely to be felled by heart disease, cancer, an accident or suicide than by violent criminals -- especially those who are not or don't appear to be affiliated with a gang. Furthermore, citywide violent crime rates for Los Angeles are the lowest they’ve been since 1966. It may be rough by Los Angeles standards but it's hardly San Pedro Sula. In other words, nothing bad is going to happen to you.

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The Byzantine-Latino Quarter -- We are each of us angels with one wing

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 12, 2013 10:57pm | Post a Comment
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of The Byzantine-Latino Quater
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of The Byzantine-Latino Quater


Los Angeles
's Byzantine-Latino Quarter is neighborhood and commercial corridor that straddles the larger neighborhoods of Harvard Heights and Pico-Union as well as the larger Midtown districts of Wilshire Center to the north and Mid-City to the south. The Quarter is centered along Pico Boulevard between South Hobart Boulevard to the west and South Alvarado Boulevard to the east.



EARLY HISTORY

The westernmost border of Los Angeles, as established by the Spanish in 1781, was along what's now Hoover Boulevard. The land to the west, through the Spanish and subsequent Mexican period were public lands. The land remained a mixture of pastures and farmland for decades after California became part of the US in 1848.


PICO HEIGHTS

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The North Industrial District -- Los Angeles's Dogtown

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 6, 2013 12:42pm | Post a Comment
Pendersleigh & Sons' Cartography's map of Dogtown

INTRODUCTION

The North Industrial District, or Dogtown, is both one of Los Angeles’s oldest and most obscure neighborhoods. It’s also occasionally referred to as either Naud Junction or Mission Junction, after two area junctions of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the entity perhaps most instrumental in the neighborhood’s development (it’s also sometimes referred to as the River Station Area). By the way, this is not the Dogtown neighborhood in Santa Monica, of Dogtown & Z-Boys fame.

Mission Tower near downtown LA. Photo by Ted Soqui (2008)
Mission Tower near downtown LA. Photo by Ted Soqui (2008)

Where the West begins and the sunset ends -- A San Fernando Valley primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 5, 2012 10:55am | Post a Comment


SAN FERNANDO VALLEY STATE COLLEGE 1973 postcard
San Fernando Valley State College postcard (1973)

_THE_ VALLEY - A SAN FERNANDO VALLEY PRIMER


San Fernando Valley panorama

San Fernando Valley panorama


There are numerous valleys in Los Angeles County: the Antelope, Crescenta, Hungry, Peace, Pomona, PuenteSan Gabriel, Santa Clara River, and Santa Clarita, to name a few of the better known ones. However, when one hears mention of The Valley it is almost universally recognized as a reference to LA County's San Fernando Valley.

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El Sereno - The last of the independent

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 12, 2012 09:41pm | Post a Comment

INTRODUCTION

Normally for my LA and OC neighborhood blogs, I spend a day (two in the case of Highland Park) exploring and seeing as much as I can and then write about it. For El Sereno, however, I had two whole weeks to explore.

I was house-sitting for a couple, staying in their 1959 mid-century home and taking care of a dog and two cats. Before this excursion I was fairly unfamiliar with El Sereno, having once visited the couple I was house-sitting for, twice visited musician Johann Bogeli (Moving Units), passed through on my bike, eaten at King Torta a few times, and just once purposelessly peregrinating (during which time I came across the Mazatlan).




A hawk in El Sereno
A hawk seen from the window

The first night I spent in El Sereno, one of my hosts and I attended a mescal party in Eagle Rock. Aterward, joined by the other host, we all relaxed in their yard, absorbing the sounds of banda music and partying taking place nearby.

After my hosts embarked on their road trip I would almost always be accompanied in my rambles by their trusty dog, Dooley. I’m not sure if people were especially friendly because I was walking a dog and not just a suspicious guy walking around taking pictures or if people in El Sereno are just generally amongst the city’s most friendly. Whatever the reason, the average day involved so many exchanges of “good morning,” “buenos dias” and hand-waves with complete strangers (and one unintelligible between Dooley and a woman that seemed to have something to do with her ankle monitor and maybe a lighter). As a result, El Sereno has for me deposed Compton as the friendliest community to strangers. (For those wondering, Laurel Canyon and Cambodia Town seemed the coldest).
 

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