Amoeblog

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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Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography art opening at 1650 Gallery

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2012 02:16pm | Post a Comment
Photo of Los Angeles

In a recent poll of Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling, only 33% of respondents said that they view Los Angeles favorably whereas 40% view it negatively. 27% stated that they’re not sure. Of America’s largest five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), LA is the only one with a higher negative response than positive. As someone who lives in and loves Southern California, this disappoints but doesn’t surprise me.

 Legends of Hollywood postcard - 1989 LA Gang signs

Growing up in other parts of the country, pop culture sculpted and skewed my perception of the Southland more than anything else. Living here I consider it to be the most misrepresented too. I’ve never been to Philadelphia but my experiences in other large American cities haven’t produced the same sort of glaring dissonance between my expectations and experience that LA has. And with LA the center of America’s pop culture machine, I have to wonder why the city doesn’t do a better job of showcasing its positive attributes instead of its negative – mainly conspicuous consumption, movie stardom and gang culture.

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Mount Washington -- NELA's woody, green hillside community

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 22, 2012 07:01pm | Post a Comment
Mount Washington neighborhood sign Mount Washington, Los Angeles
  One of the Mount Washington neighborhood signs                    A typical Mount Washington street

This here episode is all about Mount Washington -- a hilly and almost entirely residential neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA). Its neighbors are Highland Park to the east, Cypress Park to the southwest, Glassell Park to the northwest and Eagle Rock to the north.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Mount Washington Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Northeast Los Angeles
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's maps of Mount Washington and Northeast LA

On this adventure I was accompanied by frequent traveling companion, Tim Shimbles.

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