Amoeblog

America's Port - A Harbor Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 23, 2011 03:30pm | Post a Comment
THE HARBOR

Map of the Harbor
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of The Harbor

The Harbor
is the region of Los Angeles County centered around San Pedro Bay. It is the site of both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which together form the fifth-busiest port facility in the world (behind the ports of Shanghai ( 上海), Singapore, Hong Kong (香港), and Shenzhen (深圳) -- all in Asia). It was originally a shallow mudflat known to the indigenous Tongva as the Bay of Smokes. It was dredged in modern times to an average depth of ten to twenty meters. Natural islands in the Harbor included Terminal Island, Mormon Island and Dead Man's Island. The latter was removed, the second was connected to the mainland and the first is a highly augmented mudflat. There are four artificial islands built around oil rigs; Freeman, Grissom, White and Chaffee Islands. If one figure can be credited with the Harbor's transformation, it's Delaware-born Phineas Banning.

 

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Eastside? Westside? Midtown? Northeast LA? Downtown? - A Mideast Side Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 16, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
As regular (and probably irregular) readers of Eric's Blog know, I'm a bit of a Southern California wonk and a big part of my focus is writing about the culture, character and history of the many diverse communities of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Although so far there have been around 800 votes from readers, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully entertaining) to focus on the regions and provide a brief summary of the districts within with the hope of encouraging informed voting. In this entry I'd like to focus on the Mideast Side.

 
Los Angeles' Mideast Side

The Mideast Side describes the region between the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, Midtown, South LA, Downtown and Northeast LA. It includes a stretch of neighborhoods west of the LA river between the peaks of Griffith Park and downtown, in other words, Angeleno Heights, the Byzantine-Latino Quarter, Crown Hill,  Echo Park, Elysian Heights, Elysian Park, Franklin Hills,  Historic FilipinotownFrogtown, Los Feliz, Pico-Union, Silver Lake, Solano Canyon, Temple-Beaudry,  Victor Heights, and Westlake.

Beat City Downtown - A Downtown Los Angeles Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 15, 2011 11:00am | Post a Comment
Downtown Los Angeles at Night

As regular (and probably irregular) readers of Eric's Blog know, I'm a bit of a Southern California wonk and a big part of my focus is writing about the culture, character and history of the many diverse communities of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Although so far there have been around 800 votes from readers I thought it would be fun (and hopefully entertaining) to focus on the regions and provide a brief summary of the districts within with the hope of encouraging informed voting. First I'd like to focus on the center of the southland, Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Downtown Aerial View

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

Before I moved to Los Angeles, a Chicagoan told me that LA had no downtown. I could see the cluster of buildings although it wasn't that much different from the many others that rise above the sprawl. Having visited it in the late '90s I disagreed with my acquaintance but could see her point. During the day the western portion was a commotion of be-suited bankers and accountants. The middle was absolutely bustling with Latino businesses and I found a great source for white denim and pupusas. The eastern portion was covered with tents and I saw people performing acts in exchange for crack that should only be done in private... and not for crack. When the sun set, metal doors and gates closed and it was desolate. I was occasionally threatened although I never was robbed or assaulted and to me it seemed that most visitors were from safe middle or upper class backgrounds who needed a bit of danger and prescribed, structured, punk rock rebellion to feel alive.  
 

Map of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhoods
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Downtown Los Angeles 
 

A decade later it's greatly changed, with a large influx of residents and businesses returning to the city's core. Downtown Los Angeles is home to 21 (or 22) distinct districts and now home to around 64,000 Angelenos. It's a highly diverse region with a 44% Asian (mainly Chinese, Korean and Japanese with large numbers of Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai) plurality with the remainder breaking down as 31% Latino (mostly Mexican), 13% black and 10% white (based on 2008 estimates by the L.A. Department of City Planning).
 
 
LA in the Future LA streetcars
 

None of this is meant to suggest that all is now well and functioning at its peak potential. Downtown is still the epicenter of homelessness, has a lack of sufficient green space (why aren't green roofs more popular?) and I probably wouldn't suggest raising children there just yet. It is, however, coming up, with LA Live bringing entertainment, abandoned buildings being repurposed as beautiful lofts and the imminent return of trolleys all drawing visitors and new residents. Here's a short history.
*****
El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was founded by the Spanish in 1781 in a small neighborhood colloquially known as "El Pueblo," between Chinatown and the Civic Center. In the 19th Century the area around it evolved into Sonoratown and later Little Italy, Dogtown and (old) Chinatown

Broadway 100 - Bringing Back Broadway's Centennial Events

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 2, 2011 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Los Angeles' Broadway


Los Angeles
' Broadway Theater and Commercial District in the downtown Historic Core is the oldest historic theater district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Million Dollar Theater, Roxie Theater, Los Angeles Theater, Loew's State Theatre, Globe Theater, Tower Theater, Rialto Theater, Orpheum Theater and United Artists Theaters were mixed movie and vaudeville theaters, dedicated movie palaces and nickelodeons that became movie theaters. With twelve of them within a six-block stretch of Broadway, it is also the only large concentration of picture palaces in the US and the largest historic theater district in the county.

 

Los Angeles' Broadway at the turn of the century

 

Broadway was originally named Fort Street when it was laid out in 1849. It was renamed Broadway in 1890 and runs from Lincoln Heights through Chinatown, the Civic Center, (Old) South Park, South Central, (New) South Park, Florence, Broadway-Manchester, Willowbrook, West Compton, to Carson where it ends. The twelve theaters were built between 1910 and 1931 with a combined filmgoing capacity of 15,000. At that time it was the entertainment hub of Los Angeles. After World War II, it began to decline as first-run moviegoers began to favor theaters in Hollywood and Westwood, and later, the suburbs. 

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Venice - Sidewalk Crouches at Her Feet

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 19, 2011 07:20pm | Post a Comment
VENICE, CALIFORNIA

Downtown Venice California
 
Venice is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Westside neighbored by Santa Monica to the north, Mar Vista to the east, Culver City and Del Rey to the southeast, Marina del Rey to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It's famous for its canals, Muscle Beach, Venice Beach and Ocean Front Walk  -- "the Boardwalk." To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of future blog entries, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


Westside Los Angeles Map of Venice California
   Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Westside                    Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Venice

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