Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Cypress Park

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 7, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment
In this installment of the Los Angeles neighborhood blog, we visit Cypress Park. To vote for the neighborhood you think I should visit next, go here or to vote for a Los Angeles County community you'd like to see covered, go here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

The western entry into the neighborhood

Cypress Park is a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles hemmed in by Mt. Washington to the northeast, the LA River on the southwest and Lincoln Heights to the south.
 
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of Northeast Los Angeles and Cypress Park

At Division and San  Fernando, it shares a short border with Glassell Park. At Marmion and Figueroa, it shares an even shorter border with Highland Park.

A view of Cypress Park from Frogtown with Mt. Washington in the background

Cypress Park is sometimes refered to as Cypress Parque -- and as Chavala Park by silly haters. However, most Angelenos erroneously refer to it (when they do at all) as Highland Park. Nonetheless, Cypress Park has a unique history and is the location of several places of historical note.

 
For a city as famous for its murals as Los Angeles is, for the most part Cypress Park has very few. On the left is Tlaloc.

Cypress Park is located in the narrow lowlands between the river and the hills to the northeast and south. Some of the older houses are, not surprisingly, quaint, attractive and often feature well-tended yards. As with much of Los Angeles, there are also loads of hideous dingbats the color of dirty, faded band-aids and protected by security bars. Cypress Park's residents are 82% Latino (mostly Mexican) of any race, 11% Asian (mostly Chinese), and 5% white.


A typical street in Cypress Park




Shady Cypress Avenue

The Jeffries family were some of the earliest residents of note in the modern era. They were responsible for developing what was then known as the Jeffries-Highland. Their Victorian mansion was removed to build Florence Nightingale Middle School. Florence Nightingale's story has been the subject of several films and plays. Below is a clip from one featuring two of my favorite actors, Jeremy Brett and Jaclyn Smith.



The Arroyo Theatre today (image source: You Are Here)


Along San Fernando Road, in the western portion of the neighborhood, is a long industrial corridor, quite like most, with nameless, faceless manufacturers, collision repair specialists, &c.

 


Behind the corridor, where Isabel Street comes to an end (after an intersection with Bank Street) as a very narrow dead end, the so-called "Avenida Assecinos" [sic] became notorious when a white family was shot there around 3 a.m., looking for a shortcut or drugs, depending on who you believe. Although Cypress Park unfortunately has a fairly high crime rate, white people being killed there is rare and was serious enough that it resulted in Bill Clinton getting involved.


El Atacor #1

  
King Taco No. 1

To pretentious foodies for whom the most important aspects of restaurant choice are obscurity and authenticity, Figueroa Street is home to many Mexican restaurants that your friends haven't heard of. For those who aren't engaged in a game of one-upsmanship, Figueroa Street is also home to many trusty chains. Cypress Park is also noteworthy in culinary history as the home of the first El Atacor (located in Cypress Plaza) and the first King Taco (on Cypress).

Elysian Valley on the left, Cypress Park on the right (c. 1925)

   
Rio de Los Angeles Park

Back in the 1960s, the 247-acre freight switching facility known as Taylor Yard wound down. In the 1980s it was just used for storage and maintenance. Although there's still some train stuff over there, a large portion of the former yard is now the nicely done Rio de Los Angeles park, with multiple soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds.

Footsies

In the early part of the 20th century, Cypress Park was a mostly working class Italian neighborhood. Now, most of the residents are of Mexican or Chinese backgrounds. Nonetheless, a few guilt-plagued weddos have apologetically suggested that their going to the popular bar Footsies (not possessive) on weekends amounts to gentrification. Not to worry, when they head back across the river, the resultant white flight erases the unavoidable "damage" done by Caucasian migration.

Footsies is a bar owned or co-owned by Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers. Footsies is also notable for nearly always containing at least one Amoeba employee, whether drinking, DJing or bar-backing... (or all three). The video below immortalizes the bar, although it features no Amoebas.

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo



*****


Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

out today 3/4...bauhaus...michael mcdonald...

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 4, 2008 11:29pm | Post a Comment
A new Michael McDonald and Bauhaus release in the same day! How lucky can we be? I really can't think of two more different musicians than Peter Murphy and Michael McDonald-- but I am actually excited that they both have albums out today. Bauhaus is one of those bands that I can't really imagine not existing-- like Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, & The Smiths, it is hard to imagine my life without these bands. I wonder what bands could have replaced these bands in my life if the members of these bands had made other decisions and not decided to become musicians. I don't even know what I would have listened to in High School or what I would have talked about with my friends if not for these bands. So many friendships and relationships were built on the love of these bands. Bauhaus only released four albums in the early 80's, but they managed to make a huge impact on me and many others. Like the Smiths, the band broke up before I had ever heard of them. It is hard to believe, but this is the first Bauhaus studio album in 25 years. The new album is called Go Away White and is released today.

Bauhaus broke up in 1983 but the members of the band have all remained busy over the years. I was a big fan of both the solo Peter Murphy and Love & Rockets. These were the albums I grew up with. It was not until later that I went back to discover the brilliant albums of Bauhaus. Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins went on to create Tones on Tail after the break up of Bauhaus. David J joined them for Love & Rockets, which was basically Bauhaus without Peter Murphy. The self titled album of Love & Rockets from 1989 remains one of my favorite albums. It had such a major impact on me when it first came out. It was one of those albums I still remember going to the store to buy and listening to over and over again. I was obsessed with this album. Peter Murphy continued to release solo albums over the last couple decades as well. He released Deep in 1990 and Holy Smoke in 1992. These albums basically framed my High School years. They also still remain two of my favorites. I am a bit surprised that I am still not sick of the song "Cuts You Up," but I can still listen to it over and over again and love it just as much as I did in 1990. I am actually listening to it right now. I still can picture the entire video whenever I listen to it.

I actually ended up being able to see Bauhaus twice over the last couple of years. They were one of the bands, like the Smiths, that I thought I would never be able to see live, but they reunited for a couple tours just for fans like me who never got a chance to see them. Now they are back again and put out another album that will probably be their last-- or we might have to wait another 25 years. I was a bit scared to listen to this new Bauhaus album. I am always worried that I will be disappointed when one of my old favorite bands puts out a new album. I have really loved them so much and loved much of what they have all been doing post-Bauhaus. I worry that these new albums will somehow alter my memory of them or at least change how I feel about them-- but this new album is actually fantastic! They made an album that it will be hard for Bauhaus fans not to enjoy. It simply sounds like a Bauhaus album should sound. You can't really tell that 25 years have passed. The album features the original line up of Peter Murphy, David J, Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash. The liner notes don't tell you much about the album. But they do give you the wrong address for their myspace page. www.myspace.com/bauhaus actually goes to some 12 year old kid's page who I am sure is excited to be getting so much traffic to his page, but his page is actually set to private.The actual myspace page for the band is www.myspace.com/officialbauhaus. The album cover to the left seems to be moving. Maybe it is just me but if you state at it long enough the ghost angel seems to be moving.

Also out today is another solo album from your favorite Doobie Brother, Michael McDonald. He releasedMotown 1 & 2 in 2003 and 2004 and now gives us Soul Speak. He covers "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher" and "Walk on By." I don't really know how to explain my love of Michael McDonald. I seriously can't explain it. But any of my fellow Michael McDonald fans will admit the same thing. You either love or hate him.  Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) and Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs & Twilight Singers) also release a new album out today. They really make an amazing little pair and put together an awesome album. They are called the Gutter Twins. I really love both their voices and it is awesome to hear them together on one album. There is also a new fantastic album by Autechre on Warp and another solo album by Stephen Malkmus from Pavement called Real Emotional Trash.  It's actually growing on me. I thought I was sort of over Pavement and Mr. Malkmus, but I actually like this new album and still enjoy his voice. There are also two amazing soul compilations out today. Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records and The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff's Greatest Hits.



also out today...






Quaristice by Autechre











Saturnalia by The Gutter Twins












Shots by Ladyhawk












Real Emotional Trash by Stephen Malkmus











Soul Speak by Michael McDonald











Batbox by Miss Kittin












I Need You to Hold On While the Sky is Falling by Kelley Polar











Transnormal Skiper by Jim White











  Conquer the World Various Artists











The Sound Of Philadelphia Various Artists