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Joshua Tree House Hunting – Part 2

As many of you know, Jonathan and I have been hunting for a weekend house in Joshua Tree. We drove out a few times in the fall to look at properties. There is not a lot on the market right now and there seem to be a lot of people looking. We initially wanted a mid-century house near the boulders, but quickly realized that there are none on the market. Properties like that almost never come up for sale on the MLS, and when they do they go for a very high price per square foot. Meaning they are probably going to be cash deals. I think people tend to keep a lot of these properties in their family for decades or sell to friends. So we had to be kind of open-minded and look at what is on the market now.

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I was initially really excited about this big metal building, behind a small house. I thought it would make a great art studio for me.
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But the building was kind of huge and too overwhelming. But impressive.

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Great mid-century 1 bedroom house. It needed a lot of work and was too small for us. Beautiful windows and fireplace. I hope someone with good taste buys this and really makes it shine.
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Some of the houses had spectacular views but were a bit suburban. P1070009

Breakfast nook with a killer view of valley and Big Bear in the distance.
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This place was an art barn/house with a ton of land and a shipping container. It used to be a sweet potato farm.
I really liked the barn, but it didn’t have enough living space. And I wasn’t really sure what we would do with 23 acres of desert. 
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Cute place with new metal fences in 29 Palms. Lots of outdoor patio space. And a shipping container.

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We think this is some kind of un-finished fountain in the living room of this house. It might need a pulsing laminar stream. You see a lot of strange architectural details in houses in Joshua Tree.

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Desert modern, a product of the oughts. Very SCI-arc. Clad in concrete board. We initially just wanted to see this place out of curiosity, but we kind of liked it. It’s very sharp, angular and masculine.

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View of Joshua trees & the National Park in the distance. The owners of this house said that a bobcat came right up to this window once. I saw a coyote chasing a rabbit.


We saw a lot of properties on this trip. Here were a few properties I got excited about, but they were so different. I said it was like comparing 1000 ladybugs, an albino tiger and a two-headed snake. Each one was very different and had different possibilities. All in all I realized I was less concerned with having a mid-century house (and boulders) and just wanted something architecturally significant with a great view. The views are really important to me as a landscape designer. As is having bonus space for my art studio. Originally that was a “nice to have” but it became a “must have”.

We drove into Palm Springs and mulled it over at the Ace Hotel. There were a lot of pros and cons. And we asked each other if we were crazy. But we pretty quickly decided to put in an offer on one of these places. Can you guess which one we picked?!


Stay tuned for Part 3 of our Joshua Tree House Hunting saga. 

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Looking Back: My Favorite 10 Blog Posts of 2015

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As the year comes to an end, it’s nice to look back. It has been a cray-cray year for me and I haven’t had the chance to sit back and reflect as much as I would like. Honestly, I have been kind of beating myself up that I haven’t made more time to blog this year. But looking back through all my posts I realize that I have written a lot (between all my blogs). I picked these 10 blog posts, not because they got the most likes or view, but because I liked them and thought they might be the most helpful to you.

For me, 2015 was a transitional year. I lost some friends and two grandparents. There were a number of family and friends that were very sick or dealing with difficult situations. I’m grateful that things are settling down. 2015 felt like the end of one era and 2016 will be the beginning of another. I’m really for this new year. Let’s make the next trip around the sun the best one ever.

XOXO

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PERSONAL STORIES

Way Way up in the Ancient Bristlecone National Forest

Exploring the Moorten Botanical Gardens, Palm Springs

Hungry for Plants at Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco

LOS ANGELES NEIGHBORHOODS

Highland Park (Figueroa St. corridor), Los Angeles 90042

Angelino Heights, Echo Park, 90026

Boyle Heights Neighborhood, Los Angeles 90033, 90063, 90023

Elysian Valley (AKA Frogtown), Los Angeles Neighborhood 90039

LANDSCAPE

12 Awesome Outdoor Couches – 2015

Turf Free Backyard, Pasadena

8 Easy Ways to Improve your Curb Appeal

See more: Diary, Link Love, Neighborhoods

Joshua Tree House Hunting – Part 1

Joshua Tree can be a great place for people in NELA to have weekend homes. It’s a 2 hour drive from DTLA during the middle of the day or at night, when you can avoid traffic. A variety of mid century home can be found between $50k and $150K. And newer modern architectural homes between $200-350k+.

There is a cool, creative scene growing in the area. If you haven’t already seen it… read the recent Vogue article by Lilly Stockman.

Joshua Tree Village is right at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The landscape is stunning and other worldly. You kind of feel like you might be on Mars. It’s a place you can commune with the stars, hike, paint, write, and detox from social media. It’s the kind of place where you just might have time to listen to records, read books or write.

Jonathan and I love going out there and have decided we want to buy a weekend house in Joshua Tree. We have started spending more time out this year, Airbnb-ing places and house hunting.

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A popular rental we came across driving down a dirt road.

P1060467A geodesic dome hidden in the boulders

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We turned around a corner on a dirt road and found this supervillian house hidden in the boulders.
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In Jtree high and low are mixed together. This house was made of three old train cars stacked next to each other.
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A cute mid-century flip in Joshua Tree Village.

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Another geodesic dome – Buckminster Fuller would approve.

P1060545This place looks pretty defendable.

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It’s keeps getting more civilized out in Joshua Tree. You can do yoga, get coffee and order dish pizza on this block of the highway.P1060621 P1060626

Crossroads Cafe is one of our favorites. Vegan friendly cafe. Try the spicy seitan tacos.
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This was one of the properties we looked at just outside of Joshua Tree Village. I love the western stage set feel.
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P1060653Checking out the backyard boulder situation.
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A big part of my fantasy about having a house in Joshua Tree is having an art studio where I can work on collages and drawings in peace and quiet. Here I am checking out the garage/studio of a property. I liked this place but it was overpriced and needed a lot of work. We are going to go back in a October and look at more places. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Neighborhood: Highland Park (Figueroa St. corridor), Los Angeles 90042

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Highland Park is a historic neighborhood in NELA (north-east Los Angeles). It was originally part of Rancho San Rafael, and it has many Victorian and Craftsman era homes. In the early 20th century Highland Park and Neighboring Pasadena were home to many artists and intellectuals who lead the Arts & Crafts movement in California.

The neighborhood is ethnically diverse with Latinos, 72.4%; Asians, 11.2%; blacks, 2.4%, whites, 11.3%; and others, 2.6% (according to the 2000 US Census).

Highland Park has two main commercial corridors, York Boulevard. and Figueroa Street. York has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years with smalls shops, boutiques, records stores popping up. York is great, but personally I find the Figueroa (commonly called Fig) Street more interesting from a regional planning standpoint. It has the Gold Line running through it making it easy to get to Pasadena or DTLA, the buildings are generally grander and more architecturally significant. It just feels like the downtown of NELA. It’s walkable and is close to the highway, parks and Arroyo Seco. It has good bones.


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The Gold Line stop is one block west of Figueroa. The weekly Farmer’s Market meets in a nearby parking lot on Tuesdays.


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Chicken Boy – the unofficial mascot of Highland Park.


 

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Gimme Gimme Record shop &  Radio Shack.


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Places to Eat, Drink & Hangout on Figueroa


Chez Antoine – French cafe, great brunch, wine, desserts

Monte 52 – deli & yummy specialty sandwiches

Kitchen Mouse – favorite Veggie/vegan cafe

La Fuenta – Mexican made with love, great salsas and sauces

Folliero’s Pizza – pizza & Italian food in the neighborhood since 1968

The Greyhound Bar & Grill – wine, cocktails, steak, etc.

Antigua Bread – Cafe and bakery, great brunch and breakfast sandwiches

Tierra Mia Coffee – coffees and pastries with a Latin American spin

Good Girl Dinette – hip Vietnamese cafe

Pop Physique – barre & exercise classes


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Highland Theatre – historic theatre on Figueroa, 1st run films. + Location of the Highland Park Independent Film Festival


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The neighborhoods near Figueroa Street are a combination of older, single family, character homes, some that have been subdivided along with multi family properties. Some places have been recently fixed up and are really stunning and others have deferred maintenance.

For example the rentals above on Marmion Way have recently been updated.


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Notice all the river rock retaining walls — the rocks would have come from the Los Angeles River before it was channelized or the nearby Arroyo Seco.


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Lots of large old churches and temples on residential streets.


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Neighborhood: Angelino Heights, Echo Park, Los Angeles 90026

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Angelino Heights, Echo Park 90026

Angelino Heights (sometimes spelled “Angeleno Heights”) is a hilly historic district in the south east corner of Echo Park. It was founded in 1886 as a street car suburb for well-to-do Angelinos who worked nearby in downtown Los Angeles. The neighborhood boasts the largest collection of Victorian & early Craftsman homes in Los Angeles, views of nearly DTLA, big trees, and a fascinating role in early cinema. The neighborhood is also ideally located to enjoy all the hip new restaurants and shops popping up in Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).

The neighborhood is bordered by Hi-Fi and Westlake to the south, Echo Park proper to the west and north and downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) to the east. The neighborhood boundaries are Sunset Blvd (route 66) to the north and east, Echo Park Ave to the West, the Hollywood Freeway (101) to the south.

Angelino Heights was the first HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) in Los Angeles (1983). The zoning prohibits unsympathetic remodeling of historic homes and requires new construction to resemble the original architecture of the neighborhood in scale, mass and materials. For example, if someone wants to repaint their house, they need to go before the HPOZ committee to get the paint colors approved as historically appropriate for their structure and the neighborhood. There are now over 20 HPOZ districts in Los Angeles.


I write these neighborhood posts each month – but I’m especially excited about this one, because this is my neighborhood! My husband moved to Angelino Heights in 1987 and I moved here in 2002. We love it here!

— Patty


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The historic plat map of Angelino Heights. Reservoir #4 is now known as Echo Park Lake. This map shows the neighborhood before the 101 freeway cut through the southern part of the neighborhood in the early 1950’s destroying a large swath of historic houses.


The most famous street in Angelino Heights is Carroll Avenue. It is the home of many of the most impressive Victorian mansions in Los Angeles. The entire 1300 block of Carroll Avenue has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. The street has been used for filming in countless movies, videos and commercials. Carroll Avenue is a big Los Angeles tourist attraction, bringing walking tours and tour buses into the neighborhood. The residents of the street got together many years ago and had the power lines run under the street to help maintain the historic character of the street.


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The Don Draper Brothel House from Mad Men.

Countless films, TV shows and commercials have been filmed in the neighborhood for over 100 years. In the era of the black and white movies this is where a lot of the stars lived.


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The Michael Jackson Thriller House


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The Charmed House


When you think of San Francisco you think of the painted ladies (Victorian homes). Angelino Heights is the painted lady district of Los Angeles.


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Halloween is a huge to-do in Angelino Heights. People come from all over the city to trick or treat at the spooky old houses. Homes on Carroll Ave may get 2000 trick or treaters each year! It’s really a sight to see.


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Where to Eat, Drink & Hang Out near Angelino Heights

Angelino Heights proper is almost completely residential, but it’s within easy walking distance of downtown Echo Park. Along Sunset Blvd (the northern border of the neighborhood) there are a ton of places to eat, drink & shop.

Echo Park Lake – built in the 1860’s this urban lake was recently renovated and is now a world class park with views of the Los Angeles skyline. Lake, wetlands, lotuses, lilies, paddle boats, cafe. Bring a picnic.
Dodger Stadium – just a few blocks from Angelino Heights – walk to games.
The Park Restaurant – a neighborhood favorite. Outdoor patio. Wed night is 1/2 priced burgers.
Kush Sake Bar – Japanese restaurant & saki bar, small plates, more like tapas, udon.
The Lost Knight – sprawling pub with two levels and a roof deck, sports bar, english pub food.
Woodcat – a low key place to bring you laptop and drink coffee.
Dinette – chic counter service cafe, fancy waffles, expresso, bring your small dog and baby carriage.
The Short Stop – old neighborhood bar, dark, fun.
Ostrich Farm – fancy new restaurant, celebrity sightings.
The Sunset Beer Company – popular beer store and lounge.
Guisados – legendary LA tacos, often a line outside.
Button Mash (opening soon – summer 2015) – video arcade, pinball, pan asian food & bar.
Blue Bottle (opening soon – summer 2015) – fancy SF based coffee, treats and brunch.
Equeleto – hip jewelry store, they also have ceramics and some other handmade goods.

+ DTLA is less than a mile away. It is a short bus, bike or uber ride to museums, shopping, galleries, restaurants, the Arts District, etc.


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The spelling of the neighborhood was originally “Angeleno Heights”. Legend has it that the trolley company misspelled the neighborhood as “Angelino” on the trolley cars and that eventually became the common spelling. Even today you will find it spelled both ways.


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A handful of hitching posts can still be found around the neighborhood. Many houses still have museum-quality antique weather vanes.



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Bob’s Market is the only market still in operation in Angelino Heights proper. It’s frequently used for filming. There used to be about a dozen shops (tailer, upholster, liquor store, bodegas, etc.) tucked into the residential streets of the neighborhood but over the last 20 years they have mostly been turned into housing. Some have plaques telling a bit about their history.


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The neighborhood has many historic and architecturally significant apartment buildings in varying condition.


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While many homes are well maintained there are probably a couple hundred historic homes which have substantial deferred maintenance and need someone to come along and adopt them. Many are long-term rental properties.


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There are a handful of large old brick apartment buildings on the east side of the neighborhood, towards DTLA.

If you haven’t visited and walked around Angelino Heights make sure to add it to your must-see list. You can eat on Sunset Blvd, stroll around Echo Park Lake and then wander the streets of Angelino Heights. Make a day of it!



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Elysian Valley (AKA Frogtown), Los Angeles Neighborhood 90039

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frogtownThe official name of the neighborhood, Elysian Valley, is rarely used. 

Elysian Valley (AKA Frogtown)

Frogtown is a really long, skinny neighborhood neighborhood hidden between Elysian Heights (Echo Park) and the Los Angeles River. It is 2-4 blocks wide and 2.5 miles long. There is a 1 block band of industrial buildings along the river, and the rest of the neighborhood is primarily small single family homes and apartment buildings. In recent years a major bike/walking path has been created along the Los Angeles River, and it now functions as the main promenade for the neighborhood. Because of this cycling and cycling related businesses are prominent in the neighborhood.

The increasingly cool neighborhood has long been home to many artists and designers who used the industrial buildings for studio space. Artists Shepard Fairey, Mark Grohjahn, Thomas Houseago, and many others have opened studios there in recent years. The annual Frogtown Art Walk has drawn visitors from all over the city. The neighborhood used to be fairly isolated, but in recent years the new bike path along the LA River (as well as other river improvement projects) has brought renewed attention to the neighborhood and has created more demand for cafes, housing and resting places along the Los Angeles River. Parts of the neighborhood recently were rezoned from “manufacturing” to “commercial manufacturing” which makes regulatory room for high-density residences and retail.

The boundaries of Frogtown are the LA River to the north and east, Riverside Drive to the South, Fletcher Drive to the west. To the north of the river you will find Atwater Village across the river you will find Atwater, Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Mt. Washington. Also nearby is Silver Lake, to the south-west.

Approx. 7,770+ people live in the  .79 square mile neighborhood. In the 2000 census the neighborhood was 61% Latino, 25.6% Asian, 9.7% White, 1.1% black.

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Lots of wildflowers and native plants along the bike path.

WHERE TO EAT, DRINK, HANGOUT IN FROGTOWN

Elysian – happy hour, brunch, dinner. A gorgeous event space/pop-up restaurant in an old industrial complex. Lush garden. Check website for reservations.
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The Frog Spot – cafe & community gathering spot along the bike path. Poetry readings events. Run by the awesome people at FoLAR (Friends of the Los Angeles River).
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Spoke Bicycle Cafe – cafe & community gathering spot along the bike path oriented to bikers. Ride right in!
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March Park –  newly renovated  3.9 acre park with outdoor classrooms. They host all kind of events, bands, outdoor movie nights. Kind of a town square for the neighborhood.
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Marsh Park also has a skate park.
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 Kayak the Glendale Narrows section of the Los Angeles River that runs through Frogtown.
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Nomad Art Compound houses a bookstore, print shop, music venue, swimming pool and bedrooms for artists to rent.
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Good Eggs is a farmer’s market / food delivery service.
Modernica the furniture company moved their corporate headquarters to the old Twinkie factory a few years ago.
Home Restaurant is a large restaurant & bar on the north edge of the neighborhood. Great patio. Good for groups.
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NEAR TO FROGTOWN
Hike the Wildflower Trail – a beloved trail in Elysian Park, striking views down on Frogtown and Los Angeles river and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance
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Bars, restaurants, shops in DTLA, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Atwater are a short drive away.

 Why “Frogtown”? There used to be a seasonal infiltration of frogs when the neighborhood was marshy, before the river was channelized.

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Apartments under construction along the bike path. More to come.

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Lots of frog murals everywhere.

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There are still a lot of industrial spaces that are being used for industry. Many look underused.

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Huge drifts of Matilija poppies growing along the path.

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Neighborhood church.P1040318P1040373 P1040439 P1040440P1040382 P1040403 P1040379 P1040374

The Los Angeles River
In 2014, Army Corp of Engineers recommended the larger 1 Billion dollar proposal to revitalize the Los Angeles River. While some of that funding is still being sought it is clear that there is a lot of change coming to the LA River corridor. Plans include parks, bike paths, habitat, access to the water, and a lot of economic revitalization. A number of projects are slated for the section of the river located between DTLA and Elysian Valley.

Below is a collage from the Greenway 2020 proposal to make the LA River more accessible.

LA-River_proposal

 


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Exploring Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles 90031

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Views from Lincoln Park, on the south side of the neighborhood. The park was originally built in 1881.

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Lincoln Heights is considered to be the oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles.Some of the buildings date to the 1830s and the area was located within the original Spanish forty-square league land grant. There are a number of victorian and early craftsman homes preserved with the HPOZ.

Located just north of DTLA, it is bound on the west by the Los Angeles River, the I-10 to the south, Indiana Street to the east, the northern boundary is undefined due to hilly territory where it borders Montecito Heights.

Originally called “East Los Angeles”, the name was changed to “Lincoln Heights” in 1917 after the death of many of the confederate founding fathers of Los Angeles. At the turn of the 20th century, increased industrial development along the Los Angeles River drove out many of the wealthy residents of the neighborhood, who moved west to Angelino Heights, Hancock Park (after 1920) and Hollywood. Italian, Irish, French and Mexican American residents took their place.

The 2000 census shows a diverse population: Latinos, 70.7%; Asians, 25.2%; whites, 2.7%; blacks, 0.4%; and others, 1.0%.

There is a metro stop on the Gold Line north-west corner of the neighborhood, allowing easy access to Highland Park, Chinatown, Pasadena and DTLA.

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WHERE TO EAT, DRINK IN LINCOLN HEIGHTS

The Heights Deli & Bottle Shop – Brand new deli with opening soon.
Maddalena – Fine Italian Dining and wine.
Barbara’s at the Brewery – Restaurant/bar at the Brewery complex, good for groups.
Corn Man – “For 1.50, you get a loaded bowl of corns or on the cob with butter, mayo, chili and lime. He does not skimp on it AT ALL!” – Yelp review.
El Huarachito – Great authentic Mexican food, small place, super friendly staff.
Carnitas Michoacan – tacos 24 hours a day!
Dino’s – old school burger stand, get the zucchini fries. Solid meals, cheap.

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WHERE TO SHOP AND HANG OUT IN LINCOLN HEIGHTS
Reformation Station – pilates studio
St.Vincent du Paul – huge thrift store (main store in LA)
La Petite Gardenia – artsy florist
Revival Furniture – thrift shop furniture
Skeletons in the Closet (LA County Coroner gift shop – super weird, go visit)

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Tile on a broadway facade.
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A very fancy El Pollo Loco on Broadway

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A church converted into a home.

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Endless streets on one story historic homes.P1030523

San Antonio Winery opened in the neighborhood in 1917, and continues to produce wine (although now with non local grapes), they also have a fine Italian restaurant Maddalena, a tasting room and wine shop. They survived prohibition by making communion wine for the Catholic Church.

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Originally an Edison power plant (and later a Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery) dating to 1903 this complex of 21 former industrial buildings (now 320 oversized lofts) that was converted into a huge arts community in 1982. It has been called the largest arts complex in the world. Stop by and visit Barbara’s at the Brewery, their restaurant/bar that is open the public. Gym opening soon. Twice annual art walks.

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The Los Angeles River
In 2014, Army Corp of Engineers recommended the larger 1 Billion dollar proposal to revitalize the Los Angeles River. While some of that funding is still being sought it is clear that there is a lot of change coming to the LA River corridor. Plans include parks, bike paths, habitat, access to the water, and a lot of economic revitalization. A number of projects are slated for the section of the river located between DTLA and Elysian Valley.

Below is a collage from the Greenway 2020 proposal to make the LA River more accessible.

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The Piggyback Yard – There is a proposal to turn the huge Piggyback Yards (railroad yard), along the LA River into a massive riverfront green space. It is not a done deal yet, but it could be a huge addition to the city and amazing for Lincoln Heights. Stay tuned!


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Hi-Fi (Historic Filipinotown) Neighborhood, Los Angeles 90026

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Historic Filipinotown (Hi-Fi) is a hilly neighborhood made up of the southern sections of Silver Lake & Echo Park, bounded by Hoover St. on the west, Glendale Blvd on the east and Beverly Blvd on the south and Temple Street/101 to the north. In the 1950’s this are was cut off from their neighbors by the 101 freeway, which has kept this area kind of hidden, and allowed it to develop it’s own independent sense of community. The district was officially created and named in 2002 by then city-Council member Eric Garcetti.

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This neighborhood is the first geographical designation by a city outside of the Philippines honoring the country and their people. Filipino Americans represent the largest population of Asian Americans in California. Filipino settlements in California date back as early as 1763 and were home to approximately 2,000 sailors and laborers. There are a number of enclaves where Filipinos lived in Los Angeles, but this area was the cultural center and where many of the churches were built. Many families began purchasing homes in the area in the 1940’s.

There is an annual Historic Filipinotown Festival each August, the Annual Historic Filipinotown 5k Run/Walk (sponsored by A Runner’s Circle) and Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival.

The neighborhood has a population of 25,000, 60 percent are Latino, and 25 percent are Filipino-Americans.

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In Oct 2011, Michelle Obama recognized Hi-Fi as a Preserve America Community. The INC church above is influenced strongly by traditional Filipino architecture.
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Detail of Eliseo Art Silva’s Filipino American history mural at Unidad Park in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown.

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Bar 1642 is right next to Tamales Alberto on Temple Street. Tribal Cafe is just across the Street.

Places to Eat & Drink & Hangout in Hi-Fi


Bar 1642 – Cool low key wine/beer bar. Reminds me of NYC or Philadelphia. Jazz nights, DJ playing historic music.
Alberto’s Tamales – We ordered 13 dozen tamales for our last xmas party. Amazing selection of tamales. Eat in or takeout.
Brooklyn Bagel – This is not a restaurant, but rather a bakery where they make delish bagels. Come early and get them hot.
Tigeorges Chicken – Haitian, cult following. I know engineers that drive here for lunch from the valley. Pork, rice and beans, etc.
Gigi’s Bakery & Cafe – Cuban food, pastries.
My Mom’s Bakeshop – Chicken lugaw/congee and lumpia.
Tommy’s Handburgers – the original chili burger shack.
Tribal Cafe  – Vegetarian/vegan. Hippie vibe. H-U-G-E menu. Fresh juices and smoothies. Poetry readings, open mic.
Shibucho – Come here if you are a sushi connoisseur. This place is old school and $$$$.
Pehrspace – Art gallery/ Indie music venue – $5 cover for music. Kind of a scene.
LA Derby Dolls – Roller derby madness, complete with food, draft fair, indie bands.

HiFi is centrally located and very close to bars & restaurants in DTLA, Korea Town and the rest of Silver Lake and Echo Park.

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Views of DTLA from the east side of Hi-Fi.

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Tribal Cafe has been a gathering spot for creatives since the 1950’s.

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There are a number of new apartment buildings being built along Temple Street. This one is across from Bar 1642. And it is only 2-3 blocks from Echo Park Lake, you just have to walk under the 101 to get there.

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You must check out Amsterdam Modern, an amazing warehouse of 1950-1970’s furniture, home decor.

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Handsome industrial buildings along Glendale.

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Recently updated investment property.

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The architecture in Hi-Fi is eclectic. Check out this crazy new single family house, reaching up to grab a great view of DTLA.

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A few blocks away are streets with Victorians, Craftsman and art deco buildings. Some are well maintained (like above) and others need some TLC.

P1030419 Get your bagels and flavored cream cheese here.

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Distant views of the San Gabriel mountains can be seen from many Hi-Fi streets.

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Looking down on the historic Western Exterminator sign that can be seen from the 101.
P1030447View of DTLA from the far west end of Hi-Fi, from the Temple Community Hospital that is being re-developed.

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If you spin around you can see the Hollywood sign and the Observatory in the distance. You are really feel like you are in the middle of everything. Temple Street below.


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I Heart LA: Streetcar Neighborhoods

 

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My Love Letter to Los Angeles (Part 1)

It’s Valentine’s Day, which seems like a good time for me to write a love letter to Los Angeles. I moved out here from Philadelphia in 2002, landing in Echo Park. I originally thought I would be here for a couple of years, before my design career took me back to the east coast. But then life happened and I fell madly in love with Los Angeles and a certain handsome Angelino and California turned into home.

I think a big part of my falling in love with the Los Angeles was first falling in love with my neighborhood. My early memories of Echo Park: lots of boozy nights at the Short Stop and Little Joy, hiking in Elysian Park, Dodger Games (and fireworks), fresh tortillas, taking the bus to work, painting on my living room floor, buying noodles at the asian market, riding in paddle boats on the lake, the view of DTLA from my apartment, BBQ’s, thrift shopping, losing my clothes at the laundry mat, shopping at Fashions of Echo Park, the endless sound of helicopters at night, stocking up for parties at Pioneer Market and lots of street burritos.

13 years later, I still live in Echo Park, 6 blocks from my original apartment. My husband and I own a Craftsman compound in Angeleno Heights and where we have a great view of DTLA from our front porch. He has lived in the neighborhood since 1987. We know a lot of the neighbors on our block. It’s really diverse. There are Chinese families, Latino families, African American families, gay families, yuppies, hipsters, yupsters, actors, designers, plumbers, bloggers, lawyers, small business owners, some 90+ year olds, punk rockers, some kids and a few midwesterners like myself. I love the energy, the excitement and the diversity in the neighborhood.


Streetcar Neighborhoods – 2015

I have lived in a number of places, some that I loved and some that honestly kind of depressed me. I have come to the conclusion that it is really important to be in love with your neighborhood/city. There is a sense of pride, excitement and also safety that you feel when you are rooted in a community. Neighborhoods create shared experiences between people. You go to the same schools, restaurants, parks, you see the same murals, you know some of the same people, you might listen to the same bands, watch the same sunset, play in the same fountain.

People always say Los Angeles is a collection of small towns. You might know a handful of them well, but often times people haven’t explored nearby neighborhoods. With that in mind, I am going to focus on writing about neighborhoods on the blog in 2015. Last week I wrote a bit about Boyle Heights. I’m going to post more about Boyle Heights history next week after I visit the historical society. And next month we will take a peek at Hi-Fi and then we are going to head over to Lincoln Heights. If there are specific neighborhoods you want to know more about just email me.

I’m focusing first on streetcar neighborhoods, neighborhoods that were laid out in the streetcar era. The streetcars may be gone, but they have left behind a legacy of grid streets, density, access to transit, walkable neighborhoods. These are the types of neighborhoods that people are starting to appreciate again as we move away from a car centered society. Many of the streetcar neighborhoods are near to DTLA, which is undergoing a fast paced revitalization. I’ll be writing about DTLA too.

My goal is to make my neighborhood blog posts useful to people exploring new neighborhoods where they might want buy a house. But I also want people who are just curious about Los Angeles to find them useful, fun and interesting. Wherever you are, I hope this blog helps you fall in love with Los Angeles!

Best,

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