I Heart LA: Streetcar Neighborhoods



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!





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