There is a part of town known as Echo Park/Silver Lake and it is overrun with young white post-college, liberal; hipsters, pre-yuppies, and the sort. I happen to live here as well most likely blurring several of those lines depending on whom you ask. At one point it was an artists ‘get-away,’ be that from Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Downtown, etc. it really depends upon the time in which said artist settled him or herself here. White people know about this. Now they know about Downtown where rent has dipped and ‘artists’ are flocking.
In general it goes like this, in terms of the socially influenced migratory behaviors of young whites: artists move there because they are ‘struggling’ (read: living off their parents) to make ends meat while pursuing their dreams. A few years go by and these frail creatures have been harassed enough so that the police start to drive by a little more thus creating a wave of ‘newcomers’ these are the people who come along because; ‘I’ve been trying to move to this neighborhood for years.’ The direct translation of that quote actually reads; ‘I didn’t have the balls to move here because I’m a giant pussy but now I see cops drive around from time to time.”
The next two waves are the saddest. The third coming is when the neighborhood gets its first ‘theme bar’ which leads to new community members who wear flip flops with jeans, baseball caps, and still go out to “get fucked up and slam some bitches.” The girl version being the girl who sees a mannequin, buys exactly that outfit and is thusly considered the ‘trendsetter’ of her group. If you are looking for an example I invite you to visit Stinker’s in Silver Lake, who is leading the way for the final step for this once proud little community.
“Hi Shark, how are you? I’m a pretty neat neighborhood”
“Oh I’m fine neighborhood, do you need to get by?”
“If you don’t mind I’ll just hop over you.”
“No, that’s fine. Go for it.”
Ah, the jump the shark phase. Everyone feels safe, which is fine, except when people from Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, et al. stop asking; “how could you live there with all the gangs?” your neighborhood has officially jumped the shark. It happens slowly sometimes, but it seems to always eventually happen. Things will ebb and flow, jump and revert again eventually – long after we all die. Look at Los Feliz, instead of bros with white baseball caps it was swing dancers who eventually turned it into a strip mall of independent shops. Granted, I appreciate the independence of the shops themselves but I also feel like they’re weeks away from erecting “You Are Here” kiosks.
Silver Lake, thanks to Stinkers, you’re on the board.
So a great flock to Downtown has happened recently. It’s only in the 1.5/4 stage right now but I feel many neighborhoods that exist in a true stage #1 (see: art’s district) are easy corrupted and may soon go the way of Downtown City Walk (read: LA Live.)
Where to next? Where does one go if they seek a truly hip experience? If you are a genuine independent person who is seeking refuge in a place you can call your own where should you flock? Let’s look at what you really want. You don’t want a major chain anywhere within walking distance. You want your friends to say, after you tell them where you are moving; “what? Where is that?” You want people to come out to your place as a ‘destination visit’ but once they are there you want them to be amazed by the awesomeness of your apartment and even more floored by the rent that you don’t pay. Don’t worry, I know you’ll hem and haw first, pretending you don’t want to tell them, but you will and fuck if you won’t enjoy the looks on their faces.
“I don’t know if I could live out here yet, I’m so used to having things within walking distance,” is fucking pure bliss to hear pouring out of a scared white person’s face hole and you want it! You want it so fucking bad. You’ll revel in the fact that you can explain where to buy anything you need within a few blocks, the names of the people at the shops, even their schedules; “Raul, the owner is usually around, except for Thursday nights.” The only thing that will top that is when you tell them where NOT to walk – due to it not being safe. Oh, you’ll be warm inside.
I’m not writing this to simply give a list of questions and a commentary on how stupid you sound. No, I come bearing the answer.
Drive Sunset Blvd. through Echo Park, after the CVS and past the entrance to the 10 and the 101. Go past Spring Street BBQ and Olivera Street. Take a left on Main, pause at the light facing the post office and ponder if the 900 is the address or if that’s the central post office for all zip codes starting with 900, it’s a big building right? It may just be big enough to house all that mail. Scoot right just before Felipe’s and drive mother fucker drive. You’ll eventually hit Lincoln Park (see future entry: the three best parks in LA that white people have never been to) where you’ll take a left. Sooner or later say hello to your new home; El Sereno.
At this point I must admit that all kidding aside this is my favorite little slice of LA. The low, slow rolling green mountains are sparsely checkered with apartments and houses, none of which appear to be unaffordable. The streets are as quaint as Montrose but without the mall feeling that even tops Los Feliz. If you are anything like me you’ll easily find yourself wandering off onto side streets where people keep their properties nice and neat, smile as you drive by, and you may even receive a wave. It’s nothing like you’ve ever seen in East LA.
That is the other part. It’s ½ East LA and ½ San Gabriel Valley and it has flavors of both but mostly looks like what Echo Park (the reigning Queen of all LA neighborhoods) must’ve looked like before it became what it is today. You can see it everywhere, you can almost taste it. What is ‘it’? It’s potential. And for chrissakes this little haven is bursting with it.
Come on, take a ride with me sometime. I’ll show you one of the coolest places you’ve never seen unless you’ve taken a wrong turn. I drive it whenever I get the chance. And yeah, Huel Howser you can suck it because my LA and yours are very different but my love is still that of a new father’s.