Last night I made one of my rare pilgrimages west of the 405 for nightlife thanks to a friend’s birthday. I quickly remembered why I don’t go out in the beaches often. Sweet Child O’ Mine, Livin’ on a Prayer, and Don’t Stop Believingare all fine songs but listening to a bunch of drunks screaming the lyrics with their forefinger and pinky raised unironically in the “Rock On” salute makes me want to puke. Then, you’re crushed against a sea of guys with spiked hair, black collared shirts with the vertical stripes, and a lexicon that seems to be mostly “dude”, “dawg”, and “bro” who are all trying to prove they’re having the most fun by screaming the loudest, smiling as broadly as possible, and singing all the lyrics to California Lovin’. I suppose I could just be jaded, and these people arereally having a good time, but it reeks of performativity. Did I also mention that I payed a $5 cover for the opportunity to experience all this? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: SIT ON IT WESTSIDE.
The point of this article though is the conflicting juxtaposition of Highland Park public relations lately. Friday and Saturday boasted page one, above the fold stories in the LA Times making Highland Park out to be a breeding ground for murderers. However, what I failed to mention in my previous post relating my experience with the LAPD was that while I was waiting for the officer to write my ticket, I leafed through the new issue of Los Angeles Magazine and found that their Street Smart section dedicated two pages to our neighborhood. There I was, a small fish caught in a police dragnet, reading how Highland Park is “officially on the up and up”. Unfortunately, when asked “you live where?” for the third time with It Aint No Fun blaring in my eardrums at the beach bar, no one had seen the LA Magazine piece. Everyone, knew where it was when I referenced the Times story though.
If you happen to read this site and are from out of the area. Treat yourself to the March issue of Los Angeles Magazine, and use it to schedule a day in Northeast. Here’s your itenerary: Grab coffee and a cachito at Antigua Bakery before taking in the views and natural beauty of Debs Park. For lunch, swing into El Huarache Azteca for the adobada and some of the aguas frescas. Spend the afternoon taking in some Los Angeles history at the Lummis House or see if there’s an art gallery exhibition that piques your interest at www.nelaart.com Have dinner at the York and enjoy their beer selection before tipping back a few more at the Verdugo (if you like anything, their license allows them to give it to you ‘to go’). Then, before letting your designated driver hit the road, sober up enjoying either Leo’s Taco Truck on Eagle Rock Blvd. or Tacos La Estrella (four spots in the area). All this and you’ll be out less than $50. Then, you can enjoy empty freeways back to the westside and tell all your friends over brunch the next day how you survived your night east of the 5. Enjoy!
When he made a three point turn to follow me up towards Fig, I knew I was in trouble. I just hoped he wasn’t going to nail me for a bogus rolling stop. A few seconds later, he hit the lights, and drowned out my car in a spotlight that ate through my paintjob.
“Sir, do you know why I stopped you?”
I can’t deal with the LAPD without smiling just a bit, thinking about the Colbert line: “I don’t see race. I know I’m white because police officers call me sir”.
I suppressed a smile and thought, “Ahhhh, because some of the locals boys shot at the police yesterday in Cypress Park and now you’re looking for a pretext to search my car for drugs and guns?” But I figure the cops have it tough enough without taking lip from me so what I really said was: “No”
For those of you that missed the local news, front page of the Times, and the snarled traffic, the Avenues shot it out with the LAPD in Glassell Park after a driveby in Cypress Park on Thursday. After shutting down about a dozen square blocks, calling in the SWAT team, and loosing the K9 units, the final score: 1 Murdered bystander (the target of the original driveby), 1 dead gang member (shot by the police), and one wounded gang member. The Times wrote a riveting account of the gunfight with a follow-up in today’s front page. (Read the respective articles here and here).
I thought their map was pretty poor, (They place Oxy on the wrong side of Eagle Rock Blvd. for example) so I redid it through Google.
View Larger Map
As usual, I can’t help but chirp up when our neighborhood makes the news, either good or bad. What this event had me pondering was that Northeast Los Angeles seems to be an increasingly balkanized region of the city. Do any of us see this happening in Eagle Rock? The border of Silverlake and Echo Park used to erupt in violence but today, the most dangerous confrontation is likely to be between hipsters and writers over space in the Pinkberry parking lot. I even have a hard time imagining the “sketchy because there’s no Starbucks” Highland Park erupting in this kind of large scale gang violence. I’d like to think I’m not naïve. I see the guys hanging out on the corner, I hear the gunshots and sirens, and I see the tags. Still, does anyone else feel Cypress Park is a world away from the bordering neighborhoods of Glassell Park and Eagle Rock? On the other side of Forrest Lawn, Drew St. seems like it’s on the other side of the San Gabriels.
Still in my car, waiting for Officer Doce to write me a fixit ticket for my headlights, I can think of at least one positive for the neighborhood. Chief Bratton, who is in love with statistics, desperately wants to keep his COMPSTAT rates low, and Villaraigosa wants to have a legacy of lowering crime when he seeks reelection and eventually higher office. Priority number one is going to be to flood Northeast with uniforms for the foreseeable future. Just be extra cautious when driving because LAPD is looking for any reason to roust you.
UPDATE: Saw this today while on a walk. It’s a little hard to read because of the water, but with my basic understanding of tag the point seems to be paying respect to their fallen comrade with a not so subtle threat to the police. If anyone konws more than me, feel free to post it below.
Ξ February 21st, 2008 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |
Amidst giving our site a new look, we at YORK BLVD. also decided to throw a bone out to all you iPhone lovers with our very own iPhone site icon. Lord knows I can’t spill a drink on someone over at The York these days without soaking their iPhone too, so hopefully this will come in handy for a few of you.
To add our site to your Home Screen, just hit the “+” button on the bottom of the screen and you’ll find yourself with a nifty new icon on your screen.