Urban Myth

Ξ April 26th, 2010 | → 1 Comments | ∇ 90041, 90042, Beyond Northeast, Highland Park, Press |

In honor of Ira Glass’ recent excoriation of Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, we’ve decided to address a couple of recent descriptions of our neighborhood that don’t sit well with us.  If you haven’t heard This American Life’s episode “True Urban Legend”, Poizner has some difficulty defending his depiction of his semester at San Jose’s Mt. Pleasant High School, which he generally portrayed as the opening scene from the Gangsta’s Paradise music video.  Likewise, we’d like to call to task two depictions of our neighborhoods that seem to stand more on urban myth than reality.

First, our local Northeast paper wrote what appeared to be a well-intentioned bucolic description of a neighborhood walk.  Just like the old Highlights Magazine covers, see if you can spot something incongruous:

Now I am in full view of the Eagle Rock.  She looks down over treetops.  I wonder will the trees soon block her from view?  I stop and look here, then there, all along the way to the post office and see everything, and everything is in bloom, everything is shining.  Even the homeless people near McDonald’s look shiny and new.  Legs aching, I wait for the Dash bus to bring me back home.  That was a good walk.

Now onto something that I can more effectively apply logic to, the travel website Wikitravel.org needs a geography lesson from the bloggers over at LAEastside.  Not only do they commit the cardinal sin in their entry on Los Angeles in defining the Eastside as “north of downtown and east of Hollywood”, but for some unknown reason, they locate Highland Park and Eagle Rock in East L.A.  Now, mistakenly placing Hollywood and Highland as the center of Los Angeles  has been debated ad-nauseum on the internet, and to be fair, at least Wikitravel didn’t place us “east of East L.A.”.  What bothers me is the warning to travellers that East L.A., which includes Eagle Rock and Highland Park, is “dangerous regardless of time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking if possible“.  I don’t for a moment delude myself into thinking that brochures for Northeast Los Angeles will begin disappearing from the shelves of travel agents in Buffalo, but one of the reasons we founded this website was to accurately craft an image of our neighborhood for friends who joked about bringing their passports to drive east of the 5.

Therefore, I’d like to see a concerted effort on all of our parts to correct the Wikitravel article.  Correctly defining Los Angeles’ Eastside isn’t my prerogative, but the article should at least properly define East L.A. and avoid characterizing it as somewhere to avoid at all costs.  I hope to see you on their discussion page.

 

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