Neighborhoods: Skid Row, Downtown L.A.

Am I dreaming?

I teach an on-line class for a UC extension, and in the first week (last week), I asked the students to post something about themselves in a discussion folder. A student named C.J. decided to post something about her neighborhood. I thought it was quirky and interesting– a different side to the usual images of LA. She describes being in the thick of “neighborhood activity”– can only surmise what that means– ha ha ha!

I live in a loft in a beautiful historic building restored to its original splendor but located literally within the boundaries of Skid Row downtown.

I love being downtown! I especially love being in a restored historic building, even though the neighborhood is a challenge. I’m right in the thick of the neighborhood activity, so I get home and take refuge in our library and wonderful rooftop area to write.

If I do write in the neighborhood, it’s at a little coffee shop called Banquette, which is in another restored bank building and has the charm of Europe or New York. Otherwise there are so many small parks downtown, especially on Bunker Hill. There’s a fantastic park open to the public right inside the Disney Hall complex and water court at the California Plaza which hosts outdoor concerts, films and events all summer. MOCA is nearby and most of the office complexes on Bunker Hill have fantastic outdoor art installations with seating areas nearby. Downtown also has quite a different vibrancy depending on day of week and time of day.

I’m fascinated by arcana about neighborhoods and locales. CJ went on to say that she occasionally escapes to Beverly Hills or the Sunset Strip “to sit outside at a coffee shop”… Here’s the American Heritage Dictionary definition for “Beverly Hills”:

  • “Beverly Hills” : A city of southern California surrounded by Los Angeles. It adjoins Hollywood and is famous as a fashionable residential area for show business personalities. Population: 35,000.
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