June 01, 2005

I Love L.A.

As the Beatles wrote many years ago:

"There are places I'll remember,
all my life though some have changed.
Some forever not for better"

I am a native Californian and for that matter I am the rare native Los Angeleno. Thirty-six years of life in Los Angeles. Thirty-six years in which I have been to virtually every corner, nook and cranny of this city. I have explored so many different areas of the city and L.A. County.

In my time I have made my share of derisive comments about other places. I have heaped abuse upon cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Blythe and Kalamazoo. I have laughed at the attempts of others to deride my home city, giggled as they attempted to portray the city as being a concrete jungle of plastic shallow people whose narcissim is unmatched by their ignorance.

And I am sure that many of them have taken my comments about their homes and ignored them. That is ok.

I love L.A.

I love the diversity of people. I love the rich tapestry of cultures and lives that are woven into the various communities. I love knowing that I can find amazing ethnic foods, fruit stands and art within moments of each other. When the mood strikes me I love driving out to the beach and listening to the waves crash.

I love being able to drive to the mountains and the desert in the same day. I love being able to visit the snow and leave it. I love the blue skies. I love the hazy days of summer, especially in my beloved Valley.

I love listening to the people on the Westside complain about the Valley heat and laughing at them as they fight for parking spaces.

I love living in a neighborhood with four Kosher bakeries, endless minyanim and three shuls within a short distance. I love knowing that I can do as much learning or as little as I want.

I love hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and staring at the sea. There are so many things that attract me.

This is a very rough post, but that is ok with me. Just for kicks here are some facts about LA that may or may not tickle your fancy.
"Founding and Incorporation

The first settlers of the City of Los Angeles consisted of 14 families numbering 44 individuals. The ceremonies founding the City took place on September 4, 1781. At this time, Colonel Felipe De Neve, who was then Governor of the Spanish Province of Alta California, officially applied the name "El Pueblo del la Reina de Los Angeles" or "The Town of the Queen of the Angels."

The City of Los Angeles was incorporated on April 4, 1850. At that time it had an population of 1610 (U.S. Census) and an area of 28 square miles. It did not have a graded street, a sidewalk, a water system, lights, nor a single public building of its own. Every citizen on Saturday morning swept or cleaned up the street in front of his own domicile. Street lighting was simple, for each owener whose house faced the street was obliged to put a light at the door in front of his house during the first two hours of every dark night.

Los Angeles Today

Today Los Angeles has a population of over three million people, an area of 465 square miles, 7,366 miles of streets, water and power brought from mountains hundreds of miles away, and thousands of publicly-owned structures of various types. The friendly lanters that once hung at the door have been replaced with electrolier lights and utilitarian lights. Adobe houses have been replaced with modern buildings and residences; volunteer police and fire departments have been succeeded by highly trained, properly equipped and well organized municipal forces, and mud flats have been dredged to become one of the world's busiest harbors at Wilmington and San Pedro.
during the first two hours of every dark night.

According to Professor Vyacheslav Ivanov of UCLA, there are at least 224 identified languages in Los Angeles County. This does not include differing dialects. Professor Ivanov estimates that publications are locally produced in about 180 of these languages. Only 92 languages have been specifically identified among students of the Los Angeles Unified School District"


Alice said...

Me too! I have a blast when we visit my brother out there. Food from around the world. Great weather. The Getty Museum. And I find the people laid back for the most part. The beach.

In terms of diversity, growing up in the DC area I can relate. It's also very diverse and makes for a nice climate where no one group dominates, unlike in NE or NC. When we go to our favorite gigantic Swedish home goods store in the area on our way to NE you will easily hear three languages within the first five minutes of being in the store. Last time I was there I even ran into some Israelis.

vince said...

I've never been to LA, because I've had a sneaking suspicion that I probably wouldn't like it. I am, despite not having been born here, a New Yorker through and through. But I am curious.

Just wondering if you've read Joan Didion's new book about California?

I haven't, but it looks interesting.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi Alice,

Glad to hear it.


LA is a place that fools a lot of people. You have to dig a little beneath the surface to really appreciate it.

PsychoToddler said...

The Beatles also have a song that starts off, "There's a fog upon LA", but when I was a kid, I thought they were singing, "There's a frog upon her leg."

Also, I thought the from the doors, "LA woman Sunday afternoon" was actually "any woman's gonna have to do."

Jack's Shack said...

Ask the Shmata Queen about the frog on her leg.

Stacey said...

Funny you should mention it, the damn thing hopped over my foot tonight when I was walking the dog. Scared the shit out of me. I hate frogs.