MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT LA
I've been here 6 years. for the longest time, I said smugly and condescendingly, I love you LA but I'm not in love with you. recently I've had to accept that I might be finally falling in love.
- •those palm tree sunsetsnothing like the moment when the sun drops and silhouettes all those palms against that orange/pink/royal blue sky. the temp drops and the pace slows, and even if you're stuck in traffic you can feel the tension melting away, and the breeze comes in the window and you turn up the radio.
- •Broadwaythis strange sad beautiful street. it's filled with decaying marquees of ornate movie palaces, many of which now sell discount electronics and clothing. but pre WWII it was the center of shopping and entertainment in the city. it also features such landmarks as the Bradbury building, Grand Central Market, Clifton's Cafeteria (recently reopened) and the gorgeous Art Deco Eastern Building. Things are changing on this street, and it's exciting to see it being resurrected.
- •the architectureMore than any specific building, what I love is the mishmash of styles and colors. From Mission Revival to Art Deco to Arts and Crafts to Victorian to Modernist, it's all here, living in chaotic harmony. No two houses are alike on my street, and within a few miles there's the Art Deco Wiltern, the contemporary Disney Hall, and the Victorian neighborhood of Angelino Heights.
- •it's so ugly and so beautifulLA is hundreds of miles of urban sprawl, palm trees, parks, graffiti, the valley, the canyons, dirty streets that haven't seen rain in months, vintage signs, vintage cars, tropical flowers, blue skies and intense sunshine. It's sensory overload but in a totally different way from New York. New York is crammed onto a tiny island. LA goes on forever. There's so much to explore and the unexpected juxtapositions are constantly fascinating and inspiring.
- •the nostalgia factorWhen my friend visited me for the first time, he said he felt instantly at home here because he grew up seeing these neighborhoods in all his favorite movies. It felt like home. I love that. Things built for movies in the past are peppered into the landscape next to familiar landmarks and you can't tell what's real and what's fake and it doesn't really matter because it's all part of the history of this strange town.
- •donut shopsfor a town filled with so many wholistic vegan gluten free health conscious options, we sure do like our donuts. they are everywhere! in other big cities, big chains like Dunkin Donuts might have a monopoly but here the mom and pop shops have held their own. They are almost always adorable and weirdly decorated and have great signage. Tis a worthy (if unhealthy) goal to visit them all.
- •thrift storesI can't believe how good the thrift stores are here. I'm a thrifter from way back. way back when I lived in the Midwest. the Midwest thrift stores have their own charm, but the ones here are just so sophisticated. great, stylish vintage stuff and clothes, and all very affordable. it's a buyers market. (ps the good ones are in the valley. see also future list: reasons I love the valley.)
- •bougainvilleait's so beautiful and lush and colorful and it's everywhere. I love spelling it and saying it and looking at it.
- •movie culturemovies and TV are the local industry here, and I love how respectful people are of that. Our movie theatres are churches, and we worship there in our reclining seats, with our beer and our fancy chocolate and we stay until the credits have rolled through.
- •art cultureman the museums are good. transcendent even. The Getty, LACMA, MoCA, the Geffen, The Broad, Norton Simon, PMCA, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, The Hammer, The Velveteria, The Museum of African American Art, Huntington Library, Watts Towers. so so good.
- •food cultureone million new places to get brunch, two million ways to prepare eggs, every kind of fusion cuisine you could want, smoothies, tacos, avocado everything, food trucks prowling the streets. it's the best.
- •culture cultureI love that area on the north side of downtown where Chinatown, Olvera Street and Little Tokyo meet. It's a perfect example of the rich cultural history we got going here.
- •the west sideit's probably clear from this list that I'm an eastsider, but the west side has a lot going for it too, not the least of which: the ocean. Venice and Santa Monica and Malibu all have their individual charms. When I go over there I feel like I'm on a very short vacation.