I visited LA last year in early October and did not for the life of me understand how its laid out. Friends came this past October and said the same exact thing. In fact, until we got here in September, we had no idea how LA is really laid out.
So even though I’d been here I didn’t know at all what I was looking at. My family and friends who have never been here really therefore have no idea where I am. So for that reason, I’m going to map it out as best I can, bear with me. For those of you who have been here or are really familiar, please forgive me if I get something wrong, I’m still getting my sea legs.
So Los Angeles is a county AND a city. I live in LA the city and LA the county. LA is like “New York City” where it has a bunch of different neighborhoods. Think less “boroughs” and more Manhattan-y neighborhoods like “Soho”, “Times Square” and “Greenwich Village”. There ARE some neighborhoods that are it’s own little city with it’s own municipality however. I think West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are two examples of that.
Anyway, I live in Silver Lake, which is a neighborhood in LA city. If you clicked on the map, you’ll see that I am on the North East side of LA. Silver Lake is not a ritzy area of LA nor is it a bad area. It is similar to Kearny in that it is filled with families mostly. There are also an abundance of “hipsters” here but for the most part there are a lot of middle class families and children around here. Most of the houses here are small, one level bugalow-style jobbies. That is also what we live in. There is no basement and no second floor.
We live in a “sub-neighborhood” of Silver Lake called Sunset Junction. We live a block down from the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard. These streets usually run parallel through LA to the Pacific Ocean but join at Sunset Junction at Sanborn Ave (where El Pollo Loco is!).
Anyway, think of LA as Kearny and the surrounding areas. You have Newark, Harrison, Kearny, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Rutherford, etc…kinda going up in “niceness” with each town you get closer to New York. Well its the same here except it’s with the Ocean. As you get closer to the ocean, the flashier/more money is in each neighborhood. As we are on the East side, we’re not Newark (no offense to Newark-ites) but maybe Harrison/Kearny (on the Quick Check side of Midland). So basically we moved 3,000 miles plus to Kearny part deux plus palm trees.
So Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard are like two steroided out Kearny Avenues. (There are WAY more Kearny Aves than that in LA but these are two of the main through streets.)
LA is definitely a city but it’s really really flat. Like it’s very hilly in parts but there are no tall buildings. If a building is tall, it’s usualy at most two stories. In downtown, there are high-rises but personally I don’t know if I’d call them skyscrapers. Well maybe, just not like how tall NY skyscrapers are. Let’s just say the’re tall but you will not need a chiropacter after viewing one.
One thing that is AMAZING that no one really thinks to tell you is that LA is surrounded by MOUNTAINS! Everywhere you look are mountains. It’s really pretty. And until my friends came recently, I didn’t realize that I could see the Hollywood sign from my block! We live right near Griffith Park where the Hollywood sign lives.
Now onto how long it takes to get places…From my door to the heart of Hollywood it takes about ten or less minutes. Fifteen minutes to West Hollywood. A half hour to Beverly Hills. Fourty five to the ocean. These are all me rounding. A lot of it depends on traffic, when you are trying to get somewhere and on what roadway. Since we live right off Sunset, we typically take it everywhere. This is okay if it is in the middle of the night but if you want to take Sunset on a Saturday night like I did last night to pick Kristyn up from work, it will take you thousands of hours of sitting in club-goer and tourist traffic. But it’s impressive!!! Lots of lights, music, people dressed to the nines walking around…It made me excited to be here all over again.
Now I have lived outside of NY my whole life and anyone who has knows that if you are going to NYC on a Sunday morning at 7am, it will take you 15 minutes to get there because there is no one on the road. BUT if you try to take the Holland or Lincoln Tunnel on a Saturday night, you might as well just turn around and drive the three hours back home because you are NOT getting close to that tunnel without at least one nervous breakdown. It is not that bad here. Everyone talks about LA’s “traffic problem and smog”. I think that LA DOES have a lot of traffic but if you’ve ever spent a frustrating two hours sitting in stand-still traffic on 3, 46, 17, the Parkway or the Turnpike, you smell what I’m stepping in and you are perfectly prepared for LA. It’s annoying, it messes up your plans and is sometimes unpredictable…which is why (try) to leave more than enough time for that crap to happen. It’s the same planning here but way better because everyone’s…get ready for this…NICE! We have not been flipped off or called assholes or anything since we’ve been here. People tend to letcha go…Unlike last year on EASTER when me and Kristyn were headed to my Grandmother’s house for dinner and a family in an SUV tried to run us off the road. A man, his wife and his children got furious with us for merging into his lane coming out of a rest stop on the Parkway. He was far away when we got in the lane but he like sped up and tried to use his SUV to try to get us off the road, the whole time screaming at us to pull over because he is a cop. Um yeah right buddy. A cop would really try to run two girls off the Parkway on Easter for merging into a lane screaming and cursing at us to pull over. And if a cop WERE to do something like that, we are well within our rights to keep going until we get to a gas station or other public lot. So we kept going and he exited the Parkway like a hot minute later, haha.
But yeah, that doesn’t happen here. But what DOES happen is that people drive like they are on a bumper car course. Today, for instance, I saw a car pop a U-ey IN FRONT OF LIKE THREE COP CARS in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. I saw a girl do a K-turn in her lane in the middle of a very busy road in the middle of the day. People put on their left blinker, make a left and then continue to follow said left into the other lane in front of ONCOMING TRAFFIC. It’s amazing. That crap would NEVER fly in NJ, haha. It just wouldn’t. And if someone pulled a stunt like that, they’d be told what-for by at least three surrounding motorists who’ve been keeping a keen eye out for someone misbehaving to unleash the fury of hell on. There’s be ultra-long honks, someone would get called an idiot (at best), someone’s pudgy middle digit would make a splashy appearance and someone else would make their tires screech to emphasize the drama of the moment. In LA, nah. Even the cops are like, “It’s hot here, I’m sleepy.”
What else, what else…I don’t know. I think that’s it for now. So family and friends, this is where I am. Mom and Dad if you’re reading this, you can find me by taking 80 West to 15 South to 10 West to 101 North. Get off the Rampart Ave Exit, make a left onto Sunset and a right at El Pollo Loco. It’s 3000 miles or so but you can do it in a day with the help of some coffee and methamphetamines (at least that’s what it says on google maps).
Okay, talk to ya later. See you soon!