L.A. Rights

Obviously throughout bloglandia the debate of where is the real Eastside and Westside has raged and I believe that Militant Angeleno’s proposal is the best so far, so that ends that debate as far as I’m concerned.

The other day my home boy told me a story that made me scratch my head, laugh and wonder: ‘Is this a new front on the culture wars?’

He told me about how he ‘checked’ two of his homies for claiming L.A. when both of them are from the Valley.

My homie said, “You need to be born and raised in the city limits of L.A. to claim L.A. while traveling in Southern California. When you travel outside, you can claim L.A. because most people aren’t gonna know what a Reseda or North Hollywood is. There is a persona and image of what LA is, Palmdale, Inglewood nor Beverly Hills are L.A. We work hard to make that image and don’t want peeps claiming what itsn’t theirs” 

WOW, I know I got some L.A. pride but I never heard it like this!

Made me wonder about it. Yes my friends from the Valley or Inland Empire or even San Gabriel have no clue about the heart of L.A. with its gleaming buildings and skid row funk right next to each other. They have a strip mall view and we got something else. For them parking is a given when running an errand. 

I have friends who moved here and have lived here for 15 plus years, but they have never traveled more than 5 miles from where they live. They have lived in L.A., but don’t knowL.A.

I think you have to know the ‘center’ of L.A. and all outline areas to really get the flavor of what most people in general consider L.A. no matter how long you lived here if you don’t go all over the area you won’t understand what L.A. really is.

You need to know: Downtown (The Alley, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Olvera St., Financial District, Metro), the USC area, South L.A.’s history and changes, Pico Union, McArthur Park, Hancock Park, what is on Fairfax and Melrose, Inglewood (gotta know how to get to LAX without the freeway), the Westside, the beaches (Redondo to Pt. Dune), the Valley (all of it), all the Hollywoods (N, E, W, and their differences), Pasadena (old and South and plain), San Gabriel Valley (it’s big), Pico Rivera, Whittier, Montebello, a lil bit of the north OC like La Habra and Seal Beach, South Gate, Huntington Park, Bell, and of course the nooks and crannies of our beloved Eastside. You need to know El Mercadito, El Oyo, the views from Flat Tops, Elysian Pk., and Mt. Washington, (a few good taco trucks, panaderias, a spot for menudo, birria, and great chilaquiles).

All of these areas have there own flavor and funk. There are some overlapping similarities but there are small attitudinal differences that if you lived in LA long enough and got around to these areas, you would know.

So what do you think? Are we over thinking this?

I guess this is native born conversation. We know we aren’t the plastic people from some far away state that came here to be a star and thus play into the plastic life image that the whole of LA is saddled with.






15 thoughts on “L.A. Rights

  1. Reseda and the SFV are in LA city limits. The city goes all the way up to Sylmar and Granada Hills. Down to San Pedro. Over to Venice, up by Pacific Palisaides, and east to Boyle Heights. LA is full of freeways, but, there’s no Los Angeles freeway. When you get to where the freeways lead, you’ve left Los Angeles: San Bernardino, Ventura, Pomona, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Riverside, Palmdale, Santa Ana, and the Hollywood — the freeway named after a neighborhood that’s the artificial Los Angeles. LA extends as far as the car will drive, until your designated destination is reached.

  2. Cyberspace,

    I’m the homeboy that Pachuco3000 refers to in this blog and I have to admit that because I was born and raised here, I feel a certain sense of ownership and responsibility over the city. It is mine.

    Therefore, unless you were born in LA, raised in some neighborhood in LA, or have Los Angeles as your home address, you have no right to claim my city.

    When folks are outside the state they can say they are from near LA, but I would find it hard to locate an Angeleno that is willing to identify the Valleys, the South Harbor, the OC, the Desert, the Coast, or the pinche Westside as LA.

    It’s not cool for a non-Angeleno or a transplant to claim the identity of the city that many of us fight to protect…

    Down with Disneyland, Hollyweird, and Universal Studies!

    = )


  3. I think the thing is for LA for anyone over 30 is that LA used to mean ethnic. From the 1970s-2000 LA meant ethnic. LA was code for urban. It was code for Latino. It was code for people of African descent. It was code for “the bad neighborhood.” It was code for the ghetto. It was a place your friends from the valley didn’t want to go to, it was a place your friends from the westside wouldn’t claim and would hide behind unLA names like Westchester and Mar Vista. Now it’s cool to live in LA and now the people who fled and went to the Valley, the Westside, Santa Monica, the suburbs, want to lay claim to something they didn’t live and I think that’s what your friend was trying to say.

    I remember when people used to tell me they weren’t allowed to hang out where I lived when I was kid.


  4. I don’t see how the “pinche Westside” is not LA. It’s a different neighborhood, but it is still part of the city of Los Angeles. My address says LA, so I’ll say I live in LA. In LA, I won’t say I’m from LA (however, now that I’ve lived here ~10 years, I’m beginning to feel that sense of ownership). I’m very specific about this. I say I grew up in the SGV because I recognized a long time ago how much that has shaped my life as opposed to the kids I knew who grew up in East Los or another part of LA.

  5. I think the Westside is LA, but up until recently they’d fight you tooth and nail if you said they were LA. The Westside to me is LA and was always LA, but up until recently they were very into not being LA, that’s why they have all of those unLA names. Yes on the Eastside neighborhoods have names, but on the Westside their names were made up speficially to say, “i don’t live where the minorities live” I’ve always gotten a strong feeling about that from the Westside I could be totally off base, but that’s what I think.

    Tell a Westsider they are in LA and they’ll look you and sneer and go, “I’m not in LA, I’m Mar Vista, Hollywood, Westchester, Westwood…” or whatever other name they came up with to not be confused with the dirty unwashed masses.


  6. At times I wish the 105 hadn’t been built to force everyone to get to LAX via Imperial or Century and hopefully, hopefully have improved that neighborhood.

  7. Exactly. I always tell people the 105 was built so people could get to the airport and never see a black person up close. It’s kind of joke, kind of not…


  8. I like this post as I have found it true that many people “haven’t traveled 5 minutes from where they live” this is kind of sad. As there is a lot to experience beyond your own little neighborhood.

    I know this blog is called “LA Eastside” ..but saying only the “eastside” is L.A as some have mentioned is really ridiculous and laughable.

    I have noticed a lot of people refer to Downtown L.A as “L.A” but I have always thought the whole metro area as L.A .

  9. My parents and grandparents are from Los Angeles (Echo Park and Boyle Heights) so I grew up with some serious Los Angeles pride. Even funnier, my parents hated New Yorkers. Every time they saw someone drive badly, not obey traffic rules or any other annoying thing, they would assume the person was from New York and would often yell: “Go back to New York!”
    Once we were near Rosarito (where they have that lobster place on the cove) and this lounge singer started singing “New York, New York,” my mom got angry and made him stop singing.

  10. “saying only the “eastside” is L.A as some have mentioned is really ridiculous and laughable.” jo

    So who said this? I don’t see where anyone said this.


  11. Chimatli’s last comment inspires me to now call out for PEACE
    among ALL us L.A. regional brothers & sisters! And
    unite against the one true enemy; NEW YORKERS!

  12. Militant Angeleno, checking in…

    The Militant is cool with anyone born and raised in the metropolitan So Cal area as a “native.” He certainly holds them in higher regard than the average F.O.B. (Fresh off The Bus) transplant. Certainly there are higher degrees of that — Someone from Canyon Country or Riverside or Tustin is a native, but certainly does not have the same perspective as someone from Echo Park or Crenshaw or Boyle Heights.

    The Militant also considers immigrants who came here as small children to be technical natives as well; if they were young enough to come here for early elementary school, despite which country they were born in, their social perspective was certainly shaped by going to school here.

    The Westside and Valley are definitely parts of Los Angeles; but none of them can claim to be solely Los Angeles.

    Great jorb LAEastside; the Militant will follow your career with great interest.


  13. alienation:

    “and the Hollywood — the freeway named after a neighborhood that’s the artificial Los Angeles.”

    The Militant, who may or may not have grown up in or around the actual Hollywood area takes offense to that. Hollywood as a community is a very real place with very real people – mostly immigrants from Central America, Asia, Armenia and Eastern Europe. There was a massive Thai New Year Festival this past weekend which was a mindblowingly awesome community event. The only other time they shut down Hollywood Blvd like that is for a fuggin awards show.

    You must learn to make a distinction between Hollywood The Community, which is the actual neighborhoods in the Hollywood area and Hollywood the Industry, which for all intents and purposes was largely defined by the the marketing wonks on Madison Avenue, NYC as a large function of their cultural hegemony.

  14. “L.A” spreads across in Ventura County…and San Diego. We should just gobble San Francisco as well, so they can hate the area more.
    With this being the premier (and first) polycentric city…the L.A. essentialism is kinda silly.

    “Someone from Canyon Country or Riverside or Tustin is a native, but certainly does not have the same perspective as someone from Echo Park or Crenshaw or Boyle Heights.”

    You’re probably right, but neither would those latter communities mentioned.

    –life long resident of northeast san fernando valley…home to 30+ Landfills (just in case we’re competing for the most working class neighborhoods as a means to gauge realness)

  15. I grew up in the SGV and go to school at USC.

    Freshman year, I tried explaining to people from out-of-state that I was from Azusa, CA. Eventually I gave up and began saying, “Near Pasadena.” or “A suburb of LA.”

    Now that my family moved to West Covina, I can say “Just off the 10.”

    It does make a difference, in some ways. But we are all Southern Californians, which just makes us way more awesome than… well, everyone else, in my opinion.

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