Invisible Heights

It’s pretty common for me to have to explain the placement of Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles.  Most are oblivious to its very existence.  After the jump is a sample conversation:

“So, where do you live?”

“In Lincoln Heights. It’s pretty much my hometown.”

“Wait, where’s Lincoln Heights?”

“Well it’s in NorthEast LA.”


“Well you know where Downtown is?”


“Do you know where Chinatown is?”


“Do you know where Highland Park is?”


“Well Lincoln Heights is right next to ALL those places.”

I’ve once even received the response to Lincoln Height’s location as “being way out in the boonies.” I mean, WTF, Lincoln Heights aren’t in any boonies. It is just east of Downtown.  LH even has its own TV show that has very little to do with the actual LH.  Do any other LH residents get these responses too?

7 thoughts on “Invisible Heights

  1. Haha! Yup, all the time! I’ve had that exact same conversation. Sometimes I’ll tell certain people I live in East LA (even though LH really isn’t East LA) just to see the reaction on their face.

  2. I’ve had that sort of conversation many times. I usually pull out the “just North of Chinatown” line which tends to help, but for some it’s the “right off the Pasadena Fwy, just passing Dodger Stadium” that does the trick. Considering how many freeways cross thru here it’s surprising how “hidden” (or ignored) Lincoln Heights still is, fine by me!

  3. Do these responses come from people who are not from LA? I find that people from LA know the names of neighborhoods and surrounding cities/unincorporated towns (reminds me of the South Gate post a while ago).

  4. I just say “East LA” to get it over with, even though in my heart I know this area is NOT East L.A. People usually don’t care enough to understand where you live anyway, and East L.A. is just close enough.

    Heck, most of the people who don’t know where Lincoln Heights is would think it was East L.A. if they were to drive through it.

    Think of it like this – where is Gardena?

    I didn’t have a clue until I had to ride down to pick up some stuff at a huge warehouse a few weeks ago. I didn’t even know that Liemert Park existed until I read about it in some planning story online a few years ago.

  5. I dunno – I didn’t really know where Cypress Park and Glassell Park were until pretty recently. I knew LH because of Broadway, and only because of driving around LA a lot. But even then, it all was just “LA” to me. Anything west of Monterey Park was “LA”, like East LA was “LA”, as in “so and so lives in LA”, meaning they lived near Atlantic or something. It also represented more urbanity – like once you got toward Boyle Heights, around Lorena, it was obviously more of a city there, with the older houses closer together, more apartments, and going to DTLA and to Macarthur Park, you knew it was a city.

    Gardena, I knew though, for ethnic reasons. Same for Torrance. Same for Crenshaw. The same for Boyle Heights too.

    One kind of unusual thing is that I used to think of Lincoln Heights and El Sereno as the places where Chinese and Vietnamese people moved before they got to Monterey Park.

  6. Being from LH (family there since the 20’s) and witnessing many changes, the most destructive being the forced urban renewal aka destroying working class neighborhoods by massive freeway construction right thru the heart of old solid neighborhoods.
    And the insidious real estate scam of changing signs in certain zip codes to pretty up and increase gentrification, as areas of LH now called “The Brewery” or “Montecito Hts” ect, or in Highland Park where now areas are called “Hermon”, “Garvanza”, or even “Mt Washington” (huh? Ave 50 and Monte vista?), or in Frogtown (Elysian Valleys OK) and parts of Echo Park that are now sold as “Silver Lake”, pura mentiras!
    When asked where Lincoln Hts is I’ve always (still do!) reply “It’s east of the LA River, west of Monterey Rd/Soto St., south of N. Figueroa St and north of the General Hospital.

    I guess I’m just a traditionalist

  7. I get this ALL the time. I live in El Sereno and the only way people ‘get it’ is if I say: ‘North of East LA and East of Downtown’ Ay Ay AY

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