Welcome to El Sereno

Even more unknown to Westsiders than my hometown of Lincoln Heights, is my current neighborhood of El Sereno. I’m sure many have driven through it at 40+mph since it’s cut in half by the grand highway of Huntington Drive. Waiting for the 78 in the morning I can attest to how much traffic this neighborhood gets.

Yesterday after having picked up my bicycle from Gabe’s Bicycles for a much needed tune-up I saw this new monument to El Sereno, complete with green rolling hills. On its left it denotes the fact that El Sereno sits right on what was Historic Route 66; on its left it also shows that it also is on what was El Camino Real.

18 thoughts on “Welcome to El Sereno

  1. Is that astro turf? Aren’t the hills of El Sereno usually dry? I haven’t seen any green hills there. The sign would look better without those ugly hills.

  2. I heard it hadn’t had a sign before this (?) I’m undecided on the hills lol *SIGH* So many memories in El Sereno…. As a Boyle Heights native, I spent all my time in BH until highschool where I went to Wilson…El Sereno were my stomping grounds for 4 years… I also did independent study at barrio action/city of angels high. It’s a great neighborhood 🙂

  3. I grew up in City Terrace but went to Jr. HS in El Sereno. I wouldn’t call it a “nice” neighborhood. Maybe just the Hillside Village area by Wilson HS. I remember a lot of bad shit happening there. A 14 y.o. ROTC kid got blasted by accident, a hit and run on Eastern by the Korean church killed a 5 y.o., the rape/murder at the old folks home on Eastern, girl getting killed a few years ago at the Wells Fargo on Huntington, I saw a fixed up 58 Impala all shot up on Eastern a while back. I guess somebody died because they had the Eastern closed off from the north end of the Jr. HS to Huntington Dr. Now I drive down Eastern when I go to King Torta and get mad dogged by all the stupid little cholitos on Eastern.

  4. I got to see a sneak peek of the rolling green hills a few weeks ago, then it was quickly tarpaulin covered for a drumroll entrance. . . and then–there it was!

    I am proud every time I drive into CT from the Far East down Huntington. I get to see signs that read Thanks for Visiting Arcadia, San Marino, Alhambra, and, now: Welcome to El Sereno!

    I love El Lay!

  5. Hmmm, I think from a design point-of-view the marker is lacking. And the green hilly things look awkward…The City of Los Angeles could use some better designers. Have you seen the signs for City facilities and parks, way to go 1970s!
    I like Hermon’s neighborhood marker:

    El Sereno is such an interesting community. For a long time, it was the kinda uppity neighborhood of the Eastside. Also it was known as the neighborhood where all the mods lived in the 80’s/90’s. And then, I don’t know what happened. But one of my friends insists it’s the new hipster relocation spot.

  6. El Sereno – interesting place. In the 60’s and 70’s, most of my tios and tias considered it a place you drove through on your way from Lincoln Heights to South Pasadena. I’m intrigued by the hipster angle that was mentioned about the 80’s and 90’s. For 4 years (1991-1995) I was the principal of El Sereno Middle School, on Eastern. I loved the kids, and the vecindad, but I hated the violence that erupted on the weekend. Too many times a brother, cousin, or uncle was shot or killed, and the pain infected the entire school like a virus. The tears and anguish of children have no remedy. I could never explain why aunt, uncles, or cousins were shot or stabbed. Thank God I had counselors who could just listen and accept. On the surface, El Sereno is a lovely locale that contradicts it’s violent underbelly.

  7. I like living in El Sereno. Like every community, there are good and bad parts. I’ve seen many positive changes in the past couple of years but we clearly need more investment.

    I drove by the new El Sereno sign 2 days ago and at first glance it looked like it was covered in cheap astro turf. However, I think it is actually covered in green shiny rocks glued to the surface. I must say, I don’t really care for it as it looks right now but perhaps that ugly bright green will tone down a little bit in time.

  8. My family was the second Mexican family to move onto our street in Hillside Village during the early 60’s where mostly Italian and Russian Americans lived. As the youngest of 6 kids, I witnessed three generations of youth growing up in that neighborhood and Sereno in general. Sereno had the reputation as a party town, it was the place that a lot of people came to buy their drugs from neighboring towns(Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, Alhambra, South Pasadena…David Lee Roth’s dealer was the one white guy from the hood, who’s body was found dead from an overdose near the dumpster at the gas station on Eastern and Huntington Dr. during the late 90’s. When looking at family photos and my own high school pictures. I’d say from 50-70% of the people I and my older siblings grew up with became addicted to heroin, pcp and later crack, were violently murdered, did time, or committed suicide. The rest fled moving East-covina, inland empire, very few of us stuck around and turned that life experience into something else. I am so happy to see something else happening in Sereno today with the likes of La RED, Eastside Cafe, Antigua, xocolatl, etc. Sereno was a void in many ways, below that veneer of “niceness”.

  9. I saw that sign recently while cutting west down Huntington Boulevard, Boyle Heights-bound. My immediate thought was: “What are those hills made out of?” It’s pretty eye catching.

    Though I was born and grew up in Boyle Heights, I did spend two hours at El Sereno middle school. It was my mom’s attempt to spare me from going to Hell-and-back junior high. Excuse me, I meant Hollenbeck.

  10. The green hills are made of recycled glass…there was a local design committee made up of local residents that designed the sign….

  11. I have lived in El Sereno and I like living here. Yes there is a rough side to it, but what part of Los Angeles doesn’t. I lived in Pico Union and Alvarado and 8th street growing up and I know real rough neighborhood and El Sereno isn’t. I commute to Culver city for work and I’ve contemplated moving closer to work, but feel at home here. I like what is happening to the neighborhood with the businesses and hope that there are more coming. I saw the sign and I’m on the fence on the design, but glad we have a sign.

  12. As a resident of 40+ years except for my overseas duty time. I can say that El Sereno has been at times interesting. The violence has definitely declined from the 1970’s. It seems the current bozo’s are young people with too much idle time. I’ve seen many changes here, some good some eh. I would really like to see the adults here to take some pride in ownership of their properties. I say this because of course a rise in property values can occur, but more importantly it would make our little neighborhood look nice. It would be nice if our city leaders would do something real instead of just doing something that will assist them to get re-elected. To all my fellow El Sereno property owners: what would you like to see done in our town. It does not have to be done by city officials. just think what will make our town a nicer place to live in?

    Oh about the new sign umm I like it.

  13. elponk
    August 22nd, 2010 | 12:38 am

    I have lived in El Sereno and I like living here. Yes there is a rough side to it, but what part of Los Angeles doesn’t.


    Exactly. And, what part of the country isn’t, for that matter? The problems facing impoverished communities are universal. “Every hood’s the same” – Ice Cube

  14. Several days ago I drove by the rolling hills monument and new sign welcoming to Elsereno, and with words “Historic El Camino Real” and “Histoirc Route 66”.
    I think it is a great addition to the neighborhood history, and informs people of colorful history of Elsereno.

    I think Elsereno has a very bright future, and is getting better everyday. Just look at
    the many new homes being built on the hills overlooking skyline of greater Los Angeles with spectacular views.

    It is also just south of South Pasadena off of Monterey
    Rd. with housing prices much lower than Pasadena and South Pasadena, which I think is the reason why Elsereno will grow and flourish immensely.

    And with the new monument and sign, now I’ve just learned to pride myself that I live in the beautiful hills of Historic El Camino Real.

    Plus, with the reasonable affordability of Elsereno,
    neighborhood is getting better and better every day.
    Coupled with beatiful Hiltop Views, I think Elsereno is another South Pasadena, to be !

    Afterall it is Historic El Camino Real !!

  15. Dang, Eric! Are you a real estate agent or what? 😉
    My personal opinion is to keep those ugly McMansions out of the hills. They ruin the vistas, are cheaply made and add nothing to the character of the neighborhood.

  16. I think El Sereno has a bright past and a bright present without McMansions or trying to become South Pasadena. Sereno has and will continue to fluorish in a way that will reflect the social histories of its residences and this will reflect the social and economic inequaities and divides present in our city and in our nation. It’s future greatness is not in becoming another South Pasadena, but in becoming it’s own.

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