LIVING IN LOS ANGELES

my first solo apartment
my first solo apartment

My first solo apartment was in Koreatown.  I remember falling for the “art deco” line when I found it in the Recycler Classifieds papers that used to be the thing other than the L.A. Weekly you could pick up for free at just about any liquor store or 7-11.  If you really want to dig on what I’m getting at by calling L.A. a City of Changes, move to one of those 1920s art deco buildings in Koreatown.  I moved into an old building that offered a 5th floor 1 bedroom apartment for $550 a month, all utilities included.  The place was a dump that had a never ending stink that reminded me of the sour scent of a male cat marking his territory.  I had to use those Glade Plug Ins to keep that stench out of my olfactories, only to be inundated by the nauseating odor of a Glade Plug In that I ultimately ended up getting used to.  Just remember, if you choose to fall for the “art deco apartment” line on your apartment hunt, the roaches are your roommates and the higher the floor, the lower the number of roach roommates you will have.  Koreatown was the other neighborhood that L.A. Newbies could move to, to make their way in whatever they came out here to pursue.  Not much was Korean about the neighborhood, it was mainly a gang infested Latino neighborhood.  I was surrounded by gang bangers on 4 separate occasions and witnessed a shootout in the courtyard of my building from my window at 3AM.  I’m crazy, I would walk all over the place every night back in 1996 – 1998.  Back then, Koreatown had a big nightlife, but it was almost exclusively Koreans.  I was definitely not welcome at any of the establishments for quite awhile before people figured out that I wasn’t going anywhere and was going to be part of the neighborhood whether they liked it or not, and started charging less for the drinks and the food.  Today, it’s not like that at all and in fact, Koreatown keeps getting nicer and nicer and clearly everyone is welcome.  K-Town is much more integrated and friendly with a great entertainment lifestyle of restaurants, bars, boba joints, BBQ joints, and games, very much worth checking out today in 2018.

Culver Hotel
Culver Hotel

When Mrs S and I first moved to 90034 by Downtown Culver City, it was straight up boring.  There wasn’t really anything going on at all.  There was a hardware store, some rinky-dink thrift store, and a few not so hot places that were just kinda “meh”.  Today, it’s one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Los Angeles.  We were there for 11 years, and we watched it change so much in that period of time.  Not all the changes were great, but such is life.  Today, as much as I love the 7/7 Lounge, behind Rocco’s Tavern on Main Street, I preferred it when it was the hidden gem of the neighborhood, Tokyo 7/7.  Tokyo 7/7 was a dumpy little breakfast joint owned and operated by a group of elderly Japanese folks that my wife and I noticed also worked at the Mitsuwa Marketplace just down the street at Venice and Centinela.  Typical breakfast for two of pancakes, bacon, toast, and juice was $12, and the place was packed every day.  Thing is, it was in the alley behind the hardware store, sandwiched between a Bank of America and a parking garage.  Unless you had to go down that alley for some reason or another, you simply wouldn’t know that place existed at all.  But the neighborhood knew, you know?  It was a little gem, but what did remain and grow to really thrive, was Jackson Market, on Jackson, just off Culver at LaSalle.  Another gem that unless you’re neighborhood, you wouldn’t know about it because it’s on a residential street and not a commercial area.  A bodega attached to a house with a cool lounge area in the back, where you could get the good wine, the good beer, and unique other snacks, drinks, sandwiches, and desserts, a great place that grew with the neighborhood.  It is my favorite neighborhood in all of L.A., even though I came out here with living by the beach in mind.  Though we live in the South Bay today, to us, Downtown Culver City and Los Angeles 90034 is still home.

We shall return...

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