Many people have a complete misconception of Los Angeles.
The misconceived are mostly those who have moved here from somewhere else only to stick to certain ‘good areas’ and surround themselves with other people, also from somewhere else, who like them, haven't taken the opportunity to explore the city in any real capacity. They deem LA people as ‘fake’ and believe that there are an abundance of areas to avoid that they themselves have never been. But what you will find if you dare to venture out of the gentrified hipster-approved areas and open yourself up to people who are actually from Los Angeles (or those who appreciate its uniqueness), is history, culture, friendly down to earth people, and a world of interesting sites, sounds, and tastes.
A couple of weeks ago I was standing around a friend's barbecue listening to a conversation I've heard over and over again; three guys, all from various other cities around the US, complaining about how bad Los Angeles is.
I held my tongue as I listened to a lot of misinformation and half baked arguments from people who had only been here a few years and hadn't done anything but perpetuate the very stereotypes they were complaining about. "People are so fake/flakey here", "the only places worth going to are Silver Lake, Atwater, and Echo Park", "the city is too expensive", "there's too much traffic in LA", "there's nothing worth seeing east of the 405 and south of the 10", etc, etc. Their arguments were both obnoxious and more than borderline racist, believing that only the most gentrified areas of LA had anything worthwhile.
Unsurprisingly however, when asked about their experiences in the areas they claim to have nothing to offer, they hadn't more than passed through once or twice (if even at all). When you drive (along with everyone else) at the two major rush hour times of the day, 7:30am-9am and 5pm-7:30pm, of course you believe there's always traffic; when you refuse to travel more than 10 mins from your house to hangout with potential friends, but expect them to drive 30 mins or more to see you, of course you think people are flakey; and when you deny yourself the opportunity to get to know the city you yourself have chosen to live in, of course you hate it.
It's really that simple.
And as a side note, Los Angeles doesn't even make the list of Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to live in the US, while New York city's place in three of the top 10 spots. Click the link above if you're curious which cities do.
So, while I know there is a difference in the fact that in growing up here the majority of my family is here as well (making it feel like home); the vast majority of my friends and the people I see on a regular basis, I have met in my adult life. I actively seek out connections with open positive people and not only make plans, but keep them. I'm open to people from different cultures and backgrounds, and I'm willing to, and often do, drive to see people who live anywhere from 6-25miles away because I value friendship and my relationships. In the same way, I actively explore the city with a willingness and openness to what the various neighborhoods of Los Angeles have to offer, guided by my love for exploration, discovery, and general curiosity. Further still, I don't limit myself by only staying within the confined boundaries of 'hipster approved' areas, nor do I only venture into the most convenient places for me to go.
But it was that typical 'LA conversation'
that inspired me to begin a new blog series introducing a different take on one of the world's most popular cities.
Together let's trek offbeat, historic, and artistic locales around the city; some of which you may think you know and others of which you may not be familiar with at all. 'The Real LA' will explore our nation's second largest city from the perspective of a born and raised Los Angeles native with a background in architectural design, and a passion for history and culture. I have taken the time and care to get to know the place in which I live and would love to share that knowledge and enthusiasm with you. It is my hope that in doing so I may inspire more people to really get acquainted with Los Angeles and it's unique history, culture, architecture, art, landscape, and beauty. Even if you don't live in LA, I hope it inspires you to really explore where you live... there's beauty to be found everywhere.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll start a new type of conversation centered around the cities we live in, whether we are there by birth or by choice.