Monday, July 19, 2010

Drifting in East Hollywood

My recent visit to Portland reminded me how much I like walking through streetcar suburbs while awash in delightful songs. On Sunday I decided to go for a solitary ramble in my neighborhood in LA, which sits at the convergence of Koreatown, East Hollywood, and Virgil Village.
First I cut up to Cafecito Organico at Hoover and Bellevue, the coffee shop run by a fellow ecovillager. Iced coffee in hand, I proceeded to bounce across the neighborhood while listening to two Marshall Crenshaw songs on repeat. I pretty much had it to myself. When I got near churches other humans would appear, but it was mostly just me, old houses, and broken sidewalks torn apart by upthrusting roots.
I walked over to the Bicycle District at Heliotrope and Melrose, then continued along Melrose under the 101. At the next residential street, Mariposa, I made a right and found myself on a rather charming block.

It had big trees and an honest mix of restored and dilapidated homes. Also, it's situated on a hill, so the views are nice. My phone camera was not up to the task of capturing them, though.
I turned right on Oakwood and made my way to the Beverly Hot Springs, which uses the same mineral waters that used to feed the Bimini Baths on my block. In typical Korean spa fashion, one entered through the parking lot. There was a little pedestrian gate into the lot, but it was totally blocked by the driveway gate that had been left open.

Hmmph. It was too hot for a spa day, so I plunged back into the neighborhood instead.
In total I walked for about two hours and saw lots of new blocks.
I had to write a lot recently about the different experiences of space we have if we bike instead of drive, but something I tend to gloss over is the difference between walking and biking.
For me the biggest difference is paying attention to other road users when I'm biking and paying attention to houses when I'm walking. I tend to bike AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, whereas when I walk I like to meander. It has a lot to do with the prevailing style of interacting on roads, too. In LA it's all ZOOM-SWERVE-SLAM BRAKES.
Meanwhile the neighborhoods beckon.