Where we live
A look at neighborhoods around the City of Angels
By VERONIQUE DE TURENNE
As the film industry grew, so did its neighborhoods. Always on the prowl for the next new thing, movie people colonized Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu. With each fresh wave of newcomers, another neighborhood was annointed.
Where is home these days? The short (and long) answer is, everywhere. It depends on what you want. There’s the industrial vibe of the downtown lofts, a once-edgy neighborhood now edging into the mainstream. In Studio City, the California ranch house is getting a second wind, going from fusty has-been to California classic. In Malibu, house hunters have come up with mobile home treasures. Yes, they have to register them each year with the DMV. But with killer views and star-strewn night skies, the sobriquet “trailer trash” becomes a badge of honor.
What’s next? Someone, somewhere, is finding it, right now. They’re falling for a quality of light. They’re picturing morning coffee at a local dive. They’ve started the newspaper and found a place with decent take-out and maybe, just maybe, a new neighborhood is about to take a bow.
Why Nichols Canyon? “If you’re going to live in L.A., it’s gotta be either the hills or the beach.”
House-hunting saga: “In 1981 there was a huge flood and Nichols Canyon was washed out. Impassable. It took two years to rebuild the road and during that time, Realtors just took the place off their books. No one wanted to buy there because getting in and out was torturous. When the road re-opened, sellers were so eager to unload that there were these incredible buys. I got one.”
Neighborhood vibe: “It’s rustic. Since it doesn’t go through to the Valley, we don’t get the kind of traffic they get in Laurel or Coldwater Canyon. We’ve got deer and coyotes and raccoons; I’ve got a creek and waterfall right on my property.”
Local traditions: “Well, it’s not trick-or-treating. The first year I was there I laid in a lot of candy. I don’t know if it’s that there weren’t any kids or that they’d been warned away from my house, but there was not one single trick-or-treater.”
Drawbacks: “Speed bumps. We just got them because of the growth we’ve had. There used to be just one stop sign on my street. Now we have five.”
Community: “We’ve made a stab at having a community association but it really doesn’t work. People are there because they want to be in their own private Idaho. There are certain things, mostly disasters, that tend to bring people out. Like, when they were building the Red Line I had this sinkhole in front of my house. It looked like Godzilla had stepped into the road. I got to know everybody. They were getting out of their cars, peering at this huge hole. That’s what happens when you try to build a subway in the middle of the woods.”