June 4, 2007

East-West Debate Re-Rears Its Angelic Head

CALL THEM GEOGRAPHICALLY inflexible. Or just arrogant oldbies. But those comment-less gossipers over at Fishbowl LA are nothing if not consistent:
  • Oct. 10, 2006 - "Say it with us: Eastside means east of the LA River."
  • June 4, 2007 - "Just for the record, the LA River is the dividing line, and no, it's not a fluid border."
Um, the river isn't fluid, you say?

Blame New Angeles, with its mission to "celebrate the intellectual and cultural renaissance of LA's Eastside." The new monthly mag is reigniting the arrogance of Angelenos who have been bestowed with Proper Perspective by virtue of living here a few more months. The debate rages from Curbed LA to Metroblogging LA.

It seems to this east-side newbie that the river has outlived its usefulness as city divider. How different, really, are Los Feliz and Atwater Village? Elysian Valley and Glassell Park? And in the San Fernando Valley do you assign North Hollywood and Van Nuys to the east side of LA? Makes no sense.

If we must live in a binary metropolis, how about we cut along Western Avenue? It's straight, long and has the word "west" in it. Easy enough?

Besides, if we really wanted history and precedence to settle this, we'd ask the Tongva.


MJS said...

If we can get some Minutemen to construct a wall along our border maybe we can all play Gigantic Los Angeles Style Handball! And Lou Dobbs can check us all for leprosy.

When the oceans commence to rising, perhaps we can launch our boats at Fountain and Vermont, in honor of the Skipper.

As for me, this Westside/Eastside controversy could be so much worse: our maps could have been drawn by British cartographers.

This wall thing could really stir the joint up...


chimatli said...

Why do you get to choose where the line is, when a geographic definition has been in use for quite sometime? Just because new people move into the city doesn't give them a right to arbitrarily change the names of the neighborhood to suit their own needs. Would this be acceptable in any other major city? The only people that are using the Eastside to describe areas west of Western are people who have recently moved here. Los Angeles has a history that needs to be acknowledged by "newcomers."

Miles said...

In defense of the newbie, I've lived in LA most of my life -- born in what is now the scientology center -- and I think the city has grown in such a way as to make Western the artificial dividing line between east and west LA..

It is artificial,however. We are all LA. That said, calling parts of the city Eastside should not take anything away from East LA. East LA is obviously an area that is and has always been east of downtown.

East LA is part of the Eastside just as Westwood is part of the Westside.

I'm glad I could clear that up.


chimatli said...

But Miles, if anything the city has grown more to the east than to the west. Just because someone's personal geographic reference centers around a certain part of town doesn't give that person the right to re-write history and create random boundaries.
The areas between the Westside and the Eastside are currently referred to by most LA residents by their proper neighborhood names or simply by "Mid-City."
I think to myself who would have the gall to move to a new city, disregard the history and opinions of it's natives and randomly create dividing lines based on their perceptions of culture and class? Seriously, it sounds like a new form of colonialism.

AVN said...

If there's anyplace that lets newcomers have a fair say, it's Los Angeles. Just because something has been in use for "quite some time" (slavery, Xenu, the LA river as east-west divider) doesn't mean things can't change.

Miles said...

Also, LA has grown rapidly east of downtown, it has also grown rapidly west, north and south. The bottom line is that noting Western as an artificial boundary between east and west really means nothing and denigrates no one.

Miles said...

the first "has" was meant to be "as".

chimatli said...

"If there's anyplace that lets newcomers have a fair say, it's Los Angeles."

Huh? By trappling on the history of millions of residents who have lived in the city before you? Wow, that takes a lot of chutzpah. Oh well, your perspective corresponds quite nicely with the history of this country.

AVN said...

Who's "trappling on the history of millions of residents"...? Far as I know, this a cultural and geographical discussion. No one is suggesting we move borders, boundaries, people or homes.

Centuries ago nearly every human in this region lived right on the Los Angeles River. People moved east, they moved west, newcomers chose accordingly.

The city is in constant flux. Even the river changes path over the decades. So why can't this artificial east-west line also be up for grabs?

MJS said...

I am grappling with trappling.


There was a place known as "East L.A."
and it remains there still today
had that place been but more west
clout and cash would line its nests


Ideefixe said...

First, the fluid part is a fairly feeble joke, but surprise! the LA river isn't all that fluid, as it's confined to the concrete riverbed.

And secondly, the dividing line for Eastside is the LA river. I suspect that many people who fancy themselves in the know and the now would rather die than be considered West siders, like those snooty folks in say, Brentwood.

I live on 7th Place, about 500 feet east of Santa Fe, and yet, sad to say, I'm not an Eastsider.


Miles said...

I was born in what is now the Scientology center, lived in Hollywood, the valley, the westside, Hollywood again and now Atwater Village. I am an Angeleno...

who lives on the east side.