December 29, 2008

Now Open: Glendale's Newest Zankou Chicken

NOW OPEN: Zankou Chicken's latest location shares space with Sidewalk Cafe, 901 W. Glenoaks Blvd. in Glendale.

We lunched there today, ordered from Sidewalk's huge menu at one counter (w/ Coke products) and got Zankou's shawerma and other garlicky goodies at the other counter (w/ Pepsi products). Pay separately, eat together.

Just don't expect to lounge in that comfy sofa area. It's gone. As is the former occupant of Zankou's space, Cold Stone Creamery. (They've seen better years.)

December 28, 2008

Nice Day for a Walk Around the Neighborhood

All Aboard
WITH TEMPERATURES climbing mercifully back toward the 70s today, feeling more like the LA we bought into, Mrs. Newbie and I did a lap around central Awater Village:
  • Stopped at All'Aboard boutique (3040 Glendale Blvd.) for the first time since its move from Echo Park. Bought a pillow.
  • Noted The Little Knittery (3042 Glendale Blvd.) is closed for the holidays. Re-opens Jan. 2.
  • Discovered Lula mini spa, 3542 1/2 Hollydale Dr. "One-woman boutique" with organic products, holistic treatments. "Gratuities are respectfully declined."
  • Walked into a dream bungalow, 3433 Hollydale Drive. Fully renovated, 1,400 sq ft, 3 bedrooms. Wished for a suitcase with 698,000 dollar bills to drop from the sky.
  • Walked past Cold Stone Creamery, 3134 Glendale Blvd. Noticed manager's thank-you-good-bye note on the window.
  • Stopped at The Pampered Bird (3183 Glendale Blvd.) and spied autographs on the wall from Miley and Billy Ray.
  • Lunched at Baracoa Cuban Cafe, 3175 Glendale Blvd. Added sliced avocado to my arroz con pollo. Stole the idea from a guy at the sidewalk table. Thanks, guy.
And we didn't go in, but it looks like gift shops Amelia Fitzwater and Under the Table are posting after-Christmas discounts.

December 26, 2008

Atwater Village Signs: 'Wrong Kind of Visual Bleakness'

FROM A DETAILED recap of the Dec. 18 Good Design LA event comes this critique of our 'hood's evolving business mix:
"LA's graphic conscience Geoff McFetridge began by describing his Atwater Village neighborhood as a kind of Anytown, USA, with its easy rhythm of liquor store, nail salon, check cashing, nail salon, tacos, pack and ship, drinking water, liquor store, nail salon.

"But suddenly he started to notice a new rhythm: yoga, baby clothes, Starbucks, Coldstone Creamery.

"'That's the wrong kind of visual bleakness!' he cried. And the biggest problem about the New Bleakness, he said, were the signs, the ugly, anonymous, soulless vinyl signs. He attacked nail salon signage specifically, because 'if you can paint nails, you can paint a sign.'"

December 25, 2008

The Christmas Eve River Rescue That Wasn't

FROM THE always informative Los Angeles Fire Department alerts:
  • Dec. 24, 2:27 p.m. - River Rescue: LA River x Los Feliz Bl; One caller only; We're still enroute; NFD (No Further Details)
  • Dec. 24, 2:29 p.m. - UPDATE: LA River x Los Feliz Bl; Little water moving slowly in center channel; Still searching for possible victim; NFD
  • Dec. 24, 2:36 p.m. - UPDATE: LA River x Los Feliz Bl; No victim discovered; We will maintain LAFD presence in the area; NFD

December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays, Fellow Villagers

December 23, 2008

Goodbye Cold Stone Creamery, Hello Sweets for the Soul

Sweets for the Soul
CENTRAL ATWATER VILLAGE loses a chain ice-cream shop but gains a mom-and-pop bakery. First the bad news:
Cold Stone Creamery Atwater [3134 Glendale Blvd.] will be closing its doors for good on December 21, 2008. The current economic circumstances and cold weather has definitely made its impact on our location. I would like to thank the community for its support and patronage over the passed 3 years. Thank you Atwater Village. Best Wishes, Eugene De Guzman, Manager
And now sweeter news from across the street:
Sweets for the Soul handmade desserts, announcing the grand opening of our brand new bakery! January 14th. Open 11am - 7pm, Wednesday - Sunday. 3169 Glendale Blvd.
The bakery offered sneak treats to neighbors en route to  the Atwater Village Tree Lighting a few weeks ago. (Hence the storefront photo.) Judging by the empty shelves, the soft opening was a hit.

December 18, 2008

Valleybrink Road: Speed Humps Instead of Cul de Sacs?

SOME RADICAL elements may be calling for a dead-end strategy on Valleybrink Road, but this is the latest in what real community leaders are doing to fight drive-through trouble in Central Atwater Village. From a neighborhood email:
Update on the Valleybrink between Dover and Sunnynook speed hump request:

"A traffic study was done at the end of 2007, and we were approved for 4 humps on this block. I submitted our signed petitions in June of this year, and we were told we'd see action before the end of the year.

"That was before all the budget crises, and in my last communication with the speed hump office, earlier this month, I was told there's a new cue starting in January, and that we might get our humps by March or April."
The office of LA City Council District 13 tells me speed humps are proven to slow traffic on residential streets. (Speed bumps are shorter, usually found in parking lots.) Let's hope this strategy leads to fewer grab-and-dash-type crimes on Valleybrink.

December 16, 2008

This Saturday: Movie Night at the Golf Course

LET'S HOPE it warms up a bit before this Saturday's Atwater Movie Night. It is outdoors, after all, at a time of night when the temp's been in the chilly 40s. Brr! Bring someone you like getting cozy with.
  • Elf
  • Saturday Dec. 20, 6:00 p.m.
  • Los Feliz Municipal Golf Course
  • 3207 Los Feliz Blvd.

December 15, 2008

Have Yourself a TJ's Little Christmas

Havin' a TJ Christmas
DO YOU HAVE friends and family unfortunate enough to live in one of the 20 states without a Trader Joe's grocery store? Here's what we do. Stuff their stockings with these perfect little TJ's yummies:
  • Candied Pecans $3.99
  • Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles $4.99
  • Butter Shortbread Cookies $3.99
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Bar $1.49
  • Mini Assorted Belgian Chocolates $1.99
  • Dark Chocolate Wedges with Chilies & Cinnamon $3.29
  • Green Tea Mints $1.99
  • Chocolate Mint Round Tin $2.99
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels $5.99
Full disclosure: the caramels might not make it all the way to the sock. See the fully annotated version of my TJ's yummies photo.

Set Your TiVo: Woof Dog Boutique on Style Network

ATWATER VILLAGE'S own Woof Dog Boutique (3172 Glendale Blvd.) is set to appear on the Peter Perfect reality show, sort of an extreme makeover for mom-and-pop businesses, Jan. 10, 2009, on the Style Network. That's channel 130 on Time Warner cable in the 90039. More on the AV forum about how Woof plans a community mixer as warmup to the show that night.

December 14, 2008

Send in the Christmas Cows!

Christmas Cows
LAST NIGHT'S performance of Charles Phoenix' Moonlight Rollerway Holiday Jubilee may have been the best 3 hours of Christmas-related fun we could have without standing directly under mistletoe.

Get tickets to today's 3:00 p.m. matinee, even though it's standing-room only ($20 at the box office, 5110 San Fernando Road). You'll get to see the shockingly retro Americana slide show, and a holiday extravaganza that includes Christmas cows and, for reasons you have to see to believe, a bottle of tequila on roller skates.

December 11, 2008

LA Times Goes Digging Into Atwater Village Politics

BACK IN OCTOBER the Los Feliz Ledger picked up this story of intra-neighborhood politics surrounding the 17th annual Atwater Village tree lighting, and tomorrow's LA Times runs a marathon with it:
Peace and love cause a big stir in Atwater Village: "'Newbies' and old guard alike agree the tree-lighting was beautiful, but the arguments that took place behind the scenes - over war stances, gay rights and eco-friendly lights - were far from pretty." [LA Times, Dec. 12, 2008]
Hey, an Atwater Village story that talks about "newbies" and doesn't mention me? The nerve.

Sunnynook Drive: Potty Time is Over

FIRST THERE appeared a lone toilet on Sunnynook Drive. Then 3 weeks later came the second bowl, single-file style, on the same curb. We are sorry to report since then that both bowls have been collected by someone(s) and that visitation(s) to various meth-producing and/or -selling residences in central Atwater Village must make alternate evacuation plans. Thank you.

December 10, 2008

These Are (Most of) the People in Your Neighborhood

ONE OF THE highlights of our neighborhood tree lighting last week was the big-screen premiere of Atwater Village's new anthem and video, created by a group of talented neighbors including Seth Freeman and Tom Bishel.

They had contacted me for permission to use my Flickr photos (The Roost, Tam O'Shanter, the chapel) in the video, so keep an eye out for them. And here are the lyrics (my fave: "you can sing and dance or get a short term loan") to your new neighborhood anthem:
"Atwater Village"
Seth Freeman and Tom Bishel

Sesame Chorus
These are the people in your neighborhood
In your little nook of town
It used to be called Atwater
But the Village gives it such a sweet sound

woman named Toni who can bake a sweet surprise
a mechanic, a butcher, lots of stuff to buy
in the Atwater Village neighborhood
a golfer, a grocer, a yoga instructor
an officer of the law, a gallery director
in the Atwater Village neighborhood

Sometimes you'll see a happy person waving to you from their door
Could be you need to borrow some sugar or a basket
with an Atwater neighbor all your life you can ask it
Until the day you end up in a casket
That you picked out at the coffin store

These are the people that you meet
when you are walking down the street
in the Atwater Village neighborhood

Dogs, kids, horses, playing in the stable
Friendly people cooking and waiting on your table
pampered birds, and stickers and labels
in the Atwater Village neighborhood
accordion teachers, all kinds of preachers
we've even got the best school teachers
in the Atwater Village neighborhood

Here we have lots of dentists, keepin teeth clean and cavity free
and over here see Garcetti cleaning up graffiti
and Gina Shivon, our officer friendly


Have a drink at Tam O’Shanter, 55 Degrees
Or The Griffin, Bigfoot, The Roost, or the Tee Gee
In the Atwater Village neighborhood
you can go to the farmers market and get yourself an apple
hit the convenience store and drink yourself a Snapple
visit the big box store then go to the chapel
in the Atwater Village neighborhood

you can get your nails done and wax your bikini line
then go and buy a paint brush, and end up pouring some wine


why even get in your car everything is here
a book a stamp a roll of yarn
a dress a toy a bra a beer
a cut of meat a tennis racquet
a doggie treat a vintage jacket
a tile a sneaker, a book with your pho,
a rug a rubdown and a cup of joe
a beauty salon a wireless phone
you can sing and dance or get a short term loan
an exotic home furnishing a dvd
a pot for you to plant a tree
a foodstuff from the grocery
a veritable plethora a potpourri
everything is here we think you’ll agree


December 9, 2008

Mugging at Gunpoint? Turn Valleybrink Into Cul de Sacs

IT'S BEEN A bad year for Valleybrink Road in Atwater Village, and this past weekend was another shameful example. Reported on the AV Forum and from a Newbie reader:
"The story is that a friend was leaving a house on Valleybrink (just north of Sunnynook Dr.) on Sunday around 1:30pm. He walked to his car ... when a small vehicle rolled up filled with gangmembers (I don't have a description of them) and they put a gun to the waistline of the guy and took his wallet. They quickly drove off leaving the man unharmed, thank god. But this is some scary SHIT! Middle of the day on a Sunday!"
Valleybrink gets more than its fair share of breakings and break-ins, and I think I know why. This narrow residental street offers nearly 1,600 uninterrupted feet of drive-by potential. I'd guess it the 'hood's longest stretch sans intersections, stop signs or speed bumps. It's way too easy to do the deed on Valleybrink and then hop on I-5, long gone before anyone calls 911.

How about we blockade Valleybrink and turn it into 2 dead-end streets? Landscape the new back-to-back cul-de-sacs. Call them pocket parks. Have 400 community meetings about it. But do something. Cut off the flow.

Neighbors, Let's Skim Those Pools!

JUST LIKE with its restaurant ratings, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health posts its pool inspections online. This year, it seems, a couple of Atwater Village apartment complex pools needed some TLC. The pool at Rancho Los Feliz Apartments (3250 Los Feliz Blvd.) had 7 violations May 21, including the lack of "adequate skimming action." (Skimming is "the process of filtering out dirt and unwanted materials.")

December 8, 2008

Newbie Endorsement: Crispy Crust Pizza

UNLIKE THESE FELLOWS in SaxEno's video, we don't get that excited about the mathematical possibilities of different pizza sizes. ("The area of the circle is not being expressed!")

But very much like these fellows, we do enjoy ordering dinner from Crispy Crust Pizza (3111 Glendale Blvd.) in Atwater Village.

We live close enough to pick up our extra-thin-crust chili con carne pizza and overflowing antipasto salads, and cheesecake and tiramisu slices (with an excuse to pick up a bottle next door at 55 Degree Wine).

But if you don't live in the 'hood, Crispy Crust delivers for no extra charge. Tell 'em the Newbie sent ya.

December 7, 2008

Half Marathon Hits Halfway Mark in Atwater Village

Here They All Come, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

December 6, 2008

Shops Open Till 10pm for Block Party Tonight

ALONG GLENDALE Blvd. in Atwater Village at least a dozen shops and galleries are staying open late, till 10:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, as part of the Winter Wonder Night block party.

Look for dance performances, art openings and boutiques offering discounts. Like they always tell us at the Amelia Fitzwater gift shop, buy local! (And then have a glass over at 55 Degree Wine.)

More Reviews of 17th Annual Tree Lighting

HERE'S WHAT OTHERS have to say about Thursday night's tree lighting:
  • In the 'Hood: "I remember the first year we moved here, the tree lighting ceremony consisted of us and like 6 other people standing on the median, listening to 12 kids sing 'Feliz Navidad' while the single strand of lights on the tree was plugged in. This year ... no less than 1,400 of our neighbors packed into the Wells Fargo parking lot. It was an awesome sight. The tree is filled with gorgeous ornaments and LED lights. No menorah, but a girl can’t have everything!" [Momsville Today]
  • Massive Crowd in Atwater Village: "Of course, the event dragged on a little too long for my taste -- light the tree, dammit! But the crowd wasn't just there for the tree; they were also there to catch their children and neighbors from various schools perform. And, perhaps, to feel the Eric Garcetti love." [Franklin Avenue]
  • Let There Be Light: "This is a diverse neighborhood...people "in the business", white collar, blue collar, hispanic, black, white, gay, straight, gangs, etc....all in all it was a nice little event." [Citifarmer]
  • Thank You: "Last night's 17th Annual Atwater Village Tree Lighting was the biggest Lighting in our Village's history with an estimated 1,400 people in attendance." [AV News]

December 5, 2008

Welcome New Readers! (And Thanks, Catherine Dent!)

WE MISSED ONE of the Big Moments at the tree lighting last night. Apparently the talented actress and neighborhood resident Catherine Dent, mistress of ceremonies, gave a celebrity endorsement from the stage to yours truly, the Atwater Village Newbie. She even implored 1,000+ holiday revelers to visit this blog. So if you mindlessly obey commands from talented actresses, welcome! And read on:

December 4, 2008

City's Best Tree Lighting?

AN ESTIMATED 1,000 neighbors came out for tonight's Glendale Blvd. tree lighting in Atwater Village. It was 10 times the attendance, said LA City Council President Eric Garcetti from the stage, of City Hall's tree ceremony downtown. Also: kids choirs, fashion shows and Santa himself, delivered by LAFD. Take that, The Grove.

NBC 'Blog' Backhand-Compliments Tonight's Tree Lighting

WITH AN EXTRA touch of snark, the NBC Los Angeles Around Town blog-like thing reports about Atwater Village's tree lighting tonight:
Atwater Village Lights Tree, Ups 'Village-y' Quotient: "Atwater Village starts its seasonal festivities with a tree lighting, on Thursday, December 4, at 6:30PM...
"Let's not be jealous of Atwater Village. Sure, the neighborhood is plunk in the middle of the sprawling metropolis, and yet they still have 'Village' in their name. And it truly seems like a tight-knit, let's-celebrate-the-good-stuff kind of community, so calling itself a village does not seem like a stretch...
"Okay, we're jealous."

December 2, 2008

Favorite People Seen on the Great LA Walk, Part 2

Guy in a Hole
AT THE KICKOFF to the Nov. 22 Great LA Walk we heard there'd be a water main (gas main?) break somewhere along the route.

Sure enough, as Santa Monica Blvd.  descends from Sunset Junction, we found this guy. He was waist deep in a fresh hole. And he was indeed attending to some kind of utility-related issue.

It must have been disconcerting on a sidewalk that normally sees light foot traffic to watch more than 100 pairs of knees pass by within minutes. He seemed quite amused by it all, good-naturedly answering the various versions of, "How's it going down there?"

December 1, 2008

Atwater Chatter: Leftover Turkey Edition

Video for 'Peace on Earth,' song to be performed Dec. 4

HOPE EVERYONE is fat and happy after Thanksgiving weekend, and ready for some news from in and around this northeast LA neighborhood we were happy to come home to.
  • "Peace on Earth" on Glendale: Atwater Village musician Seth Freeman performs his charity song "Peace On Earth" (his video above has many neighborhood scenes and faces) at this Thursday's holiday tree lighting, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m., 3250 Glendale Blvd. [Resident Band]
  • Everything Gardens Now Open: Plant studio and garden shop is now open in Atwater Village. Grand opening party Dec. 6, 6:00 p.m, 3010 Glendale Blvd. [Everything Gardens]
  • Atwater Village Tree Lighting: "Steve will be plugging in the lights and my sister and I will be Santa's Elves - that is, if we ever finish our costumes!" Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m., 3250 Glendale Blvd. [Cathie Filian]
  • Journalistic Journeys: After the floods of 1938, a reporter and photographer attempted to boat from the Glendale Hyperion Viaduct to the Los Angeles River's mouth in Long Beach. [LA Creek Freak]

November 26, 2008

Great LA Walk 2008: The Video

TAKE AN 8-minute video tour (credit to Drewurd, not me) of what took more than 8 hours to walk: Union Station to the Pacific Ocean, mostly down Santa Monica Blvd. And see more of my photos from Saturday's Great LA Walk.

November 25, 2008

Getting Lit for the Holidays in Atwater Village

Glendale Tree Lit
IN A HOLIDAY mood yet? Hope so, because the 2008 festivities will be unavoidable in these parts.
See last year's tree in all its glory.

November 24, 2008

Favorite People Seen on the Great LA Walk, Part 1

Waiting on Some 'B' Grade Tacos
EVERY YEAR I cull through photographs of our annual Great Los Angeles Walk (I snapped 850 this year!) and find a few gems. Some, like this one, are more accidental.

This interesting fellow was leaning against the Tacos Delta counter in Silver Lake. Normally, bystanders stare at us, the walkers, because how often do you see 150 people walking in LA? But this guy, camo pants and all, was eyeing the utility workers behind us.

This scene reminds me that our big city is sometime just a lot of small towns.

More photos (in progress) from the Great LA Walk 2008.

November 22, 2008

We Did It! Third Annual Great LA Walk

FOR THE THIRD YEAR in a row Mrs. Newbie and I marched in the Great Los Angeles Walk. We're 3 for 3 in this 21st-century pre-Thanksgiving tradition that takes us and dozens of strangers/friends from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. (At 4 m.p.h., instead of the usual 40.)

First year we walked 16 miles along the length of Wilshire Blvd. Then in 2007 we hoofed 15 miles down all of Pico Blvd. Yesterday: 18 miles, starting at Union Station, we sauntered down parts of Cesar Chavez and Sunset, and all of Santa Monica Blvd.

The cause? Just because. See you all in a year. In the meantime:

November 21, 2008

Starts with Broken Windows, Ends in Jail

A COUPLE OF key pieces of news this week, very much related to the car-smashing thuggery last night in Atwater Village:

1. Broken Windows Theory Bolstered by New Study - "A provocative study... lends support to the controversial 'broken windows' theory behind crime and anti-graffiti prevention programs."

2. Atwater Village Gang Member Gets 75-to-Life "A Los Angeles judge on Friday sentenced Timothy McGhee for taking part in a January 2005 disturbance at the downtown Men's Central Jail.... Authorities say the 35-year-old McGhee was the leader of a gang in the Atwater Village area."

November 20, 2008

Alert! At Least 8 Vehicles Smashed on Valleybrink Road

SOMETIME BETWEEN 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. windows on at least 8 vehicles were smashed along Valleybrink Rd. Driver-side glass everywhere tonight, inside cars and on the street, up and down the block. Almost every other car hit. Unclear if this evening's acts, occurring while many residents were home, were pure vandalism or also involved theft.

One neighbor's theory: kids and a BB gun. My theory after filing my second LAPD report this year: It's a fucking crime wave.

UPDATE! LAPD officers stopped by after 11:00 p.m., and told me:
  • It's more like 8 cars hit. (Instead of 10 as I originally posted.)
  • It's normally a quieter, safer part of Atwater Village (unlike up on Bemis St.) but they'll step up patrols.
  • It was probably "teenagers."
  • Keep an eye out for "anyone that doesn't belong" and call if there's trouble.

1,700 Words About an 80-Year-Old Restaurant

LOVE IT OR hate it (the restaurant, that is), this extensive article from A Hamburger Today (and its extensive food-porn photography) will make you hungry for The Tam O' Shanter Inn (2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village).

LA Times Dips Tentative Toe Into Flickr Pool

FAR BE IT from me to discourage anonymous pseudonyms, but someone under the moniker losangelestimes has dipped a tentative toe into the Flickr photostream.

Assuming he/she is authorized to do so, it's disappointing that his/her contributions so far have been to mark favorites, add contacts and post one thumbnail of that best-selling Nov. 5 Los Angeles Times front page. (With a link to sell you more, of course.)

Today there's a bit more explanation:
"We're working on what exactly we'll share here (exclusive images that don't make it into print or online? hmm) and would love to hear your suggestions."
Suggestion #1: How about posting behind-the-scenes photos they'd never put in the paper? The photographers, the reporters, the printers doing their thing. (See LAFD's otustanding Flickr contributions.) Hey, maybe even the executives laying people off. Could be juicy!

November 19, 2008

Los Feliz Cafe, Formerly Eatz Cafe, Closing Nov. 30

Formerly Eatz
ACCORDING TO rumors substantiated by 2 sources (an email to me from a customer who overheard a waitress, and this AVNC forum post) the outdoor cafe at Los Feliz Municipal Golf Course is soon to be no more.

Los Feliz Cafe (3207 Los Feliz Blvd.), till 2 years ago called Eatz Cafe, may shut down as soon as Sunday, Nov. 30.

What will take its place? From the customer's email: "I overheard the waitress ... say that the place had been sold and the new owner was planning on closing it and potentially opening up an Italian restaurant."

And wishful thinking from the AVNC forum: "It would be great if the Auntie Em's crew take the place over. They know how to work a small kitchen. The place has serious potential."

Hope it comes back as something. And soon.

Increased Police Presence? Or Just My Imagination

IN THE LAST 24 hours I've seen 3 traffic stops in Atwater Village, when normally I barely notice one cop car outside Baja Fresh. I saw police pull over drivers on Los Feliz Blvd. and Glenfeliz Blvd. last night, and on Glendale Blvd. this morning. (Caused quite a slowdown in front of Starbucks.)

Could this be increased LAPD presence related to recent thefts in the neighborhood? Maybe they oughta be hanging out in our parking lots!

November 18, 2008

Toonerville Gang: No Chevy Chase Park After 10 PM

Chevy Chase Park
THIS WEEK'S lawsuit from Los Angeles and Glendale, the cities' first joint injunction against Toonerville gang members, includes a city park ban. From the Glendale News-Press:
"They would also be barred from Chevy Chase and Palmer parks, and be placed under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew with few exceptions. Those found to be in violation of the order would be subject to immediate arrest and prosecution, officials said."
I'm sure North Atwater Village families will be pleased to know they only have to wait till 3 or 4 hours past sunset each night to let their kids play safely in Chevy Chase Park. (UPDATE: Scott notes that the park ban as worded may be 24/7.) Complete coverage:

November 15, 2008

Theft from Vehicle: In 3 Acts

LADIES (AND GENTLEMEN) of Atwater Village, and visitors from surrounding environs, be alert. From a reader:
  1. "In broad daylight at around 9:30am this morning [Friday Nov. 14] while my wife was in Pilates Metro [3178 Glendale Blvd.] someone smashed her car window and stole the purse out of the car."
  2. "She was parked in the public lot behind the pilates place and had hid the purse under a jacket in the back of the car. The thief broke the back window and took the purse from under the jacket. Obviously they were scoping the parking lot and saw her hide it!"
  3. "Someone just called and found my wife's drivers license and a couple credit cards dumped on the ground at the corner of Virgil and Third."

November 13, 2008

We Even Did an 'Aftershock' Drill

Great Shakeout View
THIS IS THE VIEW from under my desk during the Great Southern California Shakeout this morning. Since I had to stick my arm (and cell phone) out a bit to get this shot it means, technically, I violated the "drop, cover and hold on" directive. Wouldn't happen in a real 7.8 earthquake. Trust me.

November 11, 2008

How Atwater Village Went This Election

Unmixed Messages
ARMCHAIR ANALYSIS of the Los Angeles Times precinct map reveals how our little slice of northeast LA voted on Election Day 2008. The leanings of Atwater Village:
  • Presidential Race: Obama (solidly)
  • Prop 4 Abortion Notification: No (but just barely)
  • Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ban: No (but just barely)
  • Measure R Transit Sales Tax: Yes (solidly)
No big surprise except this: precincts a few blocks away in the City of Glendale voted Yes to ban gay marriage. Apparently it's more than just the train tracks that separate us.

November 10, 2008

In Praise of the Spinach Breakfast Burrito with Bacon

NO SHORTAGE of love is professed for Atwater Village's Tacos Villa Corona (3185 Glendale Blvd.) especially for breakfast by the eater behind Starvin' Like Marvin:
Do I stick with a winner? Yes. So, That's why I go to Tacos Villa Corona at least once a week... All I ever order lately is the Spinach Breakfast burrito with bacon. And oh, the bacon!! My friends and I have had a few discussions about this heavenly stuff. They won't tell you where they get it, I've asked. It's that good. Big smoky chunks of bacon tucked into your eggs and cheese etc. makes it the best burrito around... Viva Villa Corona!
Still waiting for the same kind of rabid love letter to newly-opened across-the-street rival, Hugo's Tacos.

November 9, 2008

Stay Buzzed, Atwater Village

November 7, 2008

LA Times Likes 'Hip,' 'Upscale' Viet Noodle Bar

FROM THE LOCAL daily newspaper's (website's) roundup of Best banh mì shops in Southern California:
Viet Noodle Bar (3133 Glendale Blvd.) - "Far more upscale (and pricey) than the traditional Little Saigon banh mì shops, this hip vegan-friendly Atwater Village restaurant has five bánh mì to choose from: white fish and dill, shiitake-tofu, lemon-grass organic chicken, spicy sardine and vegan tofu basil. It doesn't make its own baguettes but has them made from its own recipe at a San Gabriel bakery. Stay for dessert: The fresh ginger soy curd alone is worth the trip." (323) 906-1575, $5.75-$6.75.

November 4, 2008

The 15-Minute Election

Maybe 12 Voters Outside
Maybe 10-12 Waiting Inside
Just 7 Stations Inside
ONE OF THE (many) nice things about living in Atwater Village is voting in Atwater Village. For this national election day, our polling place at Glenfeliz Boulevard Elementary serves an area barely 3 blocks wide, maybe 7 blocks long. Which the lines never are. (Long.) More photos from my 7:30 a.m. vote.

UPDATE: Unlike some polling places (looking at you, Lincoln Park Recreation Center) the Atwater Village election officials did not ask for photos IDs. Some voters in my line volunteered IDs, but none were asked for them.

November 3, 2008

Spraying Some Pre-Election Hate in Atwater Village

WHO'S READY for this election to be over? I bet the owner of this car, near Edenhurst and Dover, has had enough. He emailed that he "awoke this morning to find that my 'No On 8' sign and car had been vandalized. Someone spray painted 'Fags' across my back bumper."

Another reader noticed a similar (if more nonsensical) pro-Prop-8 message: "I noticed someone had tagged the fence on the corner house of Sunnynook and Valleybrink. Black spray paint was sprayed over the 'Vote No' sign with what looked like 'VAG.' I don't know what VAG could mean in response to Prop 8 but clearly tagging that happens on someone’s fence is not something to be taken lightly. Very uncool indeed."

Yes, very uncool.

November 1, 2008

All Saints Day Message to Children of Atwater Village

Skull Face
NEXT YEAR on Halloween, how about not bringing any live snakes with you when you go out Trick-or-Treating.

Oh, and Mrs. Newbie's favorite costume? "Static Cling."

October 31, 2008

Joe the Plumber May Not Want to Visit Atwater Village

CALIFORNIA'S Contractors State License Board nabbed 27 unlicensed contractors in a 2-day sting at a house in Atwater Village. Investigators posed as homeowners here Wednesday and Thursday. Developing:

October 30, 2008

On Election Night, Eat Like the French

roast chicken, originally uploaded by calamity_hane.

FROM A RELIABLE source, the shes-krafty diary, come deets on Election Night haps at Canele, 3219 Glendale Blvd.
Election Day Special Menu at Canele
  • Romaine with blue cheese and cherry tomatoes
  • Meatloaf or roast 1/2 chicken with mashers and vegetables
  • Apple pie and ice cream
  • $22 prix fixe (does not include beverage, tax, gratuity)
This will be the entire menu Nov. 4, 2008, and Chef Corina promises live election coverage on a TV rented for the occasion.

It Rained for 30 Seconds in Glendale This Morning

AND EVERYONE at work stood up and looked out the window.

October 29, 2008

Confirmed! Prius Parking Still Free at LA City Meters

Free?, originally uploaded by rasputina2.

THOUGH WE HAVEN'T PAID (and haven't been ticketed) when our Toyota Prius is parked at City of Los Angeles street meters, we remain skeptical. As we wondered earlier, are hybrid vehicles really able to park for free? Or will we eventually stop getting lucky? Don't worry, replies LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti's office:
Hybrid Vehicles are exempt from Meter violations (listed below) ... [Tickets] can be administratively dismissed upon proof that the vehicle cited is a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicle is defined as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Ford Escape Hybrid.
88.13b / Meter Overtime
80.35.5 / No Coin Deposited
Too bad this doesn't apply to street-sweeping rules. Next: What other Southern California cities let hybrids keep their coin? We're looking at you, Glendale.

Plans for Black Friday Morning in Atwater Village?

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD Best Buy store (2909 Los Feliz Blvd.) wants you the day after Thanksgiving. Its Black Friday VIP program selects early-birds to arrive in a limo, 4:30 a.m., Friday Nov. 28, to beat the crowds to "doorbuster" deals. Willing victims can enter the Best Buy competition by "explaining why Black Friday is an important tradition for you." Seriously? Apparently. The full story at Gizmodo.

October 26, 2008

Stay Assy, Atwater Village

Toilet of Sunnynook Drive
NORMALLY I WOULD say sure, kids, go ahead and play with the neighbor's toilet. It's on the curb nearly 3 weeks now. Must be some kind of semi-permanent city-endorsed play structure. (Perhaps some neighborhood chamber funds went down it.)

But with this particular porcelain privy, I must protest. It sits in front of that alleged meth house on Sunnynook Drive in Atwater Village. You know, that bungalow "raided" and "soon to be condemned" back in August? (That would be August 2007.)

So I'm sorry, children. Even though we can't be certain this commode comes from said den of iniquity, let's all stay away. We don't want to lose the babies with the meth water.

October 24, 2008

Today: Trick or Treat on the Boo-levard

THE RETURN OF Atwater Village's family-friendly Halloween event is today, Friday Oct. 24, 4:00pm to 5:30pm in the 3100 Block of Glendale Blvd.

Next year, Mrs. Newbie's thinking, they should call it Bat-water Village.

October 23, 2008

City Tests 'Induction' Street Lights in Atwater Village

The Light Also Rises
THE CITY OF Los Angeles is testing 2 "induction lighting" street lamps in the 3700 block of Valleybrink Road in Atwater Village. From our neighborly Pamela Burgess:
"The color of the light is blue, as compared to the warm glow of 'High Pressure Sodium Lamps' that we have now throughout the neighborhood. The test lamps will soon be removed and installed elsewhere in the city."
The City's testing for cost savings, but Pamela expresses a valid aesthetic concern, one unlikely to be measured, about "the quality, color and look of the light, and how it reflects 'the feeling of our neighborhood.'"

I already notice a difference between the new blues and old ambers. The new lights throw harsher shadows, but they do seem brighter and, theoretically, safer for passersby. (Could also be they're testing them away from trees.)

I doubt those perps who rifled through my Honda under the old, dim amber lights would've had so much time and leeway under these bright new blues.

Atwater Chatter: Workers in the Neighborhood Edition

NEWS ABOUT SOME of the people who engage in various commercial activities for pay in Atwater Village:

October 22, 2008

Obama Now Leads by 36% (of Cookies)

THIS JUST IN from lunch at Porto's Bakery in Burbank: the donkey cookie leads the elephant cookie by a whopping 36 percent.
  • Barack Obama: 1,695 donkey cookies, 68%
  • John McCain: 796 elephant cookies, 32%
Even the undecideds win, as they walk away with at least a mango smoothie and perhaps a media noche sandwich. 

Do we smell a fresh-baked mandate?

October 21, 2008

Someone Explain Why Atwater Village is 'Cool'

ANOTHER NEWBIE to Los Angeles, hailing from northern CA and now "working and living near the 10 and the 110," wants to know what's so cool about Atwater Village.
"I went to a party in Atwater Village this weekend and then checked out a few of the furniture stores in Silver Lake. So, I don’t get it. Can someone explain to me why these areas are 'cool' and my neighborhood is not?"
Silver Lake, perhaps, but Atwater Village as "cool?" Maybe "solid," "interesting," "stable," "friendly" and "convenient" before "cool."

UPDATE: Curbed LA weighs in on cool-uncool debate.

October 16, 2008

Newbie Endorsement: Church and State

WE VENTURED DOWNTOWN recently for dinner at the new French bistro Church & State (1850 Industrial Street).

Our $130 dinner for 2 included appetizer, wine, shared entree, shared dessert, tax & tip. May seem pricy, but some LA places have you at $100 before they've even unfolded your napkin.

Everything was tasty. Buttery. (French.) The made-in-house caramel is worth the trip. And worth saving your appetite for dessert.

Parking's easy. Only $4, attended lot. And even though it's Skid Row-adjacent, the restaurant sits on a precious downtown corner, a Hugh Grant movie set waiting to happen across from Toy Factory Lofts and Royal Clayton's pub. Just add cobblestone.

Church and State's website is MIA, but we reserved on

October 15, 2008

Metrolink Successfully Crosses Chevy Chase Drive

Metrolink Crossing Chevy Chase
ON PHOTO SAFARI through Griffith Park last Friday, my camera spotted this northbound Metrolink commuter train navigating the crossing at Chevy Chase Drive in Atwater Village. With all the dangers (fires, Jeeps) at this crossing it seems right to celebrate even everyday successes.

October 10, 2008

Atwater Chatter: Sights and Smells Edition

NEWS AND VIEWS from around the Webospheres:
  • friday, saturday. - "we were off to enjoy a meal at the french restaurant in the atwater village (i'm obviously quite fond of this place). we got there and found it to be terribly busy so we waited on the sidewalk, along with one of the dudes from lost." [matt, liz and madeline]
  • Blah Blah Ditty Bitty Blah - "There is also a point along the freeway and I think that it's before Los Feliz, but not any further than Atwater Village that smells like dog shit. I had the displeasure to find this out one day when it wasn't so hot that I had to engage my a/c unit on my car immediately and so cold that I needed to have the heater on. Oh my God, what is that stench???" [My Life in Orange County]
  • bags with holes in them - "I miss Silverlake Bikram Yoga. That place was the best. If anyone actually reads this, and lives anywhere near Atwater Village, you should check it out." [The Circumstances Are Against Us]

October 9, 2008

One Less Sign of Gang Activity in Northeast LA

Fix Your Damn Fence Already
THREE DAYS AGO I posted this photo of a construction fence on an Atwater Village residential scrape.

The green fence screen, for at least 6 months, had been decorated with the widely-seen trademark of our neighborhood's multi-level youth-oriented outdoor marketing organization, The Rascals. 

Alas, this morning, the green screen was clean. The TRS, wiped out. At least for this one property.

UPDATE: Actually, depends on the light. Some times of day you can still see the faint TRS on the fence screen. Looks like it may have been rubbed down, but not out.

October 8, 2008

Glendale's Palate is One of Esquire's Best New Restaurants

THE ONLY LOS ANGELES County nod in Esquire's list of Best New Restaurants 2008 is Glendale's Palate Food + Wine (933 S. Brand Blvd.).

Just a mile from Atwater Village, Palate is "worth the trip" to Brand Boulevard, even though the magazine's John Mariani "had never seen so many car dealerships in my life."

"Palate hits every point of hospitality," Esquire continues in the November 2008 print edition (not yet on the magazine website), "in a year when it was hard to stifle a yawn over the new restaurants in LA."

And after raving how the most expensive menu item is $19, the magazine concludes: "Whatever you spend on gas to get to Glendale, you'll save on the food and wines here and go home very happy."

We really need to try that place.

October 7, 2008

'Politics Happen, Even in a Small Place Like Atwater'

THIS WELL-RESEARCHED ARTICLE in The Los Feliz Ledger captures the drama of the last couple of years of our Atwater Village Neighborhood Council Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce. Turns out it started with a Christmas tree lighting. Go figure. Find out how the new guard ousted the old guard:
(Note: Annoying PDF format means you have to find the article at the bottom of page 1 and continue it on page 18 of the PDF.)

October 6, 2008

Legion Lane Gets Lit

Legion Lane Gets Lit
ANYONE PASSING through the neighborhood along Los Feliz Blvd. must have noticed the tower of light. Someone is filming something in the 3900 block of Legion Lane. And the lights, as of 11:30 p.m. as of 1:30 a.m., continue to flood central Atwater Village. See more photos from the very bright night.

October 2, 2008

Atwater Village's Woof Boutique Wins Best of LA

OPEN SINCE SUMMER 2007, Atwater Village's Woof Boutique (3172 Glendale Blvd.) has caught the eye of LA Weekly editors for Best of LA 2008. Woof wins in the category, Best Splurges for Your Doggy BFF:
Treat drama-queen dogs to a fashion adventure at Woof in Atwater Village, where their wildest costume dreams will be fulfilled... "Having a boutique is an art form," says owner Diane Serafino, who takes pride in delivering products to the "underprivileged" dogs of the Eastside.

September 30, 2008

Schwarzenegger Signs Green Chemistry Bills in Atwater Village

GOVERNOR ARNOLD Schwarzenegger today signed 2 bills to create a "green chemistry" program for hazardous chemicals in Calfornia. His signing ceremony took place in at Nelson Nameplate in South Atwater Village, 2800 Casitas Avenue, just below the 2 freeway. (Almost literally below the 2 freeway.) More from the LA Times.

September: Bad Month for Cars in Atwater Village

STILL NO WORD on the perps who liberated my car stereo back in June, but it looks like my vehicle became less interesting in the nick of time.
  • September 18: 41XX Perlita Ave,. Grand theft auto, reported at 9:30 p.m.
  • September 19: 39XX Boyce Ave., Theft from vehicle, reported at 10 p.m.
  • September 21: 39XX Boyce Ave., Grand theft auto, reported at 12:40 a.m.
  • September 24: 37XX Dover St., Theft from vehicle, Reported at 1:05 a.m.
My Atwater Village Crime Spree 2008 Map is updated.

September 28, 2008

Atwater Chatter: First Autumnal Weekend Edition

FIRST OF FALL NEWS from in and around the 8,000-ish-resident Los Angeles neighborhood we call Atwater Village.

September 26, 2008

Los Feliz Car Wash Charges $1 to Run Your Credit Card

Los Feliz Car Wash

ACCORDING TO THE hand-written note on the cash register, Los Feliz Car Wash in Atwater Village (3013 Los Feliz Blvd.) adds $1 to credit-card transactions of $8.99 or less.

So use a Visa card to pay for an "express" exterior wash, the one trumpeted on the large corner sign for $4.99, and ch-ching! It's $5.99. And it violates their merchant agreement with Visa:
"Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items. They also are not permitted to charge you a fee when you want to use your Visa card."
I talked them out of the 20% upcharge this time. "Don't tell the boss," I was warned. But this neighborhood joint isn't the only guilty party. Spend $8 at El Buen Gusto on Glendale Blvd., for example, and they round up your credit-card transaction to $10.

This "fee," common as it might be in these parts, also flies in the face of California Civil Code Section 1748.1:
"No retailer in any sales, service, or lease transaction with a consumer may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means."
How and why do these local shops get away with ignoring the rules? Do they just not know any better?

New 'Eastside' Blogs in My Blog-LA-Sphere

LET THE DEBATE RAGE about where the "east" side of LA starts and ends, as these 2 "eastside" blogs weigh in:

September 24, 2008

Someone Thinks This Del Taco is Amazing

Del Taco #162, 3020 Los Feliz Blvd.
WITH ALL THE dining options in our neighborhood, including the new location of Hugo's Tacos, I'm rarely tempted to bother with the nearby Del Taco fast-food joint. But other people are, and they survive to Yelp about it:
"Just AMAZING. As a lifelong devotee of the cheap bean burrito I can say that Del Taco has truly one upped Taco Bell.... It wasn't until I moved to California when I discovered this plush temple of burrito love. This particular location is the closest to me and therefore gets my business. It is convienent to The Roost, The Griffith and Bigfoot Lodge all hipster bars on the Blvd and it's 24 hour access trumps all other post-bar food options."

September 23, 2008

Update: $3.8 Million Loss from North Atwater Village Fire

HOT PHOTOS of the Sept. 21 fire on LAFD's Flickr set and the complete story on the LAFD blog:
It took approximately 126 LAFD Firefighters 39 minutes to call a knockdown on the fire. The cause of the fire to Systems Trade Printing, a well established Atwater business, was determined to be electrical. The significant dollar loss, mostly confined to the contents, was estimated at $3,800,000 [$300,000 structure, $3,500,000 contents]. One female was treated and transported by Glendale Fire to an area hospital.

September 21, 2008

Fire! North Atwater Village Commercial Building Burns

THE LOS ANGELES Fire Department at 9:49 a.m. Sunday reports "heavy fire showing in 1 story commercial building" at 4178 E. Chevy Chase Drive in North Atwater Village. Like they do with many fires around the city, we trust the LAFD will have this blaze extinguished within the hour.

UPDATE #1: Looks like this is the address of Systems Trade Printers, across from Chevy Chase Park, adjacent to residences, and next to tracks shared by Metrolink and Amtrak. (At the crossing where Juan Manuel Alvarez parked his Jeep Cherokee in 2005.)

UPDATE #2: CBS2 reports at least 5 battalions of Los Angeles and Glendale fire equipment are being sent.

UPDATE #3: An AV Forums post notes "10 fire trucks and two ambulances just sped down Brunswick towards Chevy Chase. We're also hearing helicopters."

UPDATE #4: CBS2 now reports more than 6 battalions have been sent, and that firefighters describe the burning building as a 2,000-square-foot paint manufacturing building, with part of it 2 stories high. They are "going into a defensive mode to keep flames from spreading to nearby structures."

UPDATE #5: CBS2 now reports 10:20 a.m. knockdown, half an hour after first report.

UPDATE #6: The LA Times files a report and KTLA does too, though they mysteriously reassign the Atwater Village neighborhood to the City of Glendale.

September 18, 2008

Glenoaks Blvd. is a Prettier Drive Than San Fernando Rd.

THERE ISN'T MUCH to appreciate about these recent San Fernando Road closures. For the glory of something called the Fairmount Avenue Extension Project my commute from Atwater Village to Burbank (ish) is bottlenecked to one lane each way. Sometimes the SFR is just plain closed.

Enter my detour, via Glenoaks Blvd. and Pacific Avenue. Where once were train tracks and day laborers, now I see palm trees and senior citizens. From strip clubs to Starbucks.

Yes, another Starbucks.

Hmm, maybe I should just take the 5.

September 17, 2008

Hazy Day at Los Feliz Golf Course

ENJOY A HALF-MINUTE of the 109-yard, par-3 eighth hole at Los Feliz Municipal Golf Course (made famous by the movie Swingers) in Atwater Village. Courtesy Wildbell's Flickr set. He shot a 4.

September 16, 2008

Meanwhile, Hugo's Tacos Has Opened in Atwater Village

AS ANTICIPATED here on the Newbie blog back in April, Studio City's Hugo's Tacos has expanded into Atwater Village. It's now open at 3300 Glendale Blvd.

Urban Daddy says Hugo's has "almost too many options," with "crunchy or soft shell, seven salsas (from mild to not-mild to Honey Chipotle) and seven fillings, from the usual chicken and steak to our favorite, the Soy Chorizo, Potato and Zucchini specialty."

Across from neighborhood mainstay Tacos Villa Corona, Hugo's may have a fighting chance (despite cheesy signage) if it maintains regular 11:00a.m. to 11:00p.m hours. And if it takes plastic.

UPDATE: And if they're not jerks about substitutions.

They Like Viet Noodle Bar, Even Though It's Cash Only

OUR FRIENDS AT the Franklin Avenue blog get communal at 3133 Glendale Blvd., for Rate-A-Restaurant #183: Viet Noodle Bar.

September 15, 2008

DFW: Demapped

I AM NOT, to admit the least, a fast reader. When I accepted the challenge of David Foster Wallace's 1,100-page Infinite Jest, I knew I was in for a long haul.

With life (and other reads) intervening, it's 3 years later1 and I still have 100 pages to go. But, sadly, as of Friday, I don't have David Foster Wallace

1. 2008, or Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

September 10, 2008

Atwater Village Puts Lipstick, Stylish Glasses, on Pig

How You Like Sarah Palin Now (1)
WE WERE ON OUR way home (from Home restaurant, Fletcher & Riverside, even) when we stopped cold in the left lane at Glendale Blvd. and Glenfeliz Rd.

"Quick! Let's come back with the camera!" I cried to Mrs. Newbie. "You drive, I'll shoot!"

And thus our slice of northeast Los Angeles weighs in on the whole Barack Obama Sarah Palin whose lipstick is on whom controversy.