June 30, 2008

LA Helicopter Tour Part 9: Mount Lee to Pacoima

AND SO WE'VE come to the end of the road. And "road" it should be, as I learned, because helicopters often follow paved routes below. Especially when they're communicating with control towers and nearby aircraft. We were "northbound on the 170." Or, "southbound on the PCH." Even if you get above the traffic, you can't get away from it entirely.

Fly through the final segment of our journey with 42 photos from part 9 of our LA helicopter tour, Mount Lee to Pacoima.

Or sit back with a cold one and look through all 280 photos in our complete LA helicopter tour gallery.

Here's to next time.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

The Nickname You Get in Atwater Village

OUT THIS WEEK in limited release is Gunnin' For That #1 Spot, a high-school basketball documentary directed by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

Yauch comments on his b-ballin' days right here in Atwater Village for ESPN:
You go by MCA and Nathaniel Hornblower, but at the Rucker you earn your nickname. What was yours?

Oh, I don't think I got one. And Bobbito clearly says in the film that, at the Rucker, you don't nickname yourself. You get branded. So I wouldn't be so bold as to give myself one. Although I will say that at our own basketball court at Atwater, our recording studio [in Atwater Village, Calif.], the guys would call me "The Praying Mantis."

Wait, what?

I don't know. (Laughs) It's just my Atwater nickname. Maybe it was my technique -- praying mantis-style.

June 27, 2008

Convicted: Metrolink Murderer Could Face Death Penalty

ON THE BORDER of Glendale and Atwater Village, a jury said yesterday, Juan Manuel Alvarez triggered the deadliest Metrolink train crash in history. He parked his gasoline-soaked SUV near the Chevy Chase Drive rail crossing, January 26, 2005, injuring 180 and killing 11.

June 26, 2008

7 Things Caruso Could Learn from Disney

Tale of 2 Towers
MANY TIMES (like here and here and here) I’ve read this appraisal of Rick Caruso's new shopping extravaganza, The Americana at Brand: "It wasn't Vegas that came to mind when I set foot in the Americana. It was Disneyland."

As basis for real-life comparison -- and for other reasons better left unnamed -- I visited Disneyland (4 times) and the Americana (4 times) in the last month. And I must conclude, the Glendale mall is most certainly not the Anaheim theme park.

But if Caruso did want to be more Disney, here are 7 things the Americana could try:
  1. Gateways. Have one. Or two. Don't just jam people in from Glendale’s crosswalks and those overstuffed parking elevators. Ever see the jigs pedestrians have to dance to avoid knocking skulls in front of H&M?
  2. Crowd Flow. Get some. By the time they survive the square dance, shoppers are walking too hard to look at window displays. I wouldn’t want to pay rent on any slot between the entrance gauntlets and the central lawn.
  3. Planter Boxes. Level them. Flowers and soil don't do well on slopes. (Even if it never rains.) They look like an afterthought.
  4. Finished walls. You know those empty spaces above Katsuya? Do something with them. Theme them with whatever “Americana” is. They look like the architects went home early.
  5. Ground cover that isn't sod. Or just put the grass where people don’t want to walk. Unless it's more fun to keep replacing it. And replacing it.
  6. Rights to replicate the Eiffel Tower. Get some. If for no other reason than to avoid having a publicist call it a "top spire ... not intended as any kind of recreation of any other tower.”
  7. Flexible hours. On weekends the Americana gets hopping at 10:00pm, just as retailers close. Missed opportunity. Is it a Glendale ordinance? Shop managers' preference? One would think Caruso influence could change that.
On the other hand, there are at least 3 things Disney could learn from Caruso:
  • Bathroom Attendants. A dollar for a spotless restroom? Sold.
  • Condos. Who wouldn't want to live in Cinderella's Castle?
  • Coffee. Let in the chain-store baristas already!

Newest Tasting at 55 Degree Wine? Beer!

WHAT A CONCEPT. The neighborhood's favorite basement hangout - the tasting room at 55 Degree Wine, 3111 Glendale Blvd. - is getting sudsy. Monday is its summer beer tasting, called Red, White & Brew. Taste 4 ales and a lambic for $15. Reservations required at (323) 662-5556, because, well, who else is doing beer tastings around here?

June 25, 2008

Gang Knew About This Morning's Glassell Park Raid?


View Larger Map
AN INTERESTING COMMENT on an LA Times blog about today's 4:00am Glassell Park raid:
The Drew St. gang started moving out at 11:00PM though 3:00AM last night. Hit tagging from ER Blvd through Ave 50 to Ave 54 (Avenue's territory) on about twenty homes.
Makes it sound like the Avenue gang's Drew Street clique escaped by leaving directional breadcrumbs for their brethren in the form of spray-painted homes all over Glassell Park and Eagle Rock, perhaps re-carving territory while they were at it.

It goes on.

Pre-Dawn Raid: Culmination of 10-Month Investigation

MORE ON TODAY'S pre-dawn raid, with more than 500 officers arresting dozens of Avenues gang members, the culmination of a 10-month investigation, just across San Fernando Road from Atwater Village:
Several of the gang's members have been indicted for murder, drug trafficking, carjacking, home invasion robberies and witness intimidation.

Does this mean it's safe again for late-night tacos on Fletcher Drive?

Resurrected Gang Member Now Officially Dead

AFTER A DOCUMENTED gang member was shot and killed in broad daylight near Perlita and Veselich avenues in Atwater Village, the LA Times reported he had been brought back to life by doctors.

Not so fast, the newspaper's homicide blog now reports:
Steven Scott Farrell, 20, a white man, died from a gunshot wound at County-USC Medical Center at 9:18 p.m. Monday, June 9...

According to Det. Jose Carillo of the LAPD's Northeast Division ... rival gang members chased after Farrell, and when they caught up to his car they began shooting. Carillo said Farrell was struck in the head and crashed into a parked car.
Though the paper didn't specify which gang collected Farrell's dues, one wonders if he would have been part of this morning's Glassell Park bust, had he not already been hit a couple of weeks ago.

Glassell Park Early-Morning Crackdown

THE POLICE AND NEWS helicopters above Atwater Village since 4:00am have been circling an early-morning crackdown on the Drew Street gang in the neighboring northeast LA neighborhood of Glassell Park.

CBS2 this morning shows local and federal law enforcement surrounding apartment buildings between Forest Lawn cemetery and the 2 freeway, serving warrants on suspected members of "a splinter group of the larger Avenues gang that has been linked to numerous and violent crimes in the area."

Thanks for the wake-up call, cops. See if you can get my stereo back.

June 21, 2008

LA Helicopter Tour Part 8: Silver Lake to Mount Lee


Rowena Reservoir, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

HEY LOS FELIZ hipsters, see if you can spot where you live in one of my 25 photos from part 8 of our Los Angeles helicopter tour, Silver Lake to Mount Lee.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

Atwater Village is Decidedly 'Out of the Way'

AND IF YOU believe that, you might also believe Silver Lake is an "artistic enclave." From a Wisebread article on strategic thriftstore shopping:
"My best friend Lysa is coocoo for expensive art books and cookbooks. Her number one thriftstore? A branch of Out of the Closet in out of the way Atwater village in Los Angeles. Because it's out of the way and because the people donating are largely from nearby Silverlake (an artistic enclave). Books that would cost up to $100 she winds up getting for $1. Her best find? A $7 cursive typewriter."

June 18, 2008

'Heron, Geese, Ducks ... and Shopping Carts'

LA CITY COUNCIL president Eric Garcetti brings nature back in a 44-second video tour of the Los Angeles River, as it flows through Atwater Village, during last weekend's cleanup.

LA Helicopter Tour Part 7: Downtown to Silver Lake


Bunker Hill, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

OF ALL THE PLACES we'd see on our Los Angeles helicopter tour, I most looked forward to downtown LA. I wanted that iconic aerial downtown photo, the famous establishing shot in LA movies and TV shows.

In fact, we paid extra just so I could shoot the coast and downtown. (They're usually separate tours.) But then, unfortunately and unknowingly, I broke a cardinal rule of aerial photography.

Don't.

Wear.

White.

You see, a white shirt reflects light from the outside (sun) onto the inside (window) of the helicopter. A white shirt can wash out your pictures. A white shirt can ruin your $480 helicopter tour.

Luckily this day was mostly cloudy and, thanks, to the near-panoramic bubble windows on the copter, I was able to shoot around my own reflection. Mostly.

I won't clog the Internet with images of my shirt (or, sadly, the still-elusive, iconic shot of downtown LA) but you can see the rest of them on part 7 of our LA helicopter tour, downtown to Silver Lake.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 16, 2008

Atwater Gunshot Death Downgraded to 'Death Imminent'

ONE OF THE deadliest weekends this year in Los Angeles got slightly less deadly with this update of the LA Times homicide report:
LAPD Northeast Division: A 20-year-old white man was shot and killed near Perlita and Veselich avenues near Atwater Village at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Update: Authorities said Monday, June 9, that the man had been pronounced dead, but was later brought back to life by doctors. His condition was listed as "death imminent". HR will follow up on this incident.
Edit: Hey, as long as they're going to resurrect the guy, how about asking for an eyewitness description of his killer?

LA Helicopter Tour Part 6: Hollywood to Downtown

THIS IS WHERE Los Angeles gets serious. Enough of the frivolity of the beaches, the west side, the country clubs, the Sunset Strip. On part 6, we fly from Hollywood to Downtown. Over serious Koreatown. Over a serious studio. (No theme park! Get over it!) Over serious Wilshire Blvd. Over a law school and a cemetery. And finally toward those serious tall buildings in the distance.

Take a gander at 31 photos from part 6 of our helicopter tour, Hollywood to downtown LA.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 14, 2008

Car Wash Treats Workers Well, Could Get Replaced

FAVORITE NEW neighboring neighborhood blog Tropico Station has details about the 218-unit Glendale Triangle complex proposed for Los Feliz and San Fernando roads.

The problem: my favorite car wash is there. Grumpy Yelp reviews aside, California Car Wash Details employees seem to be treated well, have clean uniforms, a shorter work day and better dispositions than those as nearby venues. (Looking at you, Galleria Car Wash.)

With so much attention lately on carwash worker rights, it's a shame we might lose one of the good ones.

June 13, 2008

Last Night's LAPD Swarm Ends in Peace

FROM OUR Atwater Village Neighborhood Council forum, we learn that last night's full-force sweep of North Atwater Village was to chase an armed alleged gangsta. With 17 vehicles and a helicopter or 2, LAPD caught him and arrested him on a parole violation. No one hurt. No shots fired.

LA Helicopter Tour Part 5: Hollywood & Highland

WALK OF FAME, El Capitan, Grauman's Chinese, Kodak Theatre, Roosevelt Hotel, TV Guide, Yamashiro, Magic Castle. See them all in part 5 of our LA helicopter tour, in 24 photos of our loop around Hollywood & Highand.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

LA Helicopter Tour Part 4: Westwood to Hollywood


Who Lives Here?, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

LIFESTYLES OF THE rich and famous - and the young and revelrous - all come into focus in part 4 of our LA helicopter tour, Westwood to Hollywood.

This stretch is where the pilot makes bold, unverifiable claims about who lives where. "That's Paris Hilton's house!" "That's the Playboy Mansion!" OK, dude, if you say so. It's not like they were clickable. Flying in a helicopter isn't at all like flying in Google Earth. But how cool would that be.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 12, 2008

This Just In: North Atwater Village Crackdown

FROM A DEDICATED reader just before 9:00pm: "Yo, Newbie. We live on Brunswick, just about two blocks south of Chevy Chase. We just saw 14 police cars zoom past our house, lights and sirens going, headed towards Chevy Chase. After a short pause, another 3 zoomed past. There's a helicopter over what appears to be the Chevy Chase community center park. Wonder what's going on now? I didn't know that the entire North East Division even OWNED 17 cop cars!"

As of 9:20pm, the helicopter seems to have flown off.

UPDATE: After 11:00pm, and helicopter still hovering near Chevy Chase Park.

UPDATE: Now 11:30pm, and news of a perimeter around portions of North Atwater Village, LAPD looking for an armed suspect.

UPDATE: 11:40pm, and I say LAPD needs Twitter.

UPDATE: Further updates on the AVNC Forum.

June 11, 2008

Acronyms Pouring Into LA River This Weekend

FROM THE Newbie inbox:
Heal the Bay, along with several other diverse groups such as the NAACP, PAVA and ANAHUAK will be cleaning the soft-bottomed Glendale Narrows section of the LA River this Saturday morning. At least 2,000 people are expected and all community members are invited! No experience is required.
Tell everyone not to worry about the arundo.

LA Helicopter Tour Part 3: Malibu to Westwood


Beach Tent, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

EVERY TIME we go to the beach, we can't help but notice a helicopter (or 2) (or 3) fly by over the ocean. And we usually think, enviously, who the heck is that guy? Well, for a few glorious moments a couple of weekends ago, Mrs. Newbie and I were that guy. Fly through 33 photos from part 3 of our LA helicopter tour, Malibu to Westwood.

Oh, and if anyone knows what the heck building this is (and what Santa Monica intersection it's on) give me a shout. I'm befuddled.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 10, 2008

Atwater Village's Gas-Mart Tops It Off at $4.69

AT LEAST the purveyors of petrol at this Gas-Mart on the corner of Glendale and Glenfeliz never have to worry about being too busy.

This Sunday they offered a gallon of gas for $4.69, more than 30 cents higher than other neighborhood stations a mile away on Los Feliz Blvd.

Since Memorial Day weekend this Gas-Mart has hiked prices by 54 cents a gallon. That's 13% in 2 weeks!

To put a finer point on it, if the federal government suddenly stopped charging its 18.4-cent fuel tax, that would barely put prices back to last Wednesday.

June 9, 2008

Update the Crime Map: Murder This Weekend


View Atwater Village Crime Map
AT 7:45PM it's still light out, isn't it? Does this homicide qualify as occurring in broad daylight, then? From the LA Times weekend homicide report:
LAPD Northeast Division: A 20-year-old white man was shot and killed near Perlita and Veselich avenues near Atwater Village at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

June 8, 2008

LA Helicopter Tour Part 2: Van Nuys to Malibu

A LOT OF POOLS, tennis courts, hills and valleys. Just what you'd expect to see flying over the Santa Monica Mountains between Van Nuys and Malibu. Plus a few horses. And some mysterious festival in Topanga Canyon.

The Flickr set is up: see 37 photos from part 2 of our LA helicopter tour.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 6, 2008

Home Restaurant Coming to Atwater Village (Adjacent)

ANSWERING the Newbie email inbox:
Hey, I looked at some older posts on the blog, but I cannot find the info on this... Do you know what this new "Home" place is on Fletcher right off the 5 (I think at Riverside?)? I noticed it yesterday and it seemed pretty cute. Any idea? Thanks! Loyal reader
Why yes, loyal reader, I do! Rather, Eater LA does:
Aram Serobian will open a second Home Restaurant in the Rudolpho's space "in a few weeks," according to one Home staffer. The original on Hillhurst in Los Feliz, we're told, is not closing.
As a fan of the original Home Restaurant, I admit this is quite an exciting development for all of us in Atwater Village. (And Atwater Village adjacent.)

LA Helicopter Tour Part 1: Pacoima to Van Nuys


Van Nuys Airport, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

CULLING THROUGH hundreds of our Los Angeles helicopter tour photographs - mapping them, labeling them, tagging them - has been, to tell an inside joke, the Infinite Jest of photo projects. I divided the tour into 9 segments, and just finished my Flickr gallery for Part 1, Pacoima to Van Nuys.

This was my first ride in a helicopter so no, I was not at all disappointed to spend so much time flying over the Valley en route to more picturesque destinations. Interesting on this leg was how much construction still goes on in Sun Valley, Arleta, North Hills and Panorama City.

Also, it's cool to fly over an airport! Take a look at 33 photos from Part 1. Parts 2 to 9 to come.

LOS ANGELES HELICOPTER TOUR | Pacoima to Van Nuys | Van Nuys to Malibu | Malibu to Westwood | Westwood to Hollywood | Hollywood & Highland | Hollywood to Downtown LA | Downtown LA to Silver Lake | Silver Lake to Mount Lee | Mount Lee to Pacoima

June 5, 2008

Atwater Chatter: Street Festival Anticipation Edition

WHILE NEIGHBORHOOD bakers ready their recipes (Mrs. Newbie is, alas, sitting out Sunday's cookie contest) the news from in and around Atwater Village goes on:

Celebrated Salad - For chef Corina Weibel of Canele, the flavors of Morocco serve as inspiration for her colorful beet salad, a vivid combination of red and gold beets tossed with baby carrots, tender bundles of m√Ęche (the salad green) and paper-thin slices of lemon. [LA Times]

Coming Arundo Again - In just a few weeks, the LA River re-greens itself, despite City Council's best efforts. [Nature Trumps]

Red Car Redux - California high-speed rail will affect Atwater Village - but how? [AVNC Forum]

Bring Back Green Week - Last year the DWP had a a "green week" of walking only nights during the Holiday Festival of Lights. [Friends of AV]

June 4, 2008

Now's a Good Time for a Neighborhood Watch Meeting

IF I DO say so myself.
Atwater Village Neighborhood Watch Meeting
Wednesday June 11, 6:30 p.m.
Atwater Village Branch Library
3379 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles 90039

June 3, 2008

Crime Spree? What Crime Spree?


View Atwater Village Crime Spree 2008 Map
HELLO NEIGHBORHOOD Officer Gina Chovan – This morning I filed an LAPD report via telephone and am following up via email with you.

My Honda Civic was broken into, sometime between June 2, 6:30pm, and June 3, 8:30am, in the 3700 block of Valleybrink Road in Atwater Village.

Missing this morning were a $400 in-dash AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, a handful of coins, and the vehicle's manual.

The right rear triangular window was popped out, not broken, and left on the rear seat. All other contents of the vehicle, including CDs, were left scattered on seats and on the floor. The driver's seat was left in a fully reclined position. All vehicle doors were left closed but unlocked.

Thank you and Northeast division for your attention.

Sincerely,
Atwater Village Newbie

P.S. - I think this might be part of a larger problem.

June 2, 2008

In Search of Bullet-Proof Spycams

WHAT'S THE HALFLIFE of public safety improvements at Chevy Chase Park in North Atwater Village? About the time it takes a bullet to leave the chamber. From City Council District 13's June 2008 Atwater Village report:
Chevy Chase Park Public Safety: CD13 has been working on two security cameras at the park. Trees have been trimmed, and camera placement agreed upon. The cameras will be on two poles on opposite ends of the park. Radio signal had been established to Northeast Station. Unfortunately, one camera was mounted and immediately shot out. CD13 is now considering what the best option is for moving forward with Anti-Ballistic camera casing. We are trying to find another vendor that will stick to our timeline, but this is proving a challenge.

Alfred Hitchcock Meets Atwater Village

CHECK OUT THE stunning recreation of a shot from The Birds, along the Los Angeles River in our neighborhood, by photographer Alex Prager.

Universal City, a Week Before the Fire


Universal City, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.