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]