March 31, 2009

'Go Inside, Lock Your Doors'

Hot Pursuit
THERE BETTER be a good explanation for this.

9:30pm: At least 2 police helicopters have been circling an area around Sunnynook Drive in central Atwater Village. Searchlights on, supported by a handful of LAPD street cruisers.

9:40pm: Voice from the sky proclaims to us all something like, "Turn off your lights. Go inside. Lock your doors." We did.

9:50pm: Are there 3 more copters up there? A bit higher, might be TV.

10:00pm: A couple of helicopters remain, no searchlights, hovering in place.

10:04pm: KCAL 9 reports a boy, 17, gunned down in Atwater Village. Police on the hunt for 2 men seen running away from the scene on Glenmanor Place.

10:10pm: FOX 11 reports from above; 9:15pm LAPD gets report of shots fired in 2900 block of Glenmanor Place; 17-year-old boy with gunshot wound to head; paramedics pronounce victim dead on scene; officers combing entire neighborhood; "very large perimeter set up."

10:20pm: Quiet again. Choppers gone. Neighbors out walking dogs. But ... should they?

10:35pm: KCAL/CBS has video online.

7:30am the next day: ABC 7 now saying the victim was "a 20-year-old gang member" shot "once in the head and declared dead at the scene" by a suspect "described as a man about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall."

2:30pm the next day: CBS/KCAL now saying the victim was 19-year-old Joey Romo.

(Is it worth noting this is the second Romo kid killed in 4 years? Michael "Mikey" Romo, a recent high-school grad at the time, was gunned down gunned down Dec. 31, 2005.)

5:00pm the next day: LAist is saying the late Joey Romo was in "an argument" on the block when the shooting happened.

10:00pm the next day: LAPD Captain Bill Murphy calls it a "gang-related homicide" and reports "numerous shots were fired." He's asking for witnesses to call Northeast Homicide, (213) 847-4261.

More: Chatter on the AVNC forum.

March 30, 2009

Bigger Menace: Screeching Tires or Skateboarders?

New TriangleTHE NEW $110,000 triangle at Dover, Glenfeliz and Valleybrink is designed to prevent vehicles from doing dangerous donuts in the middle of this 5-way residential intersection. Still under construction, the new triangular curb is already attracting another annoyance, according to an AVNC forum post: skateboarders.

Just wait till summer, when who knows whatall could happen here in the neighborhood's tiniest pocket park. Picnickers? Lemonade stands? Eric Garcetti for Governor rallies? Stay tuned.

March 29, 2009

Best BBQ in LA?

RAVES FOR Bigmista's Barbecue, sold at a few LA farmers markets, including Atwater Village on Sundays, 10:00am, 3250 Glendale Blvd. (Go early!) Chowhounders love it. Yelpers love it. Any neighbors try it?

Prix-Fixe Springtime at Canele in Atwater Village

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT Canele (3219 Glendale Blvd.) marks spring's arrival by adding 3 fixed-price meals to its usual menu of deliciousness:
  • Tuesday: Caesar Salad, Ziti with Tuna & Tomato Sauce, Prunes with Mascarpone
  • Wednesday: Butter Lettuce with Green Goddess Dressing, Meatloaf with Mashers & Carrots, Ice Cream Sundae
  • Thursday: Fennel & Citrus Salad, Porcini Risotto with Mascarpone, Cantucci & Vin Santo
Get all 3 courses for $22 plus beverage, tax, tip. We memorized Canele's regular menu, so we're looking forward to sampling the new springtime fare.

The Roost? Definitely in Atwater Village

The RoostFROM A WEBSITE called Examiner that wants to "get inside Los Angeles" there's an interesting bit of geographical misplacement in this article about the life and death of musician Elliott Smith:
"...In Los Feliz (or Atwater Village, depending on who you talk to) at 3100 Los Feliz Boulevard, is a bar called the Roost where Elliott drank. They apparently have him on the jukebox, which is rare, even in Los Angeles."
Depending on who you talk to? Who is this rogue agent trying to re-define neighborhood boundaries?

For comparison and future reference, here's a reliable map of the Los Feliz neighborhood and one of our own Atwater Village neighborhood.

Voila. Two distinct neighborhoods, separated by a 6-lane freeway, a river and a couple of bridge systems. No matter who you talk to.

March 27, 2009

Complain Complain: Dance Annex Too Noisy, Shut Down

JUST SHY OF ITS second anniversary at 3191 Casitas Ave. in Atwater Village, the dance studio formerly known as the Annex of Heartbeat House is closing. From today's Heartbeat House newsletter:
"As of 3/27/09, we will no longer be holding regular classes at the Annex Studio on Casitas that we recently opened. The other tenants in the building were not comfortable with the noise and loud music! All classes - Monday's Awesome 80's Dance Party and Tuesday's Zumba - will be back at our main studio on Glendale Blvd. immediately. Thursday's Zumba is cancelled until further notice... In the meantime we will continue to look for another larger space!"
Till then, the main Heartbeat House studio continues to make noise at 3141 Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village.

For Sale: LA's Largest House, $150 Million

Spelling Manor, Holmby HillsTHIS PHOTO I shot last year during our helicopter tour of Los Angeles is suddenly a bit more popular, up from its usual 30 daily views to more than 2,000 so far today. (Update: More than 30,000 additional views since this story broke.)

This is Spelling Manor in Holmby Hills (Google map), the largest house in LA County and now the most expensive residential real-estate listing in the US:
  • $150,000,000 list price
  • 56,500 square feet
  • 100+ rooms
  • 17,000 sq ft attic w/ beauty salon
  • 4.6 acres of land
  • 16 carports
  • Built in 1991
The mansion is being sold by Candy Spelling, widow of late TV magnate Aaron Spelling. (We learned last night at a WGA forum that Aaron, the man behind Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and 90210 was once approached with the concept for ABC's Lost. Imagine that!)

Don't fear for Candy, though, even in this recession. She's downsizing to a $47 milion, 2-story condo at The Century tower in Century City. I bet you could talk her down to $140 million for the mansion.

March 25, 2009

Still Waiting on That Economic Bailout

BACK IN SEPTEMBER 2007, I proudly opened an ING Direct Savings account. Times were good a year and a half ago. ING was offering an impressive (for a basic online savings account) 4.22% interest rate.

Then the Bush recession hit. And it hit hard. As of March 2009, the same ING savings account has a 1.49% interest rate. That's about one third what it was when I opened the account.

In the meantime, life in LA hasn't gotten any cheaper. Not that anyone can live off interest from savings, but it would be nice to know that each month's payout could at least afford a bottle of Italian red from 55 Degrees. Now it's barely enough for 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joes.

OK, middle-class rant off. Back to your local neighborhood gossip. That new curb cut at the Dover and Glenfeliz intersection is coming along nicely, eh?

March 23, 2009

Help a Neighbor Get Clean

I HAVE TO admit I'm a little washed up on this topic. We scored with in-home washer/dryer. Can anyone else help?
"I don't know who else to turn to. I'm staying with my girl in Atwater Village, but she's out of town and her laundry machine is busted. Has been for about a week. I HAVE to do laundry tonight as it's my only free night this whole week. Do you know of a laundromat in Atwater? Preferably one where the Toonerville gang won't cut holes in the crotches of all my shorts/undershorts, but really, any old laundromat will do."
Help him in the comments section or email me.

UPDATE: Reader responds, "Awesome. For real. I got the post and the responses and am on my way out the door! I'll probably hit the one next to Dinah's because...well...DINAH'S. But also, Sepan Chicken.

Keeping Track of Your Door-to-Door Neighborhood Scams

Mini CurbWE MUST LOOK like a bunch of suckers in Atwater Village. Luckily, even suckers know when to call the authorities.

Curb Painting Scam - Guy knocks on door. Wants to paint your curb. (Or already did.) Tries to collect payment. Repeats. Repeats belligerently.
  • Problem: If he's not with Care for the Children, he's not authorized to paint curbs in LA.
  • His goal: Your money, your checks, your identification.
  • What to do: Don't pay. Call LA's Bureau of Street Services, 213-847-6000.
Newspaper Subscription Scam - Guy knocks on door. Tries to sell you newspaper subscription. When he fails, asks to "come in" to "use your phone" and "call my manager."
  • Problem: Wouldn't a legit LA Daily News salesman knock on every door on the block? And have his own way to call "his manager"?
  • His goal: your money, your stuff or worse.
  • What to do: Don't subscribe. Don't let him in. Call LAPD Northeast, 213-485-2563.
Digital Phone Changeover Scam - Guy knocks on door. Tells you there's a switch to digital phone mandated by the FCC. Offers to help.
  • Problem: There is no such FCC mandate.
  • His goal: Your money, access to your house, or worse.
  • What to do: Don't let him in. Might as well call LAPD Northeast, 213-485-2563.

March 20, 2009

Beware the Door-to-Door Newspaper Salesman

LOS ANGELES POLICE patrol cars are out tonight in Atwater Village looking for a door-to-door con artist who claims to be selling subscriptions to the LA Daily News. He comes to your door, pitches the unlikely newspaper subs, then when the refusal comes he asks to "use" something of yours inside your home: "Can I use your phone to call my manager?"

I'm not sure what the play is from there, but it could very well involve overpowering and theft. Or worse. If you see a short, squat, shifty Hispanic dude in a dark hoodie skipping a lot of doors in his door-to-door "sales" technique, call LAPD Northeast Division at (213) 485-2563.

Atwater Village Neighborhood Photo of the Week

NATE RACING THE MAGNUM, originally uploaded by jaredeberhardt.

IT'S NOT ONE of my photos, but it's a good one!

March 19, 2009

Clarified: Waste Plant May Be Near (Not At) Levitz Site

Exchange and CutterAS EARLIER REPORTED here on the Newbie blog, the City of Los Angeles is considering the old Levitz Furniture site in North Atwater Village (5375 West San Fernando Road) for a facility that would convert garbage to usable energy. Today comes a slight clarification from LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge's office, via Sunroom Desk:
Councilman LaBonge suggested the River Glen area of Atwater, near the Levitz site but not necessarily the existing building. The Bureau of Sanitation is currently conducting an analysis of this and other sites around the City and will report their findings and feasibility recommendations to the Council members.
Words theirs, italics mine. So consider it clarified. And prepare your comments and questions for the next Department of Public Works workshop for North Central LA: Tuesday March 24, 6:00 p.m., El Centro Del Pueblo, 1157 Lemoyne Street.

March 18, 2009

Yesterday's LA River Shoot in Atwater Village

DON'T WORRY, it was a shoot. Not a shooting. See a few behind-the-scenes photos from a short-film production (mullet? sledgehammer?) on location yesterday along the Los Angeles River in Atwater Village:

March 17, 2009

How to Feed 600 Tables on St. Patrick's Day

THE OLDEST RESTAURANT in Los Angeles (operated by the same family in the same location) is Tam O' Shanter Inn, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd. in Atwater Village. My Fox LA's Gigi Graciette investigates the Scottish restaurant's Irish dinner prep for St. Patrick's Day. The Toad in the Hole is a must.

March 16, 2009

Beastie Boys Reissue First Atwater Village Album

BEASTIE BOYS are reissuing their third album, Check Your Head, in a remastered collectors edition March 30, 2009. Check Your Head, with tracks like "So Whatcha Want" and "Pass the Mic," was the first B Boys album recorded at the band's G-Son studios here in Atwater Village (3218 1/2 Glendale Blvd.) in 1991.

Also: the Boys headline the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, Sept. 24, 2009.

March 12, 2009

LA Times Commenter Would Split Atwater Village 3 Ways

THE NEIGHBORHOOD mapping project produced by the LA Times has solicited healthy debate about where Los Angeles communities begin, end and overlap.

But this comment on the Atwater Village neighborhood map is an interesting study in micro-geography:
  • Toonerville (Los Feliz Blvd., L.A. River, San Fernando Rd. and Colorado Blvd.)
  • Glenfeliz (I-5, Los Feliz Blvd., San Fernando Rd., and Glendale Blvd.)
  • Atwater (Glendale Blvd., Fletcher Dr., I-5 and San Fernando Rd.)
Never mind the wisdom of associating a neighborhood with the Toonerville gang (or the fact that the train tracks, not San Fernando Rd., are the natural eastern border of both city and neighborhood).

But is there something to this 3-way split? What are the differences, perceived or real, between the 3 Atwater Villages?

March 11, 2009

This Sunday: River Walk in Atwater Village

THIS SUNDAY, March 15, Friends of the Los Angeles River hosts an afternoon walk along the Glendale Narrows in Atwater Village. See birds! Fish! Yoga Park! (Wait, there's a Yoga Park?) FOLAR suggests a $5 donation for non-members. Meet 3:30pm Sunday, March 15th at the end of Dover Street.

March 9, 2009

Trash-to-Energy Plant in North Atwater Village?

Exchange and Cutter
WORD ON THE STREET is that the City of Los Angeles is considering a site in North Atwater Village for a facility that will convert garbage to usable energy.

The former site of Levitz Furniture, 5375 West San Fernando Road, near the 5 and 134 freeways, is a likely candidate for a plant that would be part of the City's Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan. It could process as much as 20 percent of LA's trash.

Comments and questions at the next Department of Public Works workshop for North Central LA: Tuesday March 24, 6:00 p.m., El Centro Del Pueblo, 1157 Lemoyne Street.

March 6, 2009

We're Totally Bidding on Night in Canele's Kitchen

THIS SATURDAY is a silent auction to benefit Atwater Village's Glenfeliz Elementary School. Among the auction items: a night in the kitchen at Canele Restaurant. Come one, come all:

March 5, 2009

This Kid Should Be Happy Now

Pay Manny
THIS KID AT Sunday's spring training opening game in Glendale, AZ proudly opined that the LA Dodgers should pay Manny Ramirez what he wants. Happy now, kid? And will you be contributing part of your allowance to help pay your $45 million friend?

March 4, 2009

For Kogi BBQ, Here's a Map of Atwater Village

YOU'D THINK a rolling restaurant that relies on good graces of the neighborhoods it invades might not be so flippant, but here it is.

Our Twitter follower Jory invited the famous Korean BBQ taco truck to Atwater Village and got this in reply: "Nobody knows where that is."

Well, Kogi peeps, it's here. In northeast Los Angeles. Major throughstreets are Los Feliz Blvd. and Glendale Blvd., just east of I-5. Coordinates 34.11639 degrees north, 118.25556 degrees west. Since 1912.

But I supposed smart marketers park their taco trucks in more popular locales, right? And I'm sure everyone's heard of places like Santa Monica. By the way, how's Santa Monica working out for you, Kogi BBQ? Getting more than 3 people in line yet?

March 3, 2009

Turns Out Vehicle Burglaries Really Are Up

THIS JUST IN about crime in the park across the river, with tips from our friends at the Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Station:
Attention Northeast Community Members: Recently there have been a rash of vehicle burglaries in Griffith Park. Don't give thieves a chance. Here's what you can do to prevent car burglaries and thefts:
  1. Never leave valuables in PLAIN VIEW in your car. Thieves know that you hide your property under towels, sweaters and packages. Secure items in your trunk prior to arriving at location. Thieves are watching you.
  2. Use some type of anti-theft device (alarm system, or steering lock).
  3. Park in well-lighted or high-traffic areas.
  4. Permanently mark your property with identification. (We suggest your driver license or ID card number).
  5. Keep serial numbers of electronic equipment, such as computers, IPODS, GPS, and cellular telephones.
  6. Never leave your car running unattended.
  7. Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up.
  8. Don't leave personal identification documents in car (Vehicle Ownership Title, credit cards etc.) Keep copies of license plate and vehicle identification number with you.
  9. If your car is stolen or burglarized, immediately report it to the police.
  10. Report suspicious activity or people loitering in the area.
If you have any information on auto related crimes or on auto related crimes or on suspects committing these crimes in your neighborhood, call Detectives at (213) 847-4265.
Good advice all around. Read more about last August's multi-vehicle breakins in Atwater Village and my own run-in with theft-from-vehicle last June.

Welcome, Lifehacker Readers

WELCOME TO ALL the newcomers referred by Lifehacker's March 1 post about our friends' garage makeover.

This blog is primarily about Atwater Village, my northeast Los Angeles neighborhood for the last 3 years. (Still a newbie? Discuss.)

View my pictures of our hood on Flickr and follow me on Twitter if you'd like. See more Atwater Village and LA links in my lists on the left. Thanks for stopping by and spiking my stats!

(Geekout: On an average day AVN sports about 200 visits, 300 page views. Yesterday: 948 visits, 1,259 page views.)