February 26, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a (Really) Good Brownie?

Brownies for the Soul
THIS WEEKEND we stopped by the month-old Atwater Village takeout counter of Sweets for the Soul, 3169 Glendale Blvd.

Among bakeries in Los Angeles, this one is quite focused. One primary product, brownies. And one primary flavor, chocolate. That's it. Chocolate brownies.

But what they do, they do right. We took home 2 Obama brownies (white chocolate and dark chocolate) and 2 Cocoa Bliss brownies (Valrhona cocoa and Valrhona chocolate).

Total damage: $16. Yes, that's $4 per brownie. But the heart-shaped goodies have lasted all week and become a chocoholic nightcap to dream about all day.

The store might start experimenting with additional products and a new flavor or 2 this spring. Till then, they won't mess with perfection.

Food GPS and Reservation for Three also have reviews of Sweets for the Soul.

February 24, 2009

The Dave of Dave's Accordion School

Dave & Veronika Caballero, originally uploaded by Michael R Perry.

READ THEIR Atwater Village story on Michael R. Perry's Flickr page.

The Truth About LA Freeways

ONE OF MY favorite reads, the Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times, reveals some answers to its quiz about transportation and urbanization in Los Angeles. Among the revelations:
  • LA freeway system ranks second in the nation (after New York) in lane mileage
  • But LA ranks "dead last" in freeway lane miles per resident
  • Only about three-fifths of the lane mileage envisioned in LA's 1959 master plan was ever completed

February 23, 2009

Curb Get Painted Recently? Call the BOSS

Mini CurbIF YOUR CURB got painted recently, with or without your consent, by an organization called Curbs USA, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services (BOSS) wants to hear from you. From a reader:
According to Senior Inspector Rodney Lucas, the only organization allowed to paint the curbs in LA is Care for the Children ...

If you received one of these notices [from Curbs USA] and you see these individuals painting in your neighborhood, please call Sr. Inspector Lucas at 213-847-6000. They would like to catch them in the act.

If your curbs were already painted and these individuals knock on your door requesting their 'donation,' you can refuse to pay them and call the police. It's highly unlikely that this organization is a non profit and your 'donation' will actually be payment for services and not tax deductible.
Here's the text of the Curbs USA notice left on many Atwater Village doorsteps:

Curbs will be repainting the address numbers on the curb in your neighborhood. We use white traffic zone paint 4" black numerals increasing the visibility of your address number day and night for emergency vehicles or deliveries.

Work will begin in 1-5 days a representative will be in the area after the work is completed. We ask for a voluntary donation of $13.00 or have your curb done with a design for $20.00 we have U.S. Flag, Marine Corp, Navy Seals, yellow ribbon, also sport logos (football) we have the Raiders, Rams, Panthers,(in basketball) we have the Lakers, Clippers, Miami Heat, (in baseball) we have the Dodgers, also palm tree scenery to have your curb painted with a choice of design(s).

Donations are collected after work is completed. Checks accepted payable to Curbs U.S.A., P.O. BOX 39141 DOWNEY CA 90239

February 22, 2009

And Then There's Yahoo's LA Neighborhood Maps

LOST IN THE hullabaloo over the Los Angeles Times attempt to document LA neighborhood boundaries is Yahoo Maps. It turns out Yahoo already provides labels and pastel color overlays for each LA neighborhood. They even mark neighborhoods for surrounding cities like Glendale and Pasadena. Not sure what Yahoo's sources are, but at least around here in northeast LA they're getting it right. Check!

February 20, 2009

City Promises to Keep Original Look of Glendale-Hyperion Bridge

EASTSIDER L.A. has a good look at the $36.5 million Glendale-Hyperion bridge renovation project. LA's Bureau of Engineers will try to replicate the original look of the bridge system, built 1928-1930 to connect Atwater Village with Silver Lake and points southwestward. The project begins in 2011.

February 19, 2009

Our Submission to Lifehacker's Workspace Show-and-Tell

The Workspace
GIVE FULL CREDIT to Mrs. Newbie for finding a way to help our San Diego friends build a workable full-time quilting space from a garage packed to the roof with moving boxes. Here's what it took, from the stats we submitted for a future edition of Lifehacker's Featured Workspace:

The $1,200 Quilty-as-Charged Garage Makeover
  • 3-day weekend
  • 5 friends
  • $975 worth of TROFAST storage from Ikea: 8 tall shelf units, 6 short shelf units, 51 small buckets (perfect for small fabric squares), 30 medium buckets, 8 large buckets
  • $150 dumpster rental
  • 4 levels of 6-foot Elfa shelves (already in the garage)
  • 2 existing bookcases (for decades worth of quilting magazines and books)
  • 36 squares of FLOR carpet, "bright stripes" and "bright solids," on wicked clearance sale, less than $15/6, found by scouring 5 different Target stores in Southern California
  • 1 existing Koala sewing table
The resulting space was put together with blood, sweat, tears, sheer will and an electric drill an with Allen wrench (hex key) attachment. (This was Ikea shelving, after all.)

The completed room keeps 50+ years of quilting materials all in one place, with great indirect light from the garage door and spotlighting at the sewing table.

Privacy for the quilter in the garage. Safety for the pre-schoolers in the house. Sanity returned to the family. And Mrs. Newbie left thinking she should charge for the service.

See the whole Flickr photo set.

Curb Painted, Whether You Want It or Not

NOTICE THE RASH of freshly painted house numbers on curbs throughout Atwater Village this week? Did you pay the door-to-door salesmen who painted yours? You're not required to, says the County of Los Angeles, nor are you required to have your house number on the curb at all! More chatter about curb-painting (voluntary and otherwise) on the AVNC forum.

LA Times Gets Map Right, At Least for Atwater Village

THE AMBITIOUS neighborhood mapping project from the LA Times gets our neighborhood right, drawing boundaries around Atwater Village roughly on the 2, 5 and 134 freeways, and on the Union Pacific Rail Road where the City of Los Angeles meets the City of Glendale.

(They are in line with the authoritative map from the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council.)

The paper also places Atwater Village appropriately into the northeast region of LA, along with Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Montecito Heights and Mount Washington.

Elysian Valley, which crawls along the LA River right below Atwater Village, is not considered a northeasterner, oddly; the LA Times lists Frogtown as a central LA neighborhood.

February 17, 2009

Is This Some Kind of 'Lost' Thing?

Destiny Calls, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

SEEN TODAY in Glendale: Truck for Ajira Airlines (ajiraairways.com).

Atwater Village Question of the Week

AN INTERESTING question from a Newbie reader: "Why does the Red Cross have a storage box at Chevy Chase Park [4165 Chevy Chase Drive]? What disaster are they preparing for (or creating)?" Great question. And what the heck is inside? Is it for donations?

UPDATE: It's for distaster preparedness! Details in the comments.

February 13, 2009

The Best-Yelped Place in Atwater Village

CELEBRATING ITS FIRST anniversary this month, Atwater Village's 55 Degree Wine has quickly become a favorite in the neighborhood and on the review-anything site Yelp.com. More than 75% of Yelp reviews give the wine shop and tasting room 5 out of 5 stars.

Just a sample: "All I can say is that the this store got it RIGHT. I was actually excited to spend my money - and look forward to spending more.  The best part is that as I was driving home, I felt like I had been on a little teeny European vacation."

Mrs. Newbie and I stopped by last Friday night and have never seen the basement tasting room so crowded. (Might stick to weekdays from now on.)

Tomorrow for Valentines Day: 55 Degree Wine offers a 3-course spread of cheeses and such and a bottle of wine for $69 per couple.

Migrating from Atwater Village to Miracle Mile?

DETAILS ABOUT an unexpected sighting of a great blue heron from Will Campbell at Metblogs LA.

February 12, 2009

Exclusive! About Those Police Choppers Last Night...

Hunter, originally uploaded by intention.

FOR 2 HOURS in the middle of the night, from midnight to 2:00 a.m. this morning, an LAPD helicopter circled South Atwater Village near Glendale Blvd. and Garden Avenue.

I've seen nothing about it on TV or in any other news outlets, so this first-hand report from a Newbie reader is an exclusive:
"...I have grown up in Atwater my entire 20 years. I have seen crime and lived through some drivebys back when it was a bit more common in Atwater. Today however, at midnight, may have been, for my family, the largest breach in our property.

"At approximately twelve A.M. perps with flashlights tresspassed onto my family's backyard.... I do not know if they were searching for an escape from the police or looking to cause future harm but it was not long before Police choppers forced them to run.

"I also know, because of the helicopter's megaphone, that they were armed though I do not know what kind of weapon. Luckily at least one of them was caught."
Wow. We heard the megaphone from about half a mile away. What's the full story, LAPD? Chasing those guys out of Drew Street and into Atwater Village?

February 11, 2009

Crystal Springs Drive Closing March Through November

NEWS ABOUT A street closing in Griffith Park, just across the river from Atwater Village, from this Film L.A. production alert:
  • Starting on March 16, 2009 and continuing through mid-November 2009, Crystal Springs Drive will be closed from Los Feliz Boulevard to Merry-go-Round Road. 
  • Griffith Park Drive will be converted from a one-way street into a two-way street to accommodate traffic; however, the route will be impassible to cube trucks and larger vehicles.

February 10, 2009

How Does the 134 Make You Feel?

AT LEAST ONE driver feels like a song: "Hang On (Dr. Dog) will always remind me of the liberating feeling of driving down the 134 from Atwater Village to Pasadena with the mountains all around me and the sun penetrating my car."

February 7, 2009

Getting Rid of the Street Donuts: $110,000

THE LARGE 5-way intersection where Glenfeliz, Dover and Valleybrink meet in central Atwater Village is sporting some new tire marks. A neighbor provided a photo of these new Tokyo Drift-style donuts, just a block from Glenfeliz Elementary School, "made by a very large Chevy Silverado truck that could have easily lost control and ended up in one of our homes."

The City of LA has a plan. An intersection improvement project, sponsored by City Council President Eric Garcetti's office, reduces the empty space in the intersection, making it less attractive for these types of vehicular shenanigans. (Blatantly rolling through the stop signs, though, will still be an option.)

CD13 will pony up most of the $110,000 cost and this week asked the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council to contribute $20,000. Stay tuned for more details about the plan, and whether or not it impacts speeders on Valleybrink.

February 5, 2009

What $7,850 a Month Gets You on the Westside

There Be Pirates
SOMETIMES WE fantasize about moving from cozy Atwater Village to the idyllic west side of Los Angeles. Ah, the beach lifestyle. Sun, sand, pirates everywhere. And then we actually go and look at what's available to rent on the west side. This weekend: a loft condo on the water in Marina Del Rey.
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2.5 bathrooms
  • Listed for sale at $1,799,000 (down from $1,950,000)
  • Also available for lease, furnished, at $7,850/month
  • Part of a 4-unit condo building (the pirate mannequins belong to the guy upstairs)
To be sure, a sweet pad. And it almost made us think of quadrupling our rent. Then we heard planes leaving LAX every 90 seconds. More scenes from the open house:
View from a Loft
Master Bedroom

February 4, 2009

Why Drew Street Continues to Thrive as Gang Enclave

View Larger Drew Street Enclave Map

ACCORDING TO his Facebook profile today, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti is "helping demolish" the Avenue Gangs headquarters at 3304 Drew Street (map, street view ) adjacent to Atwater Village. (More from the LA Times.)

Cops raided this corner of Glassell Park in June 2008. It's protected by "dead" space: literally, on 2 sides, by Forest Lawn cemetery. The third side is bounded by the 2 freeway.

The fourth boundary is made of 2 large unoccupied lots. One, the old Van de Kamp bakery, is where Los Angeles Community College is slowly building its northeast campus. The other, a former Kmart site, is where activists have fought development by the likes of Home Depot for being "incompatible" with community interests.

But it seems to me it's be better to have active, public spaces, even if they're commercially "incompatible," over large vacant lots that shield gang activity from civilian eyes.

February 3, 2009

Q: When Was Last Reported Rape in Atwater Village?

Driving: Tracks Along San Fernando RoadA: THIS SATURDAY. The crime was reported in the 5200 block of West San Fernando Road, just up from the "gentleman's club" on that industrial frontage road in North Atwater Village. (Parallel to the real San Fernando Road on Glendale's side of the train tracks.) According to the LAPD report, the crime happened at 3:00 a.m., Jan. 31.

Before this, Atwater Village seems to have avoided the R word for years. In fact, this instance of "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will" is the only one in Everyblock's crime database for ZIP 90039 so far this century. Take that for what it's worth.

Now Auditioning: People Who Live Near the LA River

River at NightATWATER VILLAGERS, that's you! From fellow blog-LA-sphere member View from a Loft:
The next Justice Cycle play, the Environmental Justice/LA River project written by Julie Hebert and directed by Juliette Carrillo... wants you to audition. They write: "We are looking to cast people who live, work, play and love the Los Angeles River. Are you a friend of the LA River? An activist? Do you live in Elysian Valley/Frogtown? Atwater Village? Glendale Narrows? Or another community along the LA River?"
Make an appointment with Cornerstone Theater, (213) 613-1700, ext. 37. Auditions are at 708 Traction Ave., Feb. 21, 10:00 a.m. and Feb. 22, 12:00 noon. "No experience necessary. Only an adventurous spirit."