The Place Where you Live

So, I’ve been in my new digs for two weeks now, and the inevitable comparisons between my old neighborhood, right smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, and my new “Beverly Hills Adjacent” abode have started.

To narrow it a bit, I’ve gone from block east of Hollywood High (Sunset and Highland) to over by Sweetzer and Beverly. Ten minutes of surfing and I’ve finally figured out that I’m technically in the “Fairfax District.”

There’s your first comparison: try telling most people you live in the Fairfax District when they ask where you live. You’ll either get a blank look, or they think you sleep at Canters. Say, “Beverly Hills Adjacent,” (and who can say that with a straight face?) and you get, “What does that mean?” And, indeed, what the hell? Saying, “Over by Beverly Center,” works or throwing out the cross streets, but then you get, “Isn’t that West Hollywood?” No, no it’s not. Apparently the Real Estate geniuses call it “Beverly Grove,” but I don’t want to confuse things further. My one friend says I live on the Westside now, and though he’s only wrong by four or five blocks, I still deny it. He just moved to Los Feliz. I’m jealous, frankly.

When you say, “I live in Hollywood,” most people just say, “Oh.”

See, they know where that is.

20 thoughts on “The Place Where you Live”

  1. Nice picture of the palm. The ultimate LA icon. At least everyone on the planet knows LA, try that one for a change to befuddle those asking.

  2. Nah. The worms come out over where the Eastside starts. Nobody’s really concerned about where the Westside starts. (Remember: “Central” lies between them.)

  3. The part of town I live has so many names that I just tell people I live 10 min east of Miracle Mile or I say something like south of Hollywood. Gave up trying to figure where i live looong time ago.

  4. I’m new to LA (again, I lived here temporarily 5 years ago) and I live in the same area. But I live really close to the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, so when people ask, I say “near third and fairfax but NOT in Park La Brea.” I think Beverly Grove comes from being in between the Beverly Center and the Grove.

    I don’t think the area is well defined, and it needs a better name. I have friends in San Francisco who invented a name for an area in San Francisco that was long neglected but is now up-and-coming. It’s actually a good piece of performance art, if you think about it. It’s by Noe Valley, but their friend Pierre lives there.

  5. Heh, I live around there. Now I just say I live near the Grove.

    The only really bad answer I ever got was by an English transplant. He just said “Los Angeles”. When I gave him a blank stare he said, “No, really. That’s what it says on my mailing address.” Unless you’re outside of LA city and maybe even the county, that’s kind of a non-answer.

  6. Cross streets are usually best, but “you know the the Grove? – over there” usually works. Although it sometimes needs clarification like, “no, not in Park Labrea,” and “no, thats not Miracle Mile,” or “West Hollywood is technically to the north.”

    And isn’t calling the area “Beverly Hills Adjacent” like calling the Valley “LA Adjacent?”

  7. Most of my friend would know where the Fairfax District was. I actually think of Beverly Hills adjacent as west of La Cienega. But I think “near the Farmer’s Market” is pretty clear.

  8. FYI — another aspect of Beverly Hills adjacent is south of Roxbury Park — but not past Pico (and not Cheviot Hills): awkward to describe where it is, exactly, but there are still a lot of old stock apartments, you can walk to the park and to Century City (and BH, for that matter) and there’s the redoubtable Owens Market — and you get a random array of BH services and events, too

    Just sharing b/c I love this city –it’s fun to live almost anywhere

  9. I’m a lot closer to Beverly Center than The Grove, but same deal, really. It’s certainly quieter here.

  10. The Los Angeles Communities map at LA Almanac calls that area “Mid-City West”, though I can’t say I’ve ever heard it called that. I’ve mostly heard it called “near the Fairfax District” or “that area over by Beverly Center.” (Of course, that’s hardly conclusive, since I live in the Valley and rarely even drive through the Beverly Center-adjacent area.)

    Pacific Electric stops were often named for (planned) local suburbs – in 1912, the PE stops in that area were “Sherman Junction” – where Burton Way and San Vicente split (both had PE lines, back in the day), and then “Big Barn” and “Gayland”, the next two stops further south on the line running down San Vicente.

    (See the “Ghost Suburbs” map at the Library of Congress’s online exhibit LA Mapped)

    I doubt even the long-term natives will recognize those names, though. :-)

  11. Julia, I had the same thought. Uh-oh, here we go again with the “West Side/East Side dividing line!” :)

    I don’t think most of my friends would get “Fairfax District”, but by the Beverly Center would get a nod of recognition from just about anyone.

    (Happily in Los Feliz/Hollywood/Little Armenia/Scientologyville!)

  12. Travis: That’s hilarious! You just won the tiara and sash as far as I’m concerned.

    LA Mapnerd: I saw the LA communities map you referenced with the “Mid City West” designation. (That was part of the “ten minutes of surfing” I referenced) “Mid City West” is a large area, and actually includes all the “Cathay” parts of town. (Cathay Circle, Cathay Square, etc etc) as well as the Fairfax district. (and other stuff) I, also, have never heard the term before, but Wikipedia has it covered.

    I technically AM in the Fairfax district, but that’s often confused with the Fairfax corridor, hence my reference to people thinking that means I sleep at Canters. That’s not far off, but it’s not somewhat misleading.

    And yeah, “Over by Beverly Center,” is most accurate/easiest, but I’ve found myself in several conversations afterward about what the actual boundaries of West Hollywood are. I may start just agreeing that I live in West Hollywood just to shut people up. But probably not. Hey, didn’t I cover all this in the actual post? Yes, I think I did.

    Frazgo: Thanks about the pic, but I just found it on Flickr. (Creative Commons license) I think I may use it some more, it really is a good shot.

  13. i was born & raised in the fairfax district. if you tell natives or people who have been living here a while you live there, they tend to know exactly what you’re talking about. everyone else i just say ‘near the farmer’s market’, ‘near melrose’ or ‘next to west hollywood’.

    and it’s definetely NOT the westside, or beverly hills adjacent. i shudder at the thought! we’re proud of our convenient central locale.

    though i may be a little pretentious about it, but whatever. fairfax was my turf waaayyy before the grove was even conceived and all the trendy d-bags moved in.

  14. Yeah, I keep hoping The Grove will somehow disappear, but I guess that isn’t likely.

    There wouldn’t be a problem if everyone I talked to were natives or long time residents. See, though, this is L.A., a large portion of the population is neither. Just ’cause I’ve been here for 15 years and happen to know that “The Fairfax district” covers more than Damiano’s and Canters doesn’t mean everyone I talk to is going to.

    And it may not be what is technically considered “Beverly Hills Adjacent” but I am adjacent to Beverly Hills; it’s eight to ten blocks away. If that. Also, many consider La Cienga to be the dividing line of the Westside and…not…the Westside. I’m five blocks from there.

    I’m closer to these things than that which “The Fairfax district” is named, that is Fairfax, so the confusion, of people I’m trying to casually speak to, you see, not myself, is understandable. And kind of a pain in the ass.

  15. Same problem here. Melrose and Fairfax.

    When someone asks where I live, I tailor my response based on who’s asking.

    If it’s my shopaholic mom: By the Beverly Center

    If it’s a museum snob: Miracle Mile

    If it’s an urban hipster: Melrose district

    If it’s a hot gay guy: West Hollywood

    If it’s my Jewish friends: I sleep at Canter’s

  16. I have a similar issue. I ended up saying Fairfax and 6th. However when I first moved there I told someone I lived near LACMA.

    “What’s that?”
    An art museum.
    “What kind of art do they have there?”
    It’s a county museum, they have all kinds.
    “oh. I went to a museum once.” (!once?)
    “yeah it was that real famous one. I left though, it was too crowded.”
    “yeah you know the one, it’s real famous, it was in Paris.”
    You left the Louvre because it was too crowed?
    Check please!

  17. We know exactly where the “eastside” starts (east of LaBrea) and the Eastside, (east of the LA River,) but where exactly does the “westside” or Westside start.

    It seems like the Westside is more like a feeling than a location, because if you live on the “wrong” side of the westside it seems to take away the whole point of being in the westside and people who think they are real Westsiders say things like, “Well that’s on the other side of Wilshire, Montana or Centinela.”

    So Westsiders, where does your neighborhood start and what’s the fake “westside” that tries to claim your hood, but is full it?


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