Welcome to Los Angeles, Esteemed Guest!

I spent an hour last night writing a letter to our wedding guests, who will start arriving in Southern California in about 48 hours. We suggested Pasadena to our guests because it was the closest hotel zone to the venue – not counting downtown. We were NOT letting our relatives from Pittsburgh stay in downtown L.A., for fear they would take a wrong turn and end up in the third world slum that is Skid Row. In Pasadena, they can’t really go to a bad part of town because there isn’t one I know of.

Anyways, the letter was the usual stuff – welcome to Pasadena, here’s where you can find stuff. Here’s the letter we WANTED to write. And didn’t.

Dear Wedding Guests,

Welcome to Southern California! We know that you are delighted to get out of the weather wherever it is you came from, and get to someplace that doesn’t have seasons. We also know that you are probably going to try to go to Hollywood because that is where the only perceived history of Los Angeles is. We suggest you do not. Especially in daylight, when it’s just that much grimier. Or at night, when bad things could happen to you. Just pretend the whole history of movies thing didn’t happen. Because really, the first movie studio is under a Public Storage in the lost neighborhood of Edendale anyways.

In fact, we are sorry we can’t spend the weekend with you showing you how we perceive Los Angeles. Because we would have taken you to Carroll Street to see the Victorian houses, and to Echo Park to see the lake. We would have taken you to Olvera Street, even though it is more a history of a romanticized version of L.A.’s past. We would have shown you MacArthur Park, both as it is now and in paintings, where Wilshire Boulevard still has ladies in hats and parasols walking past the lake.

But we have this whole, y’know, wedding thing to do, so we can’t show you our Los Angeles. And we do not want your perception of these remaining fragments of Old Los Angeles to be corrupted by their surroundings. We do not want you to perceive the urban decay and be afraid of the new immigrant population who now lives here. So we have suggested Pasadena to you, which has its own charms and its own history, and is a beautiful, safe place for you to visit. You will just have to settle for the history contained within our own apartment, with its Art Deco exterior and 1920s design – in our extremely multicultural neighborhood.

Welcome to the Los Angeles area.  We are glad you are here.

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6 Replies to “Welcome to Los Angeles, Esteemed Guest!”

  1. Congrats on the pending wedding, relax and have fun.

    I hate to burst your bubble but Pasadena is no different than the rest of LA. Venture to far off the beaten path and you have gangs, winos in the gutter and homeless. By far the most obnoxious bit is the “Sock on Mexican” initiation thing in some of the gangs.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to like about Pasadena, but it still is LA and shares the same warts.

  2. I also say congratulations on your wedding day.

    I was going to say something similar to Frazgo’s comment. We’ve got our share of “L.A. ugliness,” particularly for guests from out of town who may have preconceived notions of what might go on in our fair metropolis. Pasadena doesn’t have nearly the same level as downtown, though, and you’re less likely to stumble upon it here. On the whole I think you’ve made a good choice for your family/friends. This is a great part of town.

    I’ll keep my eye out for out-of-towners this week, and be especially friendly. You know, just in case they’re friends of yours.

  3. Allow me to echo the previous congratulations on your pending nuptuals and your fine choice to park your relatives in Pasadena. Your whole “there are no bad places there because I don’t know of any” logic might have a gap int it one can drive a planet through but it’s also kinda endearing. The best to you both!

  4. Hee! Congratulations from me too. Um, don’t let your relatives drive too far north of the freeway. Um, or too far east. Um…in fact, make them stay along Colorado. Heheh.

    When I had a friend in from out of town, I took her to the Getty Center, Roscoe’s and the Filipino center that is the Eagle Rock mall (she’s Filipino). Other suggestions near Pasadena I’d recommend include the Huntington Library, the county arboretum and if you want them to see something really exotic, the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. Those are all in relatively safe neighborhoods. :)

  5. I think it’s more that if I haven’t been able to wander into a bad part of Pasadena, then I trust that my friends & family will also be unlikely to wander off into a bad part of it. It’s way harder than it would be, say, downtown.

    And thanks, everyone, for the congratulations.

  6. wow, way to stereotype downtown. too bad your guests may miss one of the best parts of los angeles, in my opinion.

    good luck.

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