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How Do You Describe Highland Park to Someone Who Doesn't Know the Neighborhood?

Speaking for myself, I enjoy telling people about Highland Park. What do you say when people ask about our neighborhood?

When people ask you about Highland Park, what do you say?

Though larger publications like the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly have zeroed in on Highland Park for both its attractiveness to young professionals and its emerging business district along York Boulevard, there are still plenty of Angelenos who never even heard of this 'hood, let alone visited it.

When friends ask me about where I live, I like to mention that there's a diversity that extends from the people to the arts scene to the bars to the businesses. I also like to mention that just one block beyond York and Figueroa's bustling business districts, there are beautiful craftsman homes where families of all different backgrounds reside side by side.

I'm interested to know how other HLP residents describe our neighborhood to people who don't live here.

How do you describe HLP to folks who've never been here?

Annette Cruz August 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
culturally and economically diverse. If you don't know the area, be sure to lose your sense of direction and get lost a few times before you figure her out. greats parks, the arroyo and avenues make this a neighborhood for all.
David Fonseca (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Great response, Annette! I should put that on a card and hand it out to people.
Margarito Martinez August 21, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I tell them Highland Park is an old District in the Northeast Section of The City Of Los Angeles. I tell them I was raised in Highland Park, and no matter where I go, I feel I am always a product her. I tell them the Highland Park area has always been in a state of change. Since the beginning, the landscape, the people, the economy, even the geography, have been changing. Some of the most drastic political change has made itself felt only within the last 30 years. I tell them Highland Park is in search of it's soul, and for me, that can only be found in it's past. In it's hills, in it's Native beginnings, and in the dreams and aspirations of the men who built her. People of faith. I suppose I can say more, but that's what I tell people about Highland Park. Of course, I prefer PHX, AZ to L.A. When I'm in Arizona I tell them Phoenix is a lot like the Old Highland Park I remember, only bigger!
El Cid August 21, 2012 at 08:44 PM
And, hotter! It's nice to visit Phoenix; but, I prefer HP anytime. And, I agree with Martinez - HP is evolving! It has so much to offer! It was a well-kept secret - No longer!
Margarito Martinez August 21, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hey I like that, Sancho Panza, Highland Park, "a well-kept secret-No longer!" It could be a community slogan.
Frank Mackey August 22, 2012 at 12:59 AM
"Do you know where Glendale and Pasadena are?" "Yes." "Ok right there in between them." I mean that's how I've always done it.
ErAmIrEz August 22, 2012 at 04:25 PM
when i mention i live in Highland Park and people are like where, where is that? my response has always been "Off the old 110 fwy in between Dodger Stadium and the Rose Bowl..
Der Fasching August 22, 2012 at 09:08 PM
HA! Eagle Rock adjacent also works.
Josh Shaw August 23, 2012 at 05:42 AM
I describe it as the best place in LA. Took me seven years of living in LA to even visit it and now I don't want to live anywhere else. It's cliché, but I always say it's the next Silverlake or a cooler Eagle Rock. "Where the hipsters go to escape hipsters." Gentrification happening daily. Awesome architecture, history (by LA standards), cheap food and drinks, art-- It's great.
Ish August 23, 2012 at 07:34 AM
This is exactly how I feel, Margarito and Sancho. Except, that is the nice way of putting it. I'm a little more blunt and say it's gone to the dumps. I love the history to it and the somewhat quietness it had before all these new businesses and herds of people came in. By herds I mean people who are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors and follow trends. I call it the HighlandWood. My street was a nice residential area with a small family owned market. Now it's closed down to open up a "Gallery shop". I can already imagine my neighbors and myself having to fight for parking in front of our own homes with people who don't even live here. Also, the constant walking,talking,laughing,shouting, that happens when a group of people gather in such big groups. IMO, this doesn't belong on a residential street.
Marino August 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
We already mentioned diversity, geography, hillsides, architecture. I'd add a 100+ year history of being home to artists and its naughty past of being the red light district of LA up until 1905. http://www.kcet.org/socal/departures/highland-park/arroyo-culture/
elozano August 31, 2012 at 05:19 AM
I'm relatively new here (7 years). One thing I've learned is that this is a very old community. It was being built up in the 1890's. The trains passed through and gave it a reason to be. Really, the old Anglo-American community built Highland Park first. The Victorian/Arts and Crafts Movement - let's be honest thats Anglo. I love it and the Latinos that live here need to be willing to embrace what we have inherited. Interestingly, after abandoning Highland Park for a couple of decades Anglos are moving back in. Im glad to see Highland Park become a diverse community. I think, L.A. is so much better when we reflect the world community. As a wise friend once told me, "Highland Park is a small town in a big city." I think that is very accurate. Let's embrace the world and make our town a great place now and in the future.
Ish August 31, 2012 at 07:15 AM
elozano, you might need to recheck your history. Although there are many Victorian houses in the Heritage Square museum, most of those were brought there from other places around Southern California. Anglo's were not the first people here. There might not be many remnants of past civilizations, but that doesn't mean that they weren't here. Read here about one of the first Native American tribes in the Arroyo Seco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hahamongna,_California Also, The Spanish were here after and built many Spanish Themed Adobe houses. Many of these were demolished or just came down on their own. Mexican's were here after the Spanish and built Ranches in Highland Park. Look up Rancho San Rafael and Casa de Adobe. It was originally built for the very first Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Tomas Sanchez. Then finally the Anglos came in, and demolished and reconstructed most of the original structures. They were the latter of styles and had better technology than the former, which is why you might see more around.
The MOG August 31, 2012 at 07:45 AM
By Anglo you mean White People? I think instead of Anglo, perhaps a better word might be American. Even though there were "Mexicans" in old Los Angeles, most were of Spanish blood. Not the brown skinned mestizos that you see in modern L.A. Spain is a European country, where the people have light colored, or reddish hair, green & hazel eyes, & speak Spanish. The Americans who came here before the Mexican War were mostly of English stock, Anglo, White...they married Donnas. By the time of the US Invasion a culture had developed that was a combination of all those cultures. A Californio Culture. Then the US Era, & the "Housing Track" Era. Google Los Angeles Investment Co. Charles A. Elder, & Ralph Rodgers...2 early developers in the area, circa 1895-1905 Elder's story is nothing short of amazing!
Ish September 01, 2012 at 07:01 AM
The MOG, the Anglo-Saxons were mostly of German descent, not Spanish. Spanish were here before and Mestizos were created. Anglos and the rest came after. "The Americans who came here" makes no sense to me. How can you be American from somewhere else! Especially a completely different continent. Mexican's are from North America and even from what is now known as America, or the U.S., and even they are not considered American. Hell the Native American's can't be just American's. They had to add the "Native" in front. Why aren't they considered American's and the others "New" American's?
The MOG September 01, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Ish, let me try and explain it for you. 1st, When did I contend that the Anglo-Americans in the US invasion of California were of Spanish stock? I merely pointed out that European Spaniards tend to have light pigmentation , as opposed to the strickly olive skinned Italians, and French. A sandy haired Englishman looks diffirent from a yellow haired Scandanavian, no? "Mestizos were created", I'm afraid, is an unintelligent statement. By Americans, I mean citizens of the US. Everyone in the Americas, North & South, can techiniquely be called "Americans." The people who founded the Northeast Communities in the late 19th & and early 20th Centuries were Americans. Having lived in AZ, I know that most Indians prefer "Native American." Techniquely everyone born in US, regardless of race, is "Native." You have to take words in context in order to understand them, Ish! Do you understand there were more Blacks and Chinese in L.A. than Mestizos in the beginning? Do you understand that Californio Culture was unique? Distinctly different from Mexican culture at the time of the War? It's silly to say that H.P. was "once Mexico." Mexicans held deed after Spain bugged out, and ceded the land. In reality it "belonged" to the aborigines, i.e. Natives, the Europeans called "Indians." I love History!
Ish September 02, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Mog, you asked if by Anglo's I meant white. I simply stated that Anglo's were mainly of German descent and that Anglo's were not Spanish. By you asking if by Anglo I meant White, it sounded as if you didn't know what Anglo was, so I explained it. I'm not questioning your initial description of what Spaniards look like, I'm not sure why you felt the need to describe them again and compare them to "strickly olive skinned Italians, and French." Now, by "strictly", are you saying that all Italians and French are Olived skin, or are you saying that some Spaniards aren't Olived Skinned? Because either one of those can be easily proved wrong. "Mestizos were created, I'm afraid, is an unintelligent statement." Be as "afraid" as you want, but that's just your personal opinion. Doesn't mean much to me. A quick search on google and I found the same wording on multiple websites. "They mixed with the Mayas and created the Mestizo culture." http://www.enjoy-belize.com/culture.htm "Techniquely everyone born in US, regardless of race, is "Native." It's technically, by the way, Mr. "I'm afraid, is an unintelligent statement." Technically, when talking about Natives of a land, it refers to the indigenous people of that land. NOT people with citizenship. "Do you understand there were more Blacks and Chinese in L.A. than Mestizos in the beginning?" Chinese came into California in the 1850's. Mestizo's, or Hispanics, in this case, were here since the 1700's.
Ish September 02, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Here's a website stating that the Chinese came in the 1850's. http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese_Syllabus.html and another, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/cubhtml/cichome.html and another. http://www.inn-california.com/articles/history/chinesecalifornia.html Mestizo, is defined as "a person of racially mixed ancestry, especially, in Latin America, of mixed American Indian and European". Hispanic, is defined as "being of Spanish or Latin-American descent." Both terms can be interchanged. Here's a government website stating that Hispanics have been in So-Cal since 1769. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/5views/5views5.htm I can't find a single website that states that there were more Blacks and Chinese in L.A. than Mestizos in the beginning? What do you mean by beginning. What are your sources? Where are you getting this information from?
The MOG September 02, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Ish, I disagree with the assertion that Mestizos, (or Hispanics) "were here" since the 1700's. SOME were here, but not a significant number. The Gente De Razon were here since the '70s, NOT Brown-skinned Mestizos. In fact, it is an historical fact, that the 1st Great Wave of Mexican Mestizos was after the turn of the 20th Century, and the Mexican Revolution. It was the children of those immigrants that went through the Depression & WW2...my grandparents included. It was thier children, the Mexican-American Boomers that were the genesis of the Chicano Movement of the '60s & '70s, that has morphed into Pro-Illegal Alien- disgused as "Immigrant" Rights Groups (Since when have immigrants been denied rights). But that's way off topic, and no doubt you'll dispute. My point is, the people who developed our Northeast Communities were Americans. And as far as the rest, I suggested you use the word American (or even Anglo-American) instead of White, because frankly White is offensive,IMHO. BTW, your quote says a "culture" was created, not a people. Mestizos are admixtures of Spaniards & Amer-Indians. Mexicans are citizens of Mexico. I contend it's a myth to assert that this particular geography was once part of a legendary greater Atzlan, united in language, culture, etc. The Native Americans in So. Ca. had absolutely no relation to the Indians in Mexico, ethnicly or culturally. In fact, the forgotton Los Angeles Indian was unique of all the known tribes of the US. -PEACE!
The MOG September 02, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Ish, I extrapolate my conclusions...1st, remember that this thread is about the "beginnings" of Highland Park. You tried to correct elozano above, when he/she posted about the Anglo-American origins of our Northeast Communities. You said, "re-check your history". I think elozano was correct in his statement, and you were wrong. The Railroad was probably the biggest impetus to NELA growth. The Chinese largely built the railroads, not Mestizos. It was the importation of coolie labor from China that was blamed for the economic depression of 1869, the panic of '73, depression of '85-'86, & panic of '93. It was the Chinese who suffered the nightmare of the race riots of that era, not the few Mexicans who inhabited the area. The aboriginal So. Ca. population of course by that time was decimated. By "beginnings" of L.A., I mean 1848. There were only an estimated 5000 Natives in L.A. at the time of the Spainards arival, in the 1770's (The Mexican era in Ca. didn't begin until 1821) NONE of which were Mestizos. Even by 1900 the Mestizos in the area were few. There is a single report of an Indian Mexican Village along the Arroyo at the time, that's it. They certainly weren't building Craftsman bungalows and developing housing Tracts. Blacks and for the most part Chinese, were already established in L.A. by then. BTW, I get my info. & understanding from books. I've been an avid reader my entire life. Consider Felipe De Neve, Spainard, not Mestizo. Pio Pico, circa 1800's, was Mestizo :)
The MOG September 02, 2012 at 04:55 PM
BTW, Ish, I appreciate the web-sites you offered, but with all due respect, I think the terms are confusing you. For instance, Mestizo isn't synonmous with Mexican. Likewise, "Hispanic" doesn't mean Mexican. You also provided a link that records a Chinaman in Monterrey in 1815! Neve was a Spainard, i.e. White. You want to believe that brown-skinned Mestizos were "here before Whites", and that is not a worthy, or intelligent pursuit. Better to view history from a more realistic prespective. You can even say that L.A. has been racially and ethnicly diverse from it's beginnings,i.e. 1848. That's more honest than saying "Mexicans were here first". I hate that! It doesn't speak to the reality of the situation. But if it somehow makes you feel better, or feel you with pride, then fine. This was all Mexico, and the evil White stole it. You didn't say that, but that's what you imply. As for our beautiful NELA, it has the hopeful potential of a New Generation of Chicanos, Dreamers...and this time we really aren't a minority! BTW, I suggest you read ALL of the articles you linked to above, not just the few sentences that seem to support your conclusions.
Marino September 02, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Ish the only Victorians you've noticed in Highland Park are in Heritage Square ???? And Casa de Adobe is original? Casa de Adobe was built in 1925. http://www.kcet.org/socal/departures/highland-park/the-highlands/casa-de-adobe.html From today's LA Times. "When California became a state in 1850, Latinos constituted a majority of the population, but within 30 years, that group had declined to 19%." http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-scott-zesch-20120902,0,1622362.story
The MOG September 02, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Marino Pascal, of the Original Settlers (Pobladores) of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, 1781, only one, Jose Navarro was recorded as Mestizo. The rest were Indian (4), Mulatto (2), Spainard (2), Black (2). Definition of LATINO; 1: a native or inhabitant of Latin America,2: a person of Latin-American origin living in the United States (from Merriam Webster), Definition of HISPANIC; 1: of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal 2: of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially: one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin,(BTW, "Hispanic", an English word, wasn't used until the 1980 Census-LA Times panders, and their "facts" require critical thinking, so as not to be misled.) My point is that the so-called "Mexicans" in L.A., at the time of the War, were Gente de Razon, NOT dark skinned Mestizo. Were there many Mestizos at that time? I suppose, but thier cultural impact was minimal. The real movers and shakers were Americans who immigrated prior, and married into Californio Aristocracy. That was why the Bear Flag Republic Revolt against Mexican rule was so successful, and why Mexico constantly complained about Illegal Aliens from US in California. Isn't it ironic? elozano was correct to laud Anglo-American heritage, as he put it, in Northeast L.A., and Ish was mistaken. Though he doesn't think so, I'm afraid...It's offensive for anyone group to claim, "We were here 1st."
The MOG September 02, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Ish, I stand corrected...a friend has used my own words against me! We were discussing this controversy, and he noted by comments posted on "a single report of a Indian Mexican village along the Arroyo". He made the point that NELA was sparcely populated at the time, (circa 1900). Most of the housing developments going up on the South Side. The Highlands were mostly pristine. If that's true, argues my friend, then it's possible that THERE REALLY WERE more Mexican Mestizos in NELA "in the beginning", in that one village ( and there were more than one) than the gabachos on the Ranches. And you know what? I can't refute it. IT IS POSSIBLE, techniqu...er...I mean TECHNICALLY!
Marino September 02, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Skin pigmentation... Who cares?
The MOG September 03, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I agree. Who cares, indeed.
Ish September 07, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Wow, I missed a few of your comments. There's a great book called 500 years of Chicano History and has a lot of facts and pictures to prove it. It's banned in a lot of Libraries, but I was able to find it in Glendale when I was in High School. An awesome, Chicano, teacher recommended it to me and I recommend it to you. It has some gruesome pictures though. Take Care.
The MOG September 07, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Ish, I missed Chicano Studies. They didn't have it when I was a kid. Hispanic students had to learn the same subjects all the others did. Same for my parents, & their parents. Of course no one called themselves hispanic then. We were Mexican-American. I remember being in one of the 1st Spanish Classes @ Burbank Jr. High. The teacher, an Anglo lady, said, " I thought I'd be teaching White kids, but your all Mexican." It reminds me off that old Cheech & Chong joke, "I'm Mexican-American, I got a B in Spanish!" To which I reply, "It's Ok. I flunked English."(I did too!)Seriously though, like any hispanic kid I was interested in my "roots". I've read Arcuna. IMHO, you can always go through old newspaper clippings & find antidotes of whites doing ignorant Mexican Pions dirt, killing them, & stealing their land, institutional racism etc., but that's not history. It's extrapolation based on inferences made from an old newspaper account. You know knowing of the principles involved; i.e., did evil white man kill Sancho because he was racist, or because Sancho had bedded his wife? You know AZ doesn't allow Ethnic Studies. On the grounds it forments racial hatered, & from some of the things I've heard Raza say about Whites, I have to agree with AZ. I see a big difference in today's youth. They're exposed to too much info. to buy that La Raza stuff. They're Pochos! Americans, & they want their place here, not Mystical Atzlan. Chicano Studies had it's place, once. Not in today's society.

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