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One Month Anniversary of the NELA Holiday Parade

January 8, 2010

Bakfiets bike polo!, originally uploaded by ubrayj02.

Realized I didn’t post a review of the NELA Holiday parade last month. And thanks to EL CHAVO! at LA Eastside for pointing out that there was no report from our parade, I will now summarize the 65th Annual North East Los Angeles Holiday Parade with three words: It was great!

(And a new form of Polo was invented using Bakfiets.)

The Train Took Us There 01.08.10

January 8, 2010

Santa Fe's El Capitan at Pasadena Station by artist John Winfield for Orchard Supply Hardware.

The calendar that hangs in my studio [read: wife's auxiliary closet] is the one I pick up each year from South Pasadena’s Orchard Supply Hardware. It tells me the days of the year, comes with coupons, and illustrations from historic railroad lines across America. Seems like a fitting calendar to hang in a home built along a railroad.

This year’s calendar hits really close to home with John Winfield’s great illustration of the Santa Fe Railroad’s El Capitan line at the historic Santa Fe Depot in Pasadena. (Now the location of Metro Gold Line’s Del Mar Station and La Grande Orange.) The right-of-way used by Santa Fe Railroad is the same path used by the Gold Line today. Fifty years ago, this train could be seen passing through Highland Park along Marmion Way on its way to Union Station from Chicago. Where the Metro Gold Line Station is today on Marmion Way, is exactly where Highland Park’s Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe train stop was. (We only had a stop. Not big enough for a station or depot.)

Hurry and get your own free train calendar “While supplies last!”

452 Fair Oaks Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Highland Park Survey 2009 Photos

January 1, 2010

The Highland Park Mural on The AT&T Building by Judy Baca. Gets more tagged every year.

The only thing that remains the same is that everything will change.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Highland Park Survey. There’s always time to add your own photos as long as they were taken on the last week of the year and within 90042.

*(And yes, slacker me,  I did back-date this post.)

The Trolley Took Us There 01.01.10

January 1, 2010

Alhambra remembers when the trolley took them there in the 2010 Rose Parade. Photo by l.a.photographer, via Flickr.

If you survived New Year’s Eve, you may have likely spent the morning enjoying (or gazing zombie-like) at this year’s Rose Parade up the Arroyo in Pasadena. This year, the nearby city of Alhambra remembers when they could take the Pacific Electric Red Car Trolley from Main & 6th Street in Downtown Los Angeles up Huntington Drive to Main Street in Alhambra. It was this streetcar that made the development of Alhambra possible in the early 1900′s.

Looking forward to a year full of remembering our past and building the future of 90042.

Happy New Year Highland Park!

Northeast LA Grinch

January 1, 2010

Because Metblogs Los Angeles couldn’t pull off a free and fair election of their annual Grinch of The Year contest, I offer this supplemental selection for Grinch of The Year in Northeast Los Angeles:


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) easily wins this distinction for the all the grief caused to the citizens of  Northeast Los Angeles by proposing to extend the 710 Freeway by tunneling through our neighborhoods.

710 Storefront Church in El Serreno

Of course there are the 50 years of successful resistance by the residents of El Serreno, Alhambra, Pasadena and especially South Pasadena, to keep this freeway from being built through their communities. This fight has now been brought to NELA as Caltrans began doing test drilling around Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park and Highland Park in March of this year. The latest Manifest Destiny effort to extend the 710 Freeway is to bore at least five miles of tunnels under NELA or South Pasadena, or San Marino, or San Gabriel to Irwindale.

For $7 Million, I would have thought the study project drilling trucks would be plated in gold.

After 50 years and millions of dollars spent on the war to expand a failed transportation system into Pasadena, Caltrans continues to pursue this hopeless attempt with an almost religious fervor. It brings to mind the 2 Freeway that was originally designed to go from La Cañada to Santa Monica by replacing Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard with freeway lanes. But whereas that plan was abandoned at Glendale Boulevard in the late 1960′s, the 710 Long Beach Freeway to the 210 Foothill Freeway is still being pursued thanks primarily to one lobby group: The Trucking Lobby. At the other end of the 710 are the ports of Long Beach & San Pedro; our nation’s busiest ports, and according to the Trucking Lobby, the six freeways that the 710 crosses aren’t enough.

What really gets me is how this $7 Million drilling effort got NELA worked up as if the state would really build a 10 mile east to west tunnel through local earthquake faults from Alhambra to Eagle Rock just to get the stub of the 710 to connect to another freeway. Would Caltrans really spend billions of dollars to tunnel away from their original destination in Pasadena? I don’t think so. What was accomplished by this tunnel study, was getting our communities and our local elected representatives to unite against this unnecessary and wasteful venture.

Caltrans also earned special bonus points for Ginchyness with their lack-luster designs and poor communications regarding the current Pasadena Freeway construction project that will last until Spring 2011.

Congratulations Caltrans! Hopefully some day you will live up to the transportation portion of your name, and all that encompasses. Rather than just trying to pave the state.

Survey Says: Don’t Dump Trees, Recycle Them!

December 28, 2009

Alley Abandonment is a popular post-Christmas ritual in Highland Park.

Half way through the annual Highland Park Survey, and there are two common things I have come across: Lots of barking dogs, and lots of holiday memories dumped in gutters and alleyways in the form of Christmas Trees.

Luckily, there are alternatives to this cruel seasonal practice: Rapid Composting (my favorite dignified disposal method, but not recommended for most), and the City of Los Angeles Tree Recycling Program.

Tuesday is Trash Day in Highland Park. (Monday for the other parts of 90042.) In previous years, the Los Angeles City Sanitation Department required that you cut up your tree and fit it into your Green Yard Waste Barrel. Great news, one less step! Starting this year, LA City SAN is only requiring that you place the tree NEXT to the Green Barrel at the curb.

If you miss Trash Day, another opportunity to do right by your tree and turn it into mulch, will be Saturday, January 2nd & 3rd from 9AM to 4PM, when you can drop off your tree at the Highland Park Senior Center, 6142 N. Figueroa Street (at York Blvd.) In exchange for your tree, the city gives away pine tree saplings and compact florescent bulbs.

Now if we could just figure out what to do with all those analog television sets on the curb.

Militant Locationist Rant

December 27, 2009

Recently in our humble corner of Los Angeles, a brewery opened. Which is great news to anyone, (especially myself) who enjoys what Benjamin Franklin said was, “proof that God loves us.”

Microbrewing is something I have supported for a long, long, and expensive time. Having a new microbrewery nearby is a wonderful thing. The only problem is the name. And what is in a name? To quote Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Maybe so, but out of the millions of names to engrave on your mast, the brewers of this new brewery have chosen to name their venture after a location here in Northeast Los Angeles. It’s good to represent, right? The name of this new establishment is Eagle Rock Brewery. Great, Eagle Rock is a fine place; home to many of my favorite festivals, restaurants, stores, and newspapers. The only problem is the brewery is not located in Eagle Rock 90041, but in Glassell Park 90065.

So the question is, why is it called Eagle Rock Brewery? Maybe if it were on Eagle Rock Boulevard, but it’s off San Fernando Road near Fletcher Drive. From my understanding, the brewers, father & son team of Steve and Jeremy Raub were long-time home brewers. Did this start in an Eagle Rock garage, and they didn’t want to let go of the name? What is the inspiration?

The reason I bring this up now, is what Jeremy Raub recently wrote in response to an accusation made by Brian Frobisher, regarding the name choice on the The NELA List:

“I suppose you’re the type of person who avoids a “Hollywood Video”
located in Burbank, or a “Patagonia” located in Pasadena, so I don’t
expect to see you at Eagle Rock Brewery (in Glassell Park) anytime

His response never answers the question as to why they choose the name of Eagle Rock, for a place located in Glassell Park.

If they wanted to name it for a place, why not just Glassell Brewery? Or Northeast LA Brewery? Heck, being where it is, it could have passed as Atwater Brewery. Or how about Avenues Brewery? (The notorious Drew Street being just bullet shot away.) Or even Angel City Brewery would have been more location-appropriate. (Angel City is brewed in Torrence, outside the City of Angels.)

The thing is, if you are going to name your place after a place, don’t you think it should at least be in that place, in the first place?

Glassell Park has a bit of Culver City going on with it. The community has long had its traditional industrial area, now being used by such companies as Playboy Enterprises, Intelligentsia Coffee, and the latest being Eagle Rock Brewery. A lower-profile place with higher-profile companies moving in. Culver City’s once traditional industrial warehouses with lower rent, have now been replaced by boutique production houses and studios.

Whatever the direction Glassell Park is going, as for this beer drinker, there will be an extra bit of bitterness not derived from the hops in the Glassell Park-brewed Eagle Rock Brewery beer.


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