My relationship with Downtown Los Angeles began in the latter half of 2007. At the time I was living in San Diego but I would travel up to the Historic Core of DTLA frequently for work. At the time the neighborhood was a few years into the renaissance that it is currently undergoing, however I found it disturbing and unlike anywhere else I had been. I was shocked at the the amount of homeless people wandering the streets in a dazed state and the fact that some were still in their hospital gowns truly upset me. I could not imagine how this could be allowed to happen in a western country and one of the wealthiest ones at that!
I continued to dislike Downtown Los Angeles and always enjoyed returning to squeaky clean San Diego after working there. In November 2009 I was told by my employer that I had to move to DTLA for a “short project”. The first few months passed and I still did not like the neighborhood; i found it dirty, seriously lacking in the grass department and couldn’t see the pacific ocean or it’s glorious pelicans anywhere I looked. The only thing I could do was drown my sorrows in the ‘Down and Out’ bar on the corner of 5th and Spring.
More time passed and the “short project” never seemed to end but to my surprise I began to actually like things about Downtown Los Angeles. What appeared at first to be a large uninviting place to live, began to feel like a small village. As I got to know my neighbors, I realized that some of the friendliest and most down to earth people I had ever met, referred to DTLA as home. Due to the high concentration of people in such a small area it is very common to cross paths with the same people every day. Before long, these friends began to feel like family.
One of the greatest things about living downtown is the chance to experience it’s renaissance first hand. In the 5 years that I have known the area I have seen many empty retail spaces and loft buildings brought to life. Every time a new loft building opens it’s doors, the population increases and the neighborhood gets yet another wave of energy. All of the residents very much support this and in turn this enables the neighborhood to support new shops, restaurants and bars.
Downtown Los Angeles a neighborhood where you can never get bored. When people in Los Angeles have something to say it seems that this is where they go to be heard. In 2011 thousands of people took part in occupy LA. There are numerous festivals and events that take place every month including an Art walk held every second Thursday. When DTLA is not hosting it’s own event, it is pretending to be New York in a movie.
I had to leave DTLA at the beginning of May. I think what I am trying to say is…..I left my heart there!