Travels With Gloria

Finding beauty mile by mile.

Category: Los Angeles

Friday Morning, East Los Angeles

I’m here! And it’s everything I hoped it would be. I did end up taking the apartment in East LA, and most of my days have been spent exploring my new neighborhood while also accomplishing mundane tasks like buying a plunger and getting my new car smog tested.

Here’s a series of photos I took while waiting for the latter chore to get done, near Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

One of my favorite things about East LA so far is the way that signs and billboards are painted directly on the buildings. Some of them are incredibly creative. It’s a little like New York’s obsession with “street art”, but done for utilitarian reasons. 
Murals are the signature art form here, which is probably the reason for the all the hand painted signs. This is the entrance to a wine bar I’ll definitely be checking out sometime soon. 
Here’s a mix of hand-painted and more ordinary signage. Even the dollar stores here are dressed up with paintings. Bueno Bonito y Barato!
Even the more “typical” business signs are a thousand times more interesting than anything I’ve seen on the East Coast. Also, who doesn’t love a restaurant that serves burgers, tacos, miscellaneous other Mexican food, pastrami, AND nachos?

Ay Arriba, Arriba

Musicians, Boyle Heights. Image via East Of West LA, via Flickr.

So I might as well tell you guys.

It looks like I’m probably going to be living in East L.A. Yes, that East L.A.

It’s a little bit freaky moving to a new city, telling people where you’re going to live, and hearing them immediately make gang jokes. Especially since I really don’t know Los Angeles. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s really dangerous.

When I moved to New York, I lived in Washington Heights. The Heights is nice now, but back in 2000 it was way off the radar in terms of places nice white girls should live in New York City.

The neighborhood was fine. I was fine. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the same relationship with New York City if I had moved directly to Williamsburg, Park Slope, or Murray Hill.

So I’ve been doing my homework on East L.A. And so far, I like what I see.

There’s a feminist bike collective called the Ovarian Psychos! I won’t have a bike when I first get to town, but I’ll be sure to pick one up right away so I can ride with the Psychos.

There’s a place called Mariachi Plaza which is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s literally where all the mariachi bands hang out and jam.

It’s possible that my new neighborhood is the epicenter of Mexican food in the US.

Also, there’s these guys:

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