I am a New Urbanist. There, I said it. It’s true, but I never set out to make a statement by my living situation. I simply needed a place to live, and after looking at shitty place after shitty place I just chose the place that didn’t suck as much as the others. That place happened to be a loft style place in the NoHo Arts District. Which, it turns out, is a major example of New Urbanism, Los Angeles Style.
For those who, like me until very recently, are ignorant of exactly what New Urbanism means,Â click here.
Sounds great, huh? I mean, living here means I’m all ecologically friendly and stuff. And, yeah- there’s a lot to be said for my neighborhood. It’s nice walking to EAT Restaurant, or any of the even-newer (or better, yet- older, like that Indian restaurant on Lankershim) places in the neighborhood. It’s nice being near a big park. Â It’s kind of cool, getting on the subway and ending up in Hollywood.
I’ve done that. Twice. Oh, and I went to Universal on the subway to meet my uncle for dinner, once.
Â I’ll also tell you, for all the eco-friendly glamour of living in a New Urbanist community there are a few pitfalls. First of all, it’s expensive to live here. Crazy expensive. Like, my loft could easy be a house the way things are priced in Los Angeles. The almost-nightly gunshots, and the every-night sirens and “ghetto birds” in the air get a bit tiring at times. Then there was this homeless lady on the corner, whenever I’d run by she’d try to spit on me. I never took it personally, though: she spit at everybody. I think the gentrification of the neighborhood eventually pushed her out.Â Is it weird that I miss her?
I have a diverse group of interesting neighbors, in my New Urbanist neighborhood. There’s the agent at Endeavor whose mail I keep getting, the actress in indie films, a bonafide rap artist on a major record label (he just moved to Beverly Hills last week), my neighbor the production designer for Hollywood, and me- struggling but awesome writer-director guy. And my buddy Brandon who does editing for us lives only 5 minutes away.
There’s also a few scary neighbors, like the Russian guys who don’t like it when I work out in the gym while they’re trying to sleep at 2 in the afternoon after a late night of gunplay and recreational drug abuse. Speaking of drug abuse, there’s a crackhouse only 2 blocks away.
And lastly, there’s a ton of spoiled young adults who live on trust funds and think the world revolves around them. I think I like them less than anyone.
Still, if you ignore the bad there is a lot to be said for this New Urbanist lifestyle. I enjoy walking to the bank and the grocery store. I love my impromptu jogs through the city (contrary to one’s preconceived notions, not all of said jogs are inspired by the local gangs). I like that I’m “in the middle” of things, here. It’s interesting. It can be exciting.
And of course, there’s that whole eco-friendly vibe.
Even though most of the people who live here have no clue about how green their lifestyle really truly is.