Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Good question: is Boyle Heights gentrifying?

A Roosevelt High School blogger/reporter recently lamented what they see as the imminent transformation of East LA's historic Boyle Heights neighborhood into the next Siverlosfelico Parklake:

Throughout the years I’ve seen people moving in to Boyle Heights trying to enrich themselves with the history and culture of BH. But some people have decided to open "hip" stores around to make it seem a look better than what it already is. It really gets me mad since I've watched many "hipsters" take over places that already have tenants living there.

Of course, this being the internet, many commenters (both on the original blog and the ensuing Curbed LA post) disagree. To wit:

Perhaps in certain cases opportunistic developers have their eyes on properties that they would like to develop and market toward "young urban professionals", or whatever, but that hardly means that everyone not from an immediate immigrant background (oh let's just say it - white), is going around kicking people out of their homes. That makes no sense.

But I think the student brings up a totally fair question. In the last year or so Boyle Heights has seen the opening of an independent book store, a gourmet taco shop, and there's been a fairly high-brow pizzeria on 1st for some time now. Yet by the look of the Yelp listings for Boyle Heights, the neighborhood's Latino flavor appears to be alive and well, at least for now.

So what do you think? Is Boyle Heights gentrifying? Is that a bad thing? Or it it just another chapter in neighborhood's rich and dynamic history? (After all, it spent a decent part of the 20th century as a historically Jewish part of town before becoming majority Latino).

If you want to go deeper, you can tune into tomorrow's Patt Morrison for all things Boyle Heights related.

[Image credit: Thomas McGovern, LAPL photo archive]

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