Photo by killerfemme via Flickr Creative Commons
File: The Sunset Junction sign in Silver Lake.
It's official. Another L.A. neighborhood — Silver Lake — is no longer the Eastside.
After much contentious debate, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council passed a motion last night to remove itself from the roster of Eastside communities like Boyle Heights and Lincoln Park.
But how can you even have this debate about which side is better if you can't pinpoint the boundary between east and west? To help us out with this question, we're joined now by our favorite L.A. expert, Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times and frequent KPCC contributor.
On where Patt lives—East or Westside:
I’m an Eastsider because I live east of the LA river. Silver Lake, unless the river moved over night, was never part of the Eastside and saying it so doesn’t make it so.
On what divides the Eastside and Westside:
Why do you think it’s called Western Avenue? Because that was 100 years ago meant to be the western boundary of the city of Los Angeles. The Prime Meridian of LA is 1st and Main Street. If you live in Silver Lake and you go down for your cocktail, look up at the street sign. It says “West Sunset Boulevard.” There’s your clue.
On considering La Brea the east-west divider:
I put the Westside at La Cienega. In the middle you can call it Middle Earth or whatever you want but it is not the Eastside. In calling Silver Lake or Echo Park the Eastside, you’re robbing the true Eastside of its character. You’ve got Mariachi Plaza, you’ve got Evergreen Cemetery. This is really sort of real estate agent neighborhood creep and we’ve seen it all over Los Angeles. How many times have you seen a listing that says Beverly Hills adjacent and it could be in San Pedro?
On why Silver Lake decided to discuss its Eastside identity:
I think because Los Angeles is so big we have spent all of our time trying to define neighborhoods. Koreatown for example or Toluca Lake, places like that, you need something better than LA because it’s so immense and so to identify yourself with a characteristic is important.
On LA’s north and south divide:
1st and Main is the main divider. I think a lot of people look at the 10 freeway as the main divider. You remember Los Angeles tried to rebrand South Central Los Angeles as South Los Angeles to make it sound less dangerous and crime ridden.
On Silver Lake and Echo Park’s true identity:
This is where the first movie studios in LA were. They weren’t in Hollywood. This is the true identity of Silver Lake and Echo Park and what they should be promoting, maybe something related to Hollywood, but Eastside just isn’t a good fit.
If you want to share where you live and what that says about you, share in the comments.