Painted Storefronts Of Highland Park

Figueroa and its neighboring streets are a pleasure to stroll along because of the vibrant colors of its hand painted store fronts.  Nothing better than to smoke up, put the doggy on a leash and go out on the streets to enjoy the love the business owners put in to making their stores stand out.

Monte Vista Convenience Store

Monte Vista Convenience Store

Now it seems that the Gringo Hipsters on York Avenue are picking up on the trend  favoring the street art look of the Hispanic owned storefronts to the sterile minimalism that gentrification typically brings.  Even the decidedly un-hipster has picked up on the news.


Two Painted Storefronts On York

York Beauty Salon

York Beauty Salon

The art definitely catches your eye and it makes the HP neighborhood unique among the El Polo Locos and electric billboards of typical Los Angeles ‘hoods.

Weird And Awesome On Figueroa

Weird And Awesome On Figueroa

Avenue 50 Convenience Store

Avenue 50 Convenience Store

Take to the streets dear Gringo and enjoy the colorful ‘hood that you now call home.

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Environment-Friendly Candidates of Los Angeles

The mail just came!  Looky Looky what I got!  WE IN CALIFORNIA CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT!  7 flyers today!  Yesterday was 4!  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!  Let’s decide who wins with a Hummer Drag Race down Figueroa.

Election Flyers

Election Flyers

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Peace March coming to Highland Park

Hey Gringos a great opportunity to do some good is coming up in May.  Here’s the deets:

Peace March

Peace March

Camineta Por La Paz

Camineta Por La Paz

Let’s counter all the recent gang crap that’s been going on in the ‘hood with some hippy hipster stylin’ peace marching and fun.  Come out and show your support.


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Highland Park Theatre Raises Price By A Buck

Rainy Tuesday in Highland Park means it’s a perfect day to sit inside at the old Highland Theatre to catch a flick!  The Highland Theatre is every broke ass hipsters dream – a cheap first run movie theater.   But bring an extra buck dear Gringo as the theater now charges 4 bucks instead of 3 for the Tuesday and Wednesday special, and you know it’s cash only.   Still the best deal in town and it’s for all showings!   Hell for 4 bucks I’ll go see whatever crap is playing there  and there is some crap there now.   Though sometimes they get some goodies in there;  Django Unchained  and The Master both great damn movies,  played at the Highland.

Rainy Day At The Highland Theatre

Rainy Day At The Highland Theatre

Sure sometimes the movie doesn’t fit on the screen, sure you may be sitting by a dirty diaper and sure sometimes there is so much movement in the theater that you feel like you’re in the ocean, but the Highland Theatre is always a good time and  just so happens to be a  designated cultural landmarks of Los Angeles, take that LA LIVE.  Here’s some fun facts you can use to impress your buddys from Echo Park when they slum it here in the HP.

The Highland Theatre opened March 5, 1925 as a single screen theater that had 1432 seats.  Now it has been divided into a three screen theater.  The architect was Lewis A. Smith who also designed the hipster haven Vista Theater in Los Feliz.  The Highland Theatre still retains its balcony though now it’s used for storage.  Highland Park was once the cool bustling part of town and actually had  six other theaters including the Figueroa Theatre and the Sunbeam.  Howz about them apples history buffs.

The Sign IS AWESOME At Night

The Sign IS AWESOME At Night

After the flick check out the Street ART at the outdoor Alleyway Gallery right across the street from the theater.  A tremendous way to top off your movie viewing.





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UPDATE: Corrects Bike Lane Misinformation.

We here at Gringos stated in the previous post about Figueroa Bike Lanes, that the confused the days of the February 13th bike lane meeting.  They later changed the posted date of the article to February 11th though the article was hastily written on the 13th. writer, David Fonseca, has since contacted us via twitter saying the reason for the posted date change was a

Really mundane reason: Changed pub-date to drop it off front page so it wouldn’t lead the newsletter.

No funny business then, however there still is the matter that they did not offer up a retraction for the error.   To this fact Mr. Fonseca responded,

I absolutely should have run the correction. Since the body and the headline of the story contained the word “Tonight” I though it would have been obvious that this was a transcription error that didn’t require much explanation. But, in retrospect, I was wrong. Here’s the correction we posted in the story:

Correction: The original version of this story read: Both supporters and opponents of proposed bicycle lanes on North Figueroa Street and Colorado Boulevard will have an opportunity to tonight (Thursday, Feb. 13) … It was changed to reflect that Feb. 13 is a Wednesday.

Good on them.  It’s hard for people to attend meetings if they do not know when they are.   The confusion was mentioned in more than one comment on the Patch.  Glad that’s done with; this investigative reporting is wearing me out, need a Blue Dream bake I mean break.

On the other front, it still seems the loudest voices for the Figueroa bike lanes still are keeping their blinders on, and refusing to budge.  They forget that hipsters like me, are bike enthusiasts, have no problems with bike lanes, but only question why the bike lanes have to be on Figueroa and not safer, bike friendlier and totally more aesthetically pleasing options like Marmion Way.  To this idea, Figueroa bike lane advocate, Josef Bray-Ali responded,

Maybe the problem for those who don’t like the bike lanes is that people with that opinion don’t get together and network the way people who ride bikes in LA do. They don’t share any important, voluntary, cultural experiences together. They instead sit at home and absorb whatever they are fed and scoot around in their isolated personal bubbles. They also represent the height of western apathy and the fading light of the 20th century.

Yep, that must be it, only people who support the Figueroa bike lanes have important, voluntary, cultural experiences.  That attitude will most def not persuade people to your way of thinking; it just angers people more.  Not like we need to give car drivers anymore reason to honk and yell at hipsters like me when we’re flowing on our fixies.  Let’s try to keep cool heads, we all live in this community together.

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Another Teen Killed in Highland Park Gang Shooting

The sad trend continues.  Last night at 8:45pm a 16 year old kid was shot dead on Avenue 51.  The shooting took place just a few yards away from a busy laundramat and the Food For Less Grocery Store.  Two suspects described as male Latinos fled on foot and left the scene in a dark-colored, mid-sized vehicle,  said Sgt. Alaniz of the Northeast Division.

As I walked by the scene today some mourners were gathered outside of the apartment complex where the killing happened.  There were flowers and candles.  However, it was hard not to notice the ‘Dogtown’ gang tag scrawled on the wall just opposite of the crime scene.

Mourners Gather on Avenue 51

Mourners Gather on Avenue 51

16 years old, this dude had his whole life ahead of him.  How does this happen?  I was talking to a buddy of mine who grew up here in the HP, his brother was killed in a gang related shooting in the ’90s.  I asked my pal, how did he avoid the gang situation.  His response was basketball.  He said that the rec center on Piedmont saved his life.   My buddy, who does not want to be named, said the pressure to join a gang is tough as a hispanic boy in Highland Park.   He said as a local kid,

You got three options – gangs, basketball, or skateboards.  After what happened to my brother I chose basketball.

I’m glad he did because he’s a really cool cat.


Anyone with information about the Saturday night’s murder is asked to call Northeast homicide detectives at (323) 344-5744.

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Figueroa Bike Lanes, Is a Compromise Possible?

Why can’t there be a reasonable debate about bike lanes?  I ask myself this every time I look at the Highland Park/Mt. Washington Patch.  If you’re like me and check out the Patch on your Ipad whilst sipping a Rishi tea at Highland Park Cafe  you have probably seen a number of articles about the proposed Figueroa bike lanes.  You also have probably seen the argumentative, fear inducing comments that many of the bike lane advocates have been writing in the comment sections.

As I gaze out the window of the cafe I take note of the bike lanes on York…I see not one biker.   We Hipster Gringos in the know know, York, even with bike lanes, is a nightmare to ride on — congested, tight and just plain sucks.

But if I were to note this in the comment section of the Patch I might get a reply back from bicycle lane advocate Josef Bray-Ali, owner of the Flying Pigeon bike shop.  He may retort back with sarcasm and snark or better yet may post some links to fear inducing automobile accidents. (oh yes he did)  Or I may get called an “obamatard” by some guy or gal who posts in all caps under the alias HULK.

Not to say the anti bike lane set behaves any better.  In a heated exchange with Josef Bray-Ali, Patch reader Marta J fires back,

It’s extremely hard to find any comment sincere by someone who is looking to benefit out of these bike lanes. Someone looking to increase profit to his bike shop by generating traffic and pushing more of his overpriced bikes. It’s more obvious when he’s the brains for this whole bike lane idea. He tries to throw “Safety” into his arguments and fear into your minds by showing pictures of car accidents. Very shay I’d say.

Meeeooow! I do like that ‘shay I’d say’ thang though!

None of this helps the overall biker cause people!   LA drivers hate us bikers enough as it is.  Snide comments make them hate us more!  I for one don’t want anymore drivers hating bikers, I’ve had too many run-ins on my bike with agro car maniacs.

I and many of my friends are bikers, we’re hipsters after all, we love our Peugeot frames and leather saddles;  we totally bike A-lot.  We love the River Bike Path! BUT rarely do we bike on Figueroa.  We much prefer the fast and breezy Marmion Way which is already designated a BIKE ROUTE!

Marmion Way Bike Route

Marmion Way Bike Route

Why are bike lane advocates so dead set on Figueroa having bike lanes? Especially when there are faster and safer alternatives like the very  Bike Route on Marmion Way?   Why not put the bike lanes on Marmion Way?  Well dear Gringos I asked this very question in the comment section of the Patch.

The answer I got back from ‘Max Utility’, a blogger and self described bicycle enthusiast and transportation activist and one of the more level headed commenters, was that

Marmion Way has almost no destinations on it and a limited number of connection points to Figueroa.

Hmmm.   Let’s see, 3 metro stops, a museum with grounds for walking, El Fuente Restaurant, Good Girl Dinette,  a School, Art Studios, Churches, a Buddhist Temple, a Synagogue, more than a couple barber shops, beauty salons, ice cream parlor, dry cleaners, convenience stores, Tropicana Market and Deli aren’t destinations enough?   I guess Ave 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61 don’t count as some of these limited number of connection points to Figueroa?  (Yikes I think that Snark may be contagious)

Thanks for not calling me a name or insulting me Max but  if safety and convenience were a concern as lane advocates claim then Marmion Way would be the Way To Go.

Figueroa Bike Lane advocates have help from The Patch itself for promoting their cause.  In one article the Patch described  the bike lanes on York as being “celebrated”, not sure who is celebrating them.   One thing  almost all the commenters, pro bike lane and anti bike lane alike, agree on is that the bike lane situation on York is a complete mess.

Figueroa bike lane advocates have various studies they cite.  They have meetings open to the public.  They are often heard saying that if the community is so concerned they should show up to these public events.  However most of the community did not know of their February 13th meeting.   That is until the posted it on their site 4 hours before the meeting was to start.  To make things worse the Patch wrote that the meeting was on Thursday when it was on Wednesday.

As one commenter named Gil posted,

TO BAD THIS WAS not posted earlier. When was this hearing planned???  Most people I talk to knew nothing about it .   I talk to everybody who lives on my block, Off Ave 50 nobody new anything about this hearing. Just called people at my other property on Meridian nothing .Typical, most homeowners,residents and business owners kept in the DARK as usual… Today is Wednesday 2/13/2013 not thursday.  Off i go to this hearing after working 10 hours.

The Patch  never offered a retraction they just changed the errors the day after without comment or apology.    Evidence of this dubious error can be seen on; the article is stated as being written on the 14th a day after the meeting, obviously this is when the changes occurred.    UPDATE! actually that evidence just changed Gringos,  I just checked back to and in the past 20 minutes that I’ve been typing this it seems David Fonseca has yet again changed the date of the article this time to February 11th…very fishy dude.  What gives? I sent him a tweet Gringos, I’ll let you know what he says.

Nonetheless in a neighborhood that is 75% hispanic, a meeting held on Ash Wednesday is not going to get many attendees from the community.

As for those scientific surveys and studies advocates base their points on.  Even those claim that relatively few bikers are on Figueroa to begin with.   One of the studies was conducted by counting bikers as they rode by the intersection of Fig and Pasadena/Marmion Way in 2011.  The study counted an average of 94 people in the 4 hour am and pm rush hour periods.   That is less than 25 bikers per hour during that period, the numbers are less at other times.  Honestly as someone who bikes nearly everyday this seems high, but I haven’t counted.

Is it worth cutting out two lanes on Figueroa for 25 bikers?  This is something that needs to be discussed for sure.

Let me end by saying I bike all over the damn place, maybe I was even counted.  I’m a hipster, I’m pro bike.  I don’t care what the survey says Richard Dawson, with losing two lanes Figueroa is going to be a traffic nightmare come rush hour.   As biker and college student ROH commented,

I do believe that we must fight for the greater good of our community and not the selective few.

Amen sister or brother!  We are a community, yes gentrification is happening but let’s not push out our neighbors or piss them off by not allowing them to voice their concerns.   Let’s look at all options on the table before spending money where it may need not be spent.  Let’s work together to make our ‘hood live up to that whole hottest neighborhood of 2013 business!

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