Thursday, February 23, 2012

Los Angeles, a patchwork quilt

“I JUST DON'T get it! I don’t get how there can be such a nice house sitting right next to a small crappy house!” exclaimed a junior Loyola Marymount University student, Christie Afzal as she drove through the neighborhood of Westchester.  To see a tall tan house with a beautiful walkway surrounded by palm trees leading up to a wide mahogany door that is being overlooked by huge windows and a balcony soaking up the LA sun, sitting next a small bright teal house slouching behind a hot pink wall enclosing its wildly bushy front yard and copper tinted windows, staring across the street at a Spanish plastered house with intricate tan designs overarching a short doorway. 

Los Angeles living is a quilt.  It brings you warmth on those random freezing nights and gives you cover from the dust of the Santa Anna winds that hurl around you.  It has been sewn together by generations of families carefully binding the stories of their ancestry that brought them to LA.  While one patch may signify the “cultivation of the Mediterranean image—either Spanish or Italian,” as described in David Fine’s article “Starting Points,” “The romantic nostalgic Spanish mission myth…as authentic, indigenous regional history…[a reflection of] the mission revival theory,” others are reflections of the Midwest suburbs literally transplanted into a neighborhood.  Los Angeles, since the very beginning, when these individuals began creating their intricate family patches, has been the “unreal city,” a “theme park, the repository of exotic, bizarre architecture.”  The quilt that covers Los Angeles is the living, breathing history that covers the city.  It is constantly growing as new inhabitants add their patchwork to the history that surrounds LA.
83St. Westchester
Photo Credit: Elise Fornaca 
“I’ve lived here two years and I still can’t figure it out,” continued Afzal, a native Northern Californian.  LA’s patchwork quilt distinguishes it from any other place in the world because it brings the different places of the world to one simple street lined sidewalks and people walking their dogs and raising families.  Los Angeles is a home away from home that Angelenos have made their own.  

1 comment:

  1. I like how you compare Los Angeles to a patchwork quilt. I'd never have thought of it that way, but that's a really good way to describe the city! I came here expecting something completely different than what the city actually is, but that's not entirely a bad thing altogether. Living in the city is a process of discovery, "LA Life" is so entirely unique.