Wednesday, January 21, 2015

27 things I love about living in Atwater Village

I'm moving back to New York when I graduate, I told myself. I didn't. I moved from Savannah, GA back to my hometown of Miami and then to LA. I hate it here; I want to go home, I thought all the time. I walk fast, I talk fast. I keep to myself, but I also hold doors open for people and smile at them when I feel like smiling. At six months, I was like, I have to make it to a year. At a year, I was like, I have to make it to two. I didn't even know Atwater Village existed when I moved to Los Angeles. But after making it to the year mark, after living on an air mattress for 11 months too many, I--by pure luck--stumbled upon the most functional, affordable, safe, incredible little community I could've ever wished/hoped/prayed to the real estate gods for. 

1. The river is nearby and when it's got water in it, it looks pretty cool.
2. There is a Thursday afternoon running club--I'm not a member, but there are hoards of fit people who hang out/run/look like they're having an all-around good time on Los Feliz Blvd. every Thursday evening.
3. There are upwards of 10 places to get coffee--including two Starbucks, which I never have to go to--within a one mile radius. My favorites: Kaldi Coffee, Proof Bakery, and the Village Bakery & Cafe
4. People walk their dogs and babies all the time. Sometimes dogs are in strollers and babies are on a leash, but that's a minor detail that can be improved over time. 
5. There is a bar (amongst many bars) called Big Foot that looks like it was modeled after Disney's Briar Patch--fake mechanical forest animals and all--and has a $5 happy hour every day from 5-9.
6. I'm a short Uber ride away from Los Feliz, Glendale, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Glassell Park and Hollywood.
7. I'm also a short Uber ride away from local brewery/pub Golden Road
8. There is a wine shop next to a sausage place next to a pizza place.
9. There is a Bikram studio, a Pilates studio and a funky little dance studio (Latin, Caribbean, Bollywood, ballet barre--I kid you not, I went to the Bollywood class one time and was ordered to do the most mortifying Bollywood hip-hop freestyle shit at the beginning of a routine).
10. There is a Cuban restaurant. THERE IS A CUBAN RESTAURANTWith Cuban sodas. 
11. There is a cash-only '70s-ish bar with a middle aged cheery bartender who is always working and frequents life in Hawaiian shirts.
12. I found a mediterranean place called Momed that does 1/2 off bottles of wine on Mondays (not the worst day of the week, contrary to what many believe). The food is good, the wine is good and it's situated in the largest, most beautiful--but somehow still hidden--space right in front of the train tracks. Just the sound of the trains chugging by every 25 minutes or so invokes the most particular longing; that feeling is worth every penny you'll spend on mezze, pides, dessert and wine.
13. Down the block from the mediterranean place there is a little theaterI am dying to, but have yet, to visit. 
14. Across from the mediterranean place, on Casitas Ave. (how cute and quaint is that street name?), there is this LEED-certified building that makes up a group of glass/metal split-level million dollar single family homes. I often dream of who will buy me one or when I will be able to buy one for myself.
15. There is an adopt-a-dog (and cat) place and a pet supply place and a place to buy birds, if birds are your thing.
16. There is--what Latin people call--a botanica; there is a thrift store and there is a general store-style boutique, with candles and roll-on fragrances and sage, all steps from each other on the same Glendale strip. 
17. Bon Vivant, a market/bakery/restaurant/wine place has live bands on the weekends and Canele has an amazingly delicious Sunday brunch.
18. We have a very carefully curated store that carries a diverse collection of only gently-handled books.
19. Said bookstore, Alias Books Eaststays open 'til 9 p.m. every day except Sunday.
20. On walks to the bookstore I like to look into people's homes (slightly creepy, yes)--no one closes their curtains here--and make up stories about their lives. Also, the homes have so much character inside and out from the native plants to the large bay windows to the entire walls-turned-bookshelves-turned-art installations.
21. Atwater is as close to Brooklyn-feeling as anything in LA has ever felt. 
22. Did I mention it's walkable? 
23. We have a Sunday farmer's market, a larger-than-life Indian market that never seems to close and a few conveniently located gas station corner stores. 
24. The equestrian center is right behind my house, so not only do I see people in line to buy coffee still in their riding gear, but sometimes I will see a lone horseman riding down my street, wearing a cowboy hat, at magic hour.
25. There is a golf course--not that I play or even watch golf, but, you know, it's cool to have nearby. And it has an outdoor cafe. 
26. The Greek Theater, the LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory and a train museum are all a five-minute-drive away.
27. Last for now, but never least, there is an open-air free Shakespeare Festival every summer in Griffith Park. 

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