“City of Angels”

Ahhh, Los Angeles …. it’s one of those you “either love it or hate it” things. Below is a brief but quite informative and entertaining video. You be the judge.

Also known as “City of Angels” (“Angeles” means angels in Spanish) and nicknamed L.A, it has the largest population in California and you can actually feel it with numerous little hubs spread all across the city. According to the 2010 census, 3,792,621 people live in this Southern California city. Additionally, L.A. County is considered the most ethnically diverse in the U.S.

It truly is the entertainment capital of the world. People from all over come to the City of Angels to be in the entertainment business, and as a result many beautiful people (men and women) with big dreams live in the city.

According to Wikipedia, Los Angeles is globally #1 when it comes to creating anything to do with entertainment like TV and movie productions, video games and all genres of music. It is also strong when it comes to business, fashion, science, technology, research, tourism and more. The city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984.

Unfortunately, just like any other city, it isn’t without setbacks. It endured severe racial riots in 1965 and 1992. The latter riot was supposedly triggered by the infamous Rodney King beating by the police, which was captured in video.

Some might say that L.A. lags behind New York City culturally. Maybe so, but it certainly has come a long way. It does have the intriguing Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of many landmarks. This one is definitely one to experience personally.

The famous The Getty Center by renowned architect Richard Meier which reportedly cost $1.3 billion (that’s $1,300,000,000) to build, Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Armand Hammer Museum and more are located in the city. Venues like the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion located downtown and the David Geffen Playhouse in the neighboring Westwood area are popular with theatergoers, and some smaller auditoriums also abound.

Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes (nothing new here), the most recent being the Northridge earthquake in 1994 which had a magnitude of 6.7. It is subject to earthquakes because it is located in what is called the Pacific Rim of Fire where a large amount of eruptions take place in the Pacific Ocean basin.

The climate in L.A. is one of the best in the world. As the song goes, “it never rains in southern California,” and it’s true. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a drought this year. When rain does come pouring down, watch out! Drivers on the road go a bit nuts as they are not used to driving under wet conditions. Additionally, because it seldom rains, the smog situation is not good and air quality is affected negatively.

The city gets really hot occasionally during summer, sometimes the temperature goes above 90°+ but the heat doesn’t usually last for more than 12-14 days in total. However short that may be though, having air-conditioning at home is a big help for a lot of people in order to be comfortable.

Los Angeles is populated by individuals from many countries worldwide, 140+ countries per last count, a true melting pot. So, if you love food, you will have a variety to choose from. This place is both a haven and heaven for foodies. Excellent restaurants are plentiful, both pricey and cheap and new ones cropping up all the time.

This Web Site will focus on some of the various smaller but interesting “hubs” in the city with links where you can get more information.

So what are you waiting for? Come and visit LA … you’ll love it, smog and all!

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Larchmont & Its Surroundings

The Larchmont area consists of well-kept historic bungalows built around the 1920s and is bounded by the mansions of Hancock Park and Windsor Square. Paramount Studios is also nearby. It is a half-square mile in size: .49 to be exact. In 2008, according to the Department of Los Angeles City Planning, it had a population of 9,195 and is highly diverse as compared to other neighborhoods in L.A. County.
This shopping strip is mostly populated by wonderful, upscale one-of-a-kind restaurants (some vegan) and boutiques. There’s also a Curves gym you can go to. There aren’t any “bars” per se in this area, but there’s a Thai restaurant that serves beer. If you drink a lot of beer and are looking to flatten your beer gut but would rather do it yourself, there are online courses where you can do so at home.
Parking isn’t always easy, but you can park in the residential areas and walk. Make sure to read the parking signs before and be aware of street cleaning days and hours. Parking tickets are steep all over Los Angeles.
This small neighborhood is the site of numerous movie shoots. It has a “pocket” park called the Robert Burns Park with some picnic table and a children’s play area.

Windsor Square

On September 9, 2004, this area was designated a City of Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. This means that entire neighborhoods and districts (not just buildings) are deserving of historic preservation. This move is a first not only for Los Angeles but for the country.

There are many outstanding well-preserved homes located in this gated residential area which represents a square. The homes and streets within are privately owned. Approximately 1,100 residences, some with great architecture by renowned architects Paul Williams and A. C. Martin, were built here and it is one of the oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods in Los Angeles. John Paul Getty bought property here which is now the L.A. Mayor’s official residence.

The Marlborough School for Girls, a very prestigious all-girls school is located in Windsor Square.

Hancock Park

This is another historic and affluent neighborhood surrounding the Larchmont area. Also developed around the 1920’s, the homes are built around the grounds of the prestigious Wilshire Country Club.
Hancock Park was developed by the family of the same name from oil drilling profits in the 1920s. The driving force behind this development was G. Allan Hancock who subdivided 440 acres, which he inherited from his father, Major Henry Hancock.
Several officials in the diplomatic circle live here. More notably, since 1957, the British Consuls-General in Los Angeles reside in a home whose architect was the prominent Wallace Neff. This is where Prince William and his wife Catherine stayed during their first visit to the U.S. in 2011.
Some celebrities live in the neighborhood such as Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. In 1948, after a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ( Shelly v. Kraemer) which held that courts cannot enforce racial agreements on real estate, Nat King Cole purchased a home in Hancock Park. Sadly, he and his family were welcomed with a burning cross on their lawn.
Like Windsor Square, Hancock Park is also included the pioneering City of Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.

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The Buzz About Brentwood

Apparently, there are many areas called “Brentwood” throughout the U.S., one in New York, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Brentwood City in California and then there’s the neighborhood with the same name in Los Angeles 90049. We will be focusing this post on the latter.

Although tourists are taken to the Brentwood neighborhood it doesn’t happen as often as it does in other areas, which suits the residents there just fine. The one exception might be when the tourist bus goes through it on the way to the Getty Center museum which is situated in the hills above.

In some ways, this is unfortunate as it is such a wonderful, leafy and affluent neighborhood with some of the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles. The residential area with the fabulous homes and estates is truly a feast for the eyes. It’s great to just drive around and take it all in.

If you are planning to move and would like to find a real estate agent in the Brentwood 90049, area, we recommend checking out the Brentwood California Guide before contacting one. The Web site has links to other services you might need.

Brentwood has a vibrant though small downtown. A number of exclusive boutiques, eateries of all flavors and offices line the main retail area around San Vicente Boulevard. It is more commercial than the Larchmont Village strip.

The Farmers Market in Brentwood Village as it is called, is located at 741 Gretna Green Way. It is open year round, every Sunday from 9am-2pm, rain or shine. You can call for more information here: (818) 591-8286. It is described as a “California Certified Farmers Market.” This means that the Dept. of Agriculture in the State has inspected the farms and that the produce being sold there are grown in California.

Some might say that the Farmers Market in this neighborhood is eclipsed by the bigger one in nearby Santa Monica, and that it’s less organic. However, there are a lot more mini-stalls and mini-eateries here, plus it has a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids! It’s a really fun way to spend a Sunday. Parking could be a challenge but if you’re willing to take a short walk, you can park on the street alongside the Brentwood Country Club.

Are you adventurous when it comes to food? Here are samplings you can get at the Market: jalopeno hummus, fried fish tacos (Ensenada style), sugar crepes with lemon curd, pumpkin and spinach bolanis (bolani is an Afgan delicacy consisting of a thin crust flatbread that is either fried or baked and stuffed with potato, leeks, etc.), gluten-free, soy-free, wheat-free options (sounds so California, doesn’t it?) and fresh flowers that last longer than usual. Handmade jewelry and clothing are also sold there.

One can’t write about Brentwood without mentioning the Getty Center. The Getty Center museum is located in the Brentwood hills. It was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier and took 12 years to build. The building is magnificent and the Central Gardens even more so. Its estimated 1.3 million visitors make it one of the busiest museums in the country.

You can watch the video “Building the Getty Center” below, which gives a short peek into what it took to build the museum.

Admission to the museum is free. For more information on the Getty Center, call (310) 440-7300.

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Marina del Rey Lifestyle

Did you know that this beautiful landscape was once littered with oil wells? Even beach houses had oil wells in their yards – everybody wanted one for the money it brought. Eventually, the oil production got depleted and at the end of it all, the land became very polluted.

Years later there was a push to transform this former oil field into a community that would serve as a recreational area. Here’s this interesting documentary on how Marina del Rey came about.

Things to do in Marina Del Rey

There are many fun activities that can be enjoyed here by all ages. There are the boat and water activities like:

  • Sport Fishing
  • Dock Fishing
  • Cruising
  • Wind Surfing
  • Stand Up Paddling
  • Rollerblading
  • Parasailing
  • Sailing
  • Biking
  • Swimming

Fishing in the marina harbor is quite popular, especially recreational sport fishing. The harbor is open all year round, 24/7. The type of fish you’re likely to catch here are halibut, rockfish, lingcod, sand bass and California yellowtail, to name a few.
Living at Marina Del Rey is like living in two worlds. This neighborhood has its high rise buildings (condos and office buildings alike), yet it’s just a few minutes to the water. The combination makes the lifestyle very attractive and its proximity to Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Westwood and LAX makes it even more so. If you’d love to buy property there, you can start your journey by checking out the Marina Del Rey Real Estate agent guide.

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