What a difference 2+ years makes on York Boulevard

By Nathan Solis

York Boulevard has undergone plenty of change in the last few years, with numerous  businesses coming and going on the Highland Park street. The stretch of road that has been deemed L.A.’s coolest street (whatever that means) doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with  the pace of new  boutique, restaurants and gallery openings. But how much change has actually taken place?

We took a stroll down memory lane with the help of some Google Street View photos taken in  August and October of 2011 and then compared them to some recent snapshots of the same locations. Traveling from east to west, here’s a sample of what has changed and what has not in a roughly a 2-1/2 year span:

York & Figueroa

Then: Cars and trucks get two lanes in both directions | Google

Now: One lane for motor vehicles, one lane for bikes

An approximately mile-long section of York Boulevard underwent a massive road diet in 2006 that removed a traffic lane and added a bike lane from  Avenue 54  to Eagle Rock Boulevard. But it wasn’t until October 2012 that bicycle lanes were extended east to Figueroa Street as traffic lanes were removed.

York & Aldama

Then: Maximiliano was two months away from opening when the  Google Street View van took this photo in August 2011 | Google

Now: Vines have crept up the walls of Maximiliano.

Then: Anyone miss Tacos Michuacano? | Google

Now: Goodbye tacos, hello gourmet burgers

Not one but two restaurants opened on Aldama Street and York Boulevard. Modern Italian restaurant  Maximiliano opened in October 2011 and  Fusion Burger opened in the spring of 2012, with both restaurants replacing Mexican eateries.

York near Avenue 52

Then: Highland Park gets fit at Anatomy | Google

Now: Fitness gives way to furniture | Nathan Solis

Furniture store and boutique  Shopclass now occupies the former fitness shop Anatomy, while down the street  Namaste Highland Park opened its door in 2012 and offers yoga classes.

Mid 5200 block of York 

Then: Hermosillo Club | Google

Now: Hipster Hermosillo

The “seedy” Hermosillo Club was reborn in early 2012 as  the hip Hermosillo after Duncan Lancaster, co-owner of Silver Lake’s L&E Oyster Bar and Los Feliz’ Bar Covell, set his sights on Northeast L.A.   Next door (and not pictured), the former Cafe Lobos  morphed into the Highland Park Kitchen for a few months before it became Sonny’s Hideaway in the middle of 2013.

York & Avenue 51

Then: Elsa’s Bakery claimed the southeast corner | Google

Now: A French restaurant now occupies the southeast corner while the new owners of Elsa’s are chasing after the cafe crowd.

Then: Northeast corner was anchored by Italiano’s Pizza as other storefronts stood empty | Google

Now: Italiano’s is now closed and awaiting a new restaurant. The once empty shops next door are now home to Scoops ice cream and Donut Friend.

French restaurant Ba opened its doors in 2012 at the southeast corner  while Elsa’s Bakery underwent a makeover and a change in management. We visited with the new owners in September of 2013 to discuss the new paint job and how pan dulce is still important to their clientele on a changing York Boulevard.

Across the street,  Scoops ice cream shop offers a place for families to congregate  while next door Donut Friend  amazes just about anyone, especially out-of-town friends. The nearby New York Snow  offers their interpretation of ice cream, thus solidifying the title of “Sugar Corner” for York and Avenue 51.

York, west of Avenue 51

Then: A grand opening for La Vida Loca | Google

Now: Vaping now in vogue; La Vida Loca is gone but The Glass Studio remains.

The Glass Studio is now sandwiched between new neighbors: 50/50 Art Gallery had its opening exhibit in July 2013 and Vapegoat opened its lounge and gallery doors in September.

York, midway between Avenue 51 & Avenue 50

Then: Before the parklet | Google

Now: Parklet provides seating near the middle of the block.

Then: The former Verdugo Pet Shop was empty and up for lease | Google

Now: This prime spot is still empty but has been leased to a new restaurant

There was a lot of speculation going on at the end of 2011 as to who was going to move into the former Verdugo Pet Shop after its longtime owner died earlier in the year. The building is still empty but has been leased to a Glendale restaurant owner.  And let us not forget the new York Boulevard parklet with its colorful mosaic design that was dedicated in February 2013.

York near Avenue 50

Then: Western Union sign hangs over future comic book shop | Google

Now: Comic books and real estate agents now occupy the same building.

Then: El Chapin Market & Bakery | Google

Now: Highland Cafe has moved in

Thank You Comics, which shares ownership with Silver Lake’s Secret Headquarters,  and Extraordinary Realty are neighbors in what used to be an odds and ends shop, with a Western Union service desk. Platform opened their multi-purpose art gallery/retail studio in 2011 in a former pot dispensary. Owner Sarah Brady says in the early days the smell of stank was everywhere. The Highland Cafe was formerly El Chapin Market & Bakery, though they still had outdoor seating in 2011. Pop–Hop Books & Prints  moved in next door to Cafe De Leche, which has sat pretty on the corner  since 2008.

York Boulevard – The fringes

The Church on York has changed the way people view that scary line across Avenue 50 and York. The performing arts space and community center has hosted bands, comedy nights, experimental noise galleries and some other bits that remind folks that old abandoned churches can be fun if used properly. Gimme Gimme Records,   which moved to the west end of York  from New York City early last year,  now hosts the likes of Marc Maron  and his television show. Way over on the other side of York Boulevard,  Figueroa Produce closed in  February 2013 and the space remains empty. Classic Burger is currently in stasis as the proposed site for a drive-thru Starbucks .

What places did we miss? What places do you think deserved recognition for sticking it out through the changing times?

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.


  1. Fascinating. Soon Figueroa could use the same kind of scrutiny.

    • Gentrification. Never should have let land go to European devils.

    • Yeah, more like De-york Street if you asked me. There is nothing but dorky dweebs populating this area, it’s ridiculous. And all of the food is LOUSY here. Schodorf’s was good, but they had a nasty habit of overcharging customers, then they changed their menu to remove all vegetarian food, the idiots. I HATE Permanent Records, those people totally suck. Wombleton Records is cool, though. Seriously, has anyone taken a good look around here? Moustachioed nerds in all black leather when it’s 110 degrees outside, no good food, and seriously – Vapegoat? That is so completely stupid. Yeah, I’ve lived in Highland Park for a lot of years, before people wanted ANYTHING to do with this part of town, and I’ve seen MANY changes. It amounts to a whole lot of nothing, though, when most of the options are pure junk. Also, the guy who owns Galco’s is a prick. Highland Park kind of really sucks. I am a negative S.O.B.

  2. I’m hopeful that some of this positive transformation can travel south along Figueroa. We need more variety down here, too!

  3. It certainly doesn’t seem like the road diet is hurting small business revenues on York.

    If anything, I think a compelling argument could probably be made that just the opposite has happened (gentrification notwithstanding.) Calming traffic flow on our streets creates fertile ground for more foot traffic and street life, and this directly benefits the safety of residents, and the value of small businesses in the area.

    Maybe the “bike lobby” should do a study on that. Maybe then people will think twice about the benefits before resorting to knee-jerk hyperbole about the impending “traffic nightmare!”

    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I suspect we’ll see similar improvements along Virgil in the next few years.

    • Interesting thoughts. However, I would like to see a survey done to tally the actual # of cyclists using bike lanes on major surface streets, and for what purposes. I drive on Colorado and York every day and even on beautiful weekends see very few cyclists. Same for Rowena. The ones I do see on Colorado are mostly road bikers out for distance. Eagle Rock and Highland Park have a great percentage of houses up steep hills, which IMO is a permanent impediment to cycling out for dinner, light errands etc. My neighborhood is up a 25% grade from all sides. I might feel differently if I actually saw cyclists, but where the hell are they?

      • Agreed, and I believe the DOT does measure all relevant factors before and after they implement traffic calming (i.e. bike/ped counts, # of collisions, average car speeds, rush hour car speeds, etc.)

        It’s certainly too early to analyze the impact on Colorado, and probably Rowena too (I would think a few years would be necessary, for accuracy.)

        But the info you’re looking for was published a little while ago (analyzing traffic data on York pre/post road diet): http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/08/study-finds-a-slimmer-york-boulevard-has-cut-down-on-collisions/

        • Also, in my anecdotal experience I’ve seen a decent amount of people using the lanes on York… and not just the spandex crowd, lots of local teenagers too. Is it 1%, 2%, 5%? Hard to say, which is why we need the data.

          As far as people living in the hills in North Central and North East LA , yeah that poses a challenge. And since we’re experiencing a renewed interest in city living, and an ongoing development boom, I’d like to see most of it focused in the flats (infill projects near mass transit stops) and much tougher restrictions on hillside development (where you need a car for most trips.)

          The city’s rezoning now, so it’s a good time to get involved with the conversation: http://recode.la/

      • There is none

    • Keep in mind that a road diet is not just about bike lanes – it’s about calming traffic and making the street safer and friendlier for all users, including pedestrians and businesses.

  4. Fusion Burgers sucks btw…

  5. I disagree! I have eaten good burgers here made with quality ingredients . I recommend the Noir burger and the cheesy tater tots! My only complaint about the food-buns too sweet. My other complaint? Wish the decor was more hip, which is why I do take out only.

  6. Burgers at Fusion are great, the interior of the place is awful. I prefer eating their burgers on the parklet or bus stop.

    There are two more restaraunts opening up on York in the near future, so residents should prepare for the additional traffic jams on York.


    • Out of curiosity, do we still call it Gentrification if it isn’t white people? Is saying all white people are rich just as racist as saying all Latinos are poor? I have trouble keeping it all straight.

  8. I’m soooooooooooooooo excited about the Starbucks! Please GOD let it happen! I know, I know, but I’m an addict!!

  9. Judging just from the before & after photos of business evolution, one think seem apparent: the decline of the Latino influence of that part of town. Some may call it gentrification or whatever, for better or worse.

  10. I love you York Boulevard.

  11. I’ve lived here for more than ten years and seen huge changes. I’m not thrilled about the 180 degree turn to hipsterland. I moved into a mixed income mixed culture neighborhood, which I fear is threatened by this full on gentrification. We need changes likes Elsa’s, and Antigua Bakery that honor the heritage of this neighborhood but invite all. I don’t feel like I need a donut with veggie bacon bits and additional toppings for $5, I can’t afford the French Restaurant, and I’m sure many of my neighbors can’t either. I personally miss the 99 cents store,.

    Message to new folks moving in – please recognize that many folks have called this home for over thirty years, and might feel invaded and disregarded. Join us, don’t colonize., and please don’t build a tall wall in front of your house. We’d like to see your new paint job and cool garden.

    • I would argue that Highland Park is more “mixed” today – economically, racially, culturally – than any time in the past 20-30 years. There has been an influx of new residences from all walks of life. They are White, Asian, Black, Indian, and Hispanic, and they work work as carpenters, lawyers, writers, musicians, entrepreneurs, actors, electricians, teachers, etc. They all bring a unique sense of style, culture, and beliefs to HP. In fact, up until about 5 years ago, I would argue that there was only one dominant culture and economic status represented in the neighborhood. What we don’t need is more of the same…gangs, liquor stores, auto repair shops, graffiti, party stores, and 99 cent stores. And personally, I think that homes with prison like bars on the windows and spear tipped rot iron fences surround the property convey the message “STAY OUT – YOUR NOT WELCOME” more than a horizontal wood fence.

      Elsa’s and Antigua Bakery are great new additions to the neighborhood, but they represent an evolution in the culture dominating the neighborhood over the past 30 years. Embrace REAL diversity in the neighborhood by accepting new people with new ideas and a cultural background even if they are different from your own.

      • It’s not really an issue of culture. It’s more an issue of money. It’s gentrification based on income. So you’re replacing poor people of color with much richer whites and others. It’s the balance between richer and poorer residents that’s the issue. The richer folks come in and push out the poorer people regardless of their “culture.”

        The “culture” of money is what becomes more prevalent if gentrification is let run amok which leads to higher and higher housing and living costs. A balanced approach is much better.

        • Perhaps your position is misguided. Being white doesn’t = rich and being a “person of color” doesn’t = poor. Those are socioeconomic factors; sometimes separate, sometimes aligned, but not directly related. Remember that correlation does not imply causation.

          There are many poor people in HP that may be displaced due to the increased interest in the neighborhood, but their socioeconomic status is due to a multitude of factors – lack of education, poor family conditions/structure, illegal status, etc. Those factors are separate from the new business and home owners moving into the area. I believe that new residence want to embrace the old and new alike. If they didn’t I don’t think they would have moved to Highland Park in the first place.

          I think a dialog needs to be started as to how to help these people survive rather than try to stifle change in the neighborhood or create an “us” vs. “them” attitude. In fact, I am a frequent visitor to many of the original small businesses in the neighborhood. I would love to see them succeed, but sometimes these businesses appear stale, dirty, and out of date. There is a statistical fact that 80% of all small businesses fail within the first year so don’t mistake a “culture of money” with a bad business. In fact, many of the small business in town have the opportunity to prosper as people with more disposable income move into the neighborhood. Again, if these changes were embraced, everyone could thrive!

  12. What a piece of shit article. I miss Tacos Michoacan, they had great breakfast at working people prices and some unique salsas, like the one “de aceite.” The Hermosillo wasn’t “seedy”, just too Latino I guess. Have you looked at the prices at Ba? That’s the main reason I haven’t visited, plus the fact they have no veg friendly options. What dicks. Donut Friend sells a crappy and expensive donut that takes too long to get.

    This should be a warning post about the wasteland the HLP is becoming, not something to laud.

    • You can’t afford the prices at Ba? You sound poor.

      You seem to hate everything. Learn to embrace change.

      • El Chavo, sounds like you just got face palmed…Ouch.

      • Some of us ARE poor….
        “Embracing change”? On whose terms?

        • You are going to drive yourself crazy trying to fight change. I was priced out of my neighborhood which is why I moved to HP. It’s something we all have to do in order to find a place that meets out needs and budget. A few new restaurants and shops have moved in, but if you are honest with yourself, I’m sure you have to admit that your needs are still fulfilled in HP, even if you are “poor”. There are plenty of affordable options – probably outweighing the “unaffordable” 20 to 1.

          • It’s a matter of the community speaking up and guiding the change that’s coming so it’s good for everyone, both new and long time residents.

            The concern of long time residents if the trend line moving forward. If rich cities like Beverly Hills carefully control what businesses get into their city why shouldn’t poorer cities be able to do the same thing?

      • What is so shocking about working full time and still not being able to afford the $9 soup of the day? Or the $21 asparagus with something I don’t understand as an entree? Never mind if one has a family they want to take out to enjoy a sit down dinner. Yeah, this is within the budget of some people that want to have a night out, but this is not at all even viable for many of the working families that have lived in HLP for many years before these latest food fad eateries showed up.

        Not shocking is the disregard for the needs of the working class families that have called HLP home for a long time, all it takes is some young visitor from the mid-west to ring up mommy to help out with the over priced mortgage and then it all starts to turn around. Ain’t nobody gonna give two cents about them as long as some d-bags with more money get their nice ammenities in the “affordable” neighborhood they parachuted into.

        • Echo Park resident

          Yo, El Chavo — no one is making you eat at Ba. I love Highland Park, and I’ve managed to eat a lot of wonderful, cheap dinners there without ever having step foot in Ba or Donut Friend or whatever other business you have a problem with.

          Spend your money at the businesses you want to support. Don’t try and tear down another business just because it serves items that you “don’t understand” or don’t appeal to you. I think McDonald’s is gross, but I don’t run around picketing its restaurants and shaming people who choose to eat there.

    • Strange comment. Do Mexicans in Highland Park eat anything other than Mexican food? I just find it hard to understand how some people in HP feel threatened by culinary (and racial) diversity. Maybe you should try something new – you might actually like it 😉

      But if you don’t, Mexican food still grossly outnumbers all other options by at least 5 to 1.

      • Feel free to send me a gift certificate to Ba if you think I need to expand my eating terrain.

        • Thanks for the suggestion but I haven’t even visited Ba, although I certainly would like to at some point – maybe for a special occasion.

          Your reasoning is completely flawed. There are so many affordable options for lower income working class residence of the neighborhood – from inexpensive restaurants, discount retailers and grocery stores, and misc. small businesses. In fact, I would argue that almost all the new businesses leased space that was already vacant so very few old businesses were displaced.

          That being said, why does EVERY option have to be affordable for you to be happy? Also, have you considered that probably most of the “new” HP transplants were priced out of their previous neighborhood too? It’s not like I sold my home in Santa Monica to move to Highland Park. I was a renter in an average neighborhood and HP was the best I could afford. There are many things I enjoy about HP, but I would much rather live in a neighborhood that is free of gang violence, barking dogs at 3am, and graffiti and trash at every street corner, etc.

          If you don’t like the changes, there are still many neighborhoods across Southern California where you can be free of fancy French and Italian restaurants. Just like myself and anyone either moving in or out of HP, we have to go where we can afford. Or even better, move out of Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the US and move to an affordable city where you can live the life you want. I have considered this option many times because I can’t expect change to stop just because I can’t afford a $16 appetizer at the local French restaurant.

      • It’s not about the type of food, but the cost. I thought El Chavo made that clear. If you can have some great Indian, Italian, Thai, Middle-Eastern, or Korean for the same price as your long established Mexican eatery then there is no problem. It’s all good. But when you have a burger place come in and charge 5 times more for average food just because they are the new trendy place, that’s not good for the community.

        Good or even great food and a fair/cheap price is ALWAYS a good thing no matter your “culture” as long as your “culture” isn’t about money.

    • hey EL CHAVO! love your writing man, it’s not Christmas without your Lincoln Heights parade report. So cool to see you here on the Eastsider (or “East?”sider). keep the reality checks coming

    • Crisana salistean

      Not sure wut that means entirely , but it was forthcoming that an openly gay clique were tearing it up and trying to burn me on the dance floor ! Anyways the bowling alley wSs defiantly blind to all discriminating acts of color gender race style ! But crazy like me is still not ez

  13. If you really want to see the changes of York blvd, pop in Reservoir Dogs. Total Time Warp!

  14. What about the cool indoor playground located at Avenue 52 and York. It’s a cool spot for the kids to come and play as well as have their birthday parties. What a great addition to the cool spots opening on York.

  15. For many years before Mexican eateries arrived in HP; there were other kinds of eateries and they too had to make room for the influx of Hispanic cuisines. HP still maintains many of its wonderful flavors of Mexican food….El Huarache, El Arco Iris, Las Cazuelas…to mention a few!

  16. As far as what a difference two years can make, bear this in mind. Our home in the HLP went from an estimated value of just above 500K in 2011 to just under $1Million today (2014). This is of course from Zillow’s zany estimates, but it is a testament of the progess and value as seen by the real estate market regarding the 90042. Change is good, and yes, we should learn to embrace it. ~Tina

    • Are you serious? So you really think your home is worth that much? What have you done to it that it’w worth almost twice as much in 3 years? Can you say housing bubble? That’s how we got into trouble just before 2008, and now your proud of this insane housing price inflation? This kind of change is NOT good unless you already own a house.

      • Sum idiots believe their presence alone brings the whol blocks property value !! I laugh cuz I live in south pasadena which is where they wish they could b here so they went DWN the street and acted like fools most us white folk r humble and thankful for r blessings , we flaunt wealth by donating to schools and city parties to keep us a strong community , not by spending 10$ on a piece a bread and small coffee ! No we go to costco and grind r own beans and ye we buy the whole loaf of bread . The wanna b douchers destroying a landmark of hardworking Latino city that kept it respected not invaded by poor white trash that make us look bad cuz they think they’re better

  17. Hey Tina

    I’m in the same boat. My once 400k house that I bought 4 years ago is now estimated at 650k. I live very close to York . Thrilled the area is changing.

    To the poster that can’t afford Ba. Maybe get a degree and a decent paying job? Just because you are poor doesn’t mean others can’t afford it. People are so entitled.

    • I have a degree and I am a public school teacher. I cannot afford Ba. Reread your own comment. aren’t you ashamed of yourself.

    • Maybe you should have bought property in a fancy neighborhood instead of cashing in on what was once affordable housing for working people.

    • You are an idiot. What kind of income do you think you need to buy your $650,000 home? Well, it would have to be at least $175,000 a year. On top of that you need 20% down which is $130,000 and then your yearly property taxes would be around $6,000.

      Very few people make that kind of money in the US. In fact, people making $175,000 a year fall in the top 5% of earners.

      • your math is hilariously wrong

      • Not true X-man. Real estate can be affordable to those who practice a little discipline. When I moved here in 1994 I was a bartender at a restaurant making less than $35K per year but I managed to save for a down payment on a $125,000 condo. 5% was all I needed because of FHA. At the time I thought I was biting off more than I could chew but did it anyway. Seven years later I sold that condo for $275,000. I took that profit and rolled it into a small 2 bedroom 1 bath house for $290,000. My payments were about the same even though it was a more expensive house because I had a big down payment. Then in 2007 I sold that house for $550,000. Repeated the process. On a bartender’s salary. Now I own a nice 3 bedroom 3 bath home.

        It just takes a little discipline (and living a little below your means) to get into that first one. Oh, and I waited to have kids until I could afford them. Probably helped too…

  18. I’ve lived in HP for 13 years and love it then because I liked the mix of cool history and I liked the rough around the edges feel of the neighborhood. Some of the changes on York have been good and some of it has not been so hot….. Last weekend I had 2 heartbreaking conversations with 2 different business owners who are having to close down and relocate because 1 of their landlords is doubling the rent and the 2nd business owner’s rent shot up 80%. It’s nice to have new, cool, fun places to go, but it doesn’t feel very good if it’s at the expense of hard working mom and pop business owners who have been trudging away their entire lives in HP and consider it their home.

    • What makes you think the new business owners aren’t hard working individuals? Your post would have merit if A&F, Gap and Chipotle were moving in. The gentrification in Echo Park has single-handedly squeezed out the cess pool gang scum that used to dominate the streets…not unlike the streets you live in HP. If I were you, I would welcome the change.

      • You’re conflating two things that don’t have anything to do with one another. The issue here is that the property owner is raising the rents of long established businesses because they want to cash in on these new trendy businesses coming in. This has nothing to do with gang culture being in a city or not.

        You can squeeze out the gang scum without having to squeeze out long standing businesses in the community.

        Your point of view is why many people equate gentrification with greed.

    • Maybe you should make them a loan, unless you are afraid they will go out of business anyway because they don’t offer something people actually want…

    • What two businesses on York are closing down? Curious to to know.

      I hope when those businesses close a coffee shop can move in. York needs more of them.

      • mike, if you’re tired of cafe de leche, go to elsa’s – it’s a true neighborhood institution. yes, jessica – please let us know. what small businesses are being forced out?

  19. The very appeal of York Blvd. has always been the conspicuously local, working-class, mom-and-pop identity of its businesses. It’s organic community grit is ultimately diluted and homogenized by the self-indulgent and predictable cookie-cutter eccentricity of outsiders primarily interested in becoming very wealthy, which was obviously not the primary goal of York’s traditional businesses that primarily catered to immediate community needs. I always appreciated that there were minimal if any chain-businesses on York but I knew that would change when the Starbucks opened quickly followed by the contrived tables and chairs on the sidewalks that presumably Francophile hipsters adore so much. It ain’t Highland Park and certainly not the York Blvd. that attracted these pretentious posers in the first place.

    • Proper Dos,

      What specifically do you miss about the “old” York Blvd.? When I moved to HP years ago, York Blvd. was an assortment of random small businesses and large discount retail chains – Boost Mobile, Tax Prep, El Super, auto repair, dry cleaner, 99 Cent Store, a couple beauty salons, some party planning stores, a bar or two, a locksmith, and all the major fast food chains. Quite honestly, unless you were visiting the dry cleaner, liquor store, or getting your car fixed, there was no reason to even visit York. Blvd. Now I might be mistaken, but today, most of those business still exist, but new businesses have moved into the neighborhood. These business offered something different – new food choices other than Mexican food, book stores, clothing retailers, and art studios – York is “walkable”.

      Also, what is specially wrong with tables and chairs on the sidewalk? I see it as an inexpensive way for a local business to expand their dining area without having to rent a larger space. Also, we live in Southern California, a place with some of the most beautiful weather in the world. Doesn’t it make sense that patrons could eat outside and enjoy the weather?

      Do you really want the old “York” or is there a racial subtext in your argument? So many people talk about how HP is losing its “diversity” but HP is more diverse today than in the past 20-30 years. The people moving to HP enjoy Hispanic culture, otherwise, they wouldn’t have moved to the neighborhood. They just want other options from time to time. They want to feel like they are welcome and THEIR culture is accepted too. Don’t worry, Whole Foods, Applebee’s and Audi are not moving in. Step back and enjoy the cultural diversity rather than resist it. In fact, maybe someone should help the working-class, mom-and-pop business owners you described reinvent themselves for the changing neighborhood so they don’t go out of business, but thrive in the new HP.

      • Did you not read the article and look at the pictures of all the businesses that were there and are not now? None of them, btw, were retail chain businesses. They were local mom and pop places.

        But it really comes down to money doesn’t it? And by the looks of it, it comes down to the property owners that lease businesses in HLP. Seems like the fast increasing property values in HLP is what is at the heart of this.

        I guess gentrification indeed equals greed.

        • I’m looking at the pictures of the new businesses on York, and I’m still seeing all local “mom and pop” places–just not the ones that used to be there. In several cases, the new stores and eateries replaced empty storefronts. Here’s a tip: that’s a good thing.

          I really do not see what the problem is here, other than poor people and old people complaining about change.

      • “What specifically do you miss about the “old” York Blvd.?” The sum of virtually every item you cited because of its simple grit. And that “racial subtext” is always more about your own guilt and insecurity. Otherwise, NELA has always had a significant white population no more or less working-class than the rest of us. Along with Asians among others. It’s not a big deal when you’re born and raised in NELA. And I for one am not threatened by the change beyond it becoming the norm. It’s always felt good to know that places like “Old York Blvd.” still existed in NELA, which doesn’t exist anywhere else in L.A. It’s a unique and traditional L.A. diversity or what’s left of it. Not trendy just simple essential and unique at the same tiime. We’ve now got Echo Park, Silverlake, NoHo, and the entire westside for the hip alternative. Ain’t nothing wrong with that but some folks do want to just work, live, and breathe not just buy and spend or feel uncomfortable if you don’t. That ain’t community and it’s certainly not a neighborhood.

    • Predictable cookie cutter AND eccentric at the same time? Wow, that’s sounds challenging.

      • Not half as challenging as ‘contrived tables and chairs’.
        Y’know, once the furniture starts moving in, well, there goes the neighborhood….

      • Those concepts are not mutually exclusive. Things can start out as being eccentric, but what happens if everyone jumps on board with similar “cookie cutter” ideas/businesses? That’s how gentrification usually works, and why in the end it becomes homogeneous in many ways.

  20. I notice several instances of straight-up xenophobia in these comments — “the contrived tables and chairs on the sidewalks that presumably Francophile hipsters adore so much”; “the $21 asparagus with something I don’t understand as an entree”.

    I’d suggest that talking trash about French culture makes about as much sense as talking trash about Mexican culture. I.e., none. The fact that those doing the trash talk are not even well-informed about the cultures they’re bashing is just the frosting on the bacon-crumble donut.

    • You missed the point. The point is the the “culture” of money becomes the overriding factor when a community is gentrified.

      • X-Man, What’s your point???

        New (as in non-Hispanic) people shouldn’t move to Highland Park?
        New businesses shouldn’t open unless there is vacant space – AND – if they open, they should only open a business that sells goods and services that are inline with what the current neighborhood can financially afford?
        Maybe landlords should reduce the rent or even better, donate the business to all the poor mom and pop shops in the neighborhood. After all, the neighborhood can NEVER have too many taco shops and mini-marts all with exactly the same food, marketing, and image.

        Oh, but while you’re at it, maybe you should speak out against all the OLD HP citizens, the real greedy pigs in this situation. They are the people cashing in and selling their disgusting homes for top dollar. $500k for a 1,100 shitethole that smells like pee and mold – oh, and a putrid backyard concrete jungle littered with oil stains, chicken cages, and pitbull shite? Your right, a true “culture” of greed!

  21. There are 60 comments about this post. EVERYTIME a story pops up on Eastsider about gentrification the old, poor people of the neighborhood get their panties in wad while the hipster who sits in front of Highland Cafe twirls his handle bar mustache with their dirty index finger.

  22. I don’t get what”s all the fuss about. I for one love the changes and see my property value increasing. As to the notion of old businesses being pushed out thats pure bull. Fusion Burger Burger was opened up by two local hispanics<father and son to be exact. The Highland Park Cafe is also local hispanics, they are the kids of the previous restaurant that occupied that location. As to Thank You and Extraordinary Realtor both structures where empty for years and boarded up. BA shares the space with the bakery next to it and the owners of the bakery made improvements of there own and changed a few things. It is a mixture of new comers and those who have call Highland Park home for years. I purchased my home 11 years ago because it's what and where i could afford as well as what and where I preferred to live. All this strange pus back or threat is ridiculous. I could buy the argument if these examples I mentioned earlier didn't exist or if it was chain stores taking over these spots but it's far from that. I too can't understand the fear which some seem to express over these changes. Cleaning up the streets and making improvements should be applauded not scorned. I for the life of me don't understand, and this is coming from an Jamaican immigrant. So before you label me s hipster or white get the facts right and stop with this truly ignorant and fool hardy belief that some how your being invaded by the other.

  23. “There are 60 comments about this post” and at least 50 are from obnoxious brats thumbing their noses and twirling “dirty index fingers” while locals chuckle at how they didn’t dare come into our neighborhoods just 10 short years ago. It’s a humorous situation all around. Btw, we’re not all old and poor and certainly not afraid. Just waiting for the entire trend to blow over and apparently some of us “greedy pigs” are becoming filthy rich in the process(?!). I once again hear laughter all around! Since I’m neither old or poor, I’m preparing to laugh last.

  24. Nice write up! Props to the author.

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