L.A. From the Top and Bottom: Best Gazing from the Golden Hood (2008)

Baldwin Hills

From one of the $1 million decks on South Cloverdale Avenue, Los Angeles looks vaguely familiar yet radically different. Inside out, almost — a parallel, alternate Los Angeles. There's a tart metaphor here for Baldwin Hills, the affluent African-American neighborhood long ago dubbed the Golden Ghetto. Baldwin Hills (named for Lucky, not James) sees the city from the opposite direction of residents in the Hollywood Hills. Wilshire Boulevard and City Hall are roughly equidistant to both the terminus of Cloverdale in the south, and high up on Outpost Drive to the north, but from Baldwin Hills all the reassuring Hollywood and downtown landmarks appear small, insignificant. The Hollywood sign is a faint caption, Capitol Records and Library Tower get lost in the clutter of other buildings. Where's the Blue Whale? What happened to Pan Pacific Park? Baldwin Hills' power-line towers and radio beacons don't help sightlines, but the reason for most of the disorientation of visitors to BH is that they don't live here. Successful hill dwellers look across the urban plain, past Rodeo Road, at that other BH, with that other Rodeo thoroughfare, and cannot help but wonder if people in Beverly Hills are looking up at them this very moment — or even know where to look.

—Steven Mikulan

Location Details

Rodeo Road/S Cloverdale Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90016