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I'm leaving quiet morning walks to Groundwork Coffee, where the regulars ask your dog's name and wonder aloud what it says about your politics. I'm leaving the anarchy of First Fridays, where hideaways like the upstairs at Hal's let you feel like you've just entered a saloon after a long day of herding cattle. I'm leaving the beach basketball courts, where your ability to argue the score makes you a more valuable player than your jump shot.
The dumpy Oakwood one-bedroom I was renting, part of a triplex with a deck that'd make Mr. Miyagi proud, was sold a few months ago for $1.2 million. The new owner is relocating my neighbors, a couple of Venice locals, so he can tear down some walls and make himself at home. I could have stayed, but I'm out, heading east. Goodbye, Venice.
The rents have gone up. Google is here now. The neighborhood is trendier than ever, covered in chambray shirts and entitlement. Small-plate restaurants and surf-chic shops flank Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which jumped the shark a long time ago but lately it feels like the boat pulled back around for another pass over a Great White.The bodega across from Abbot's Pizza was chopped in half to make room for another boutique. Someone is trying to build a boutique hotel down by Joe's. There's a new outdoor cafe with fake grass serving organic juice -- it's wildly popular.
Like any gentrifier, I believe the line stopped right after me. I've only been in Venice a few years, so any old-timer could point to when Licks Pier was demolished, or the Pavillion disappeared, or the Whole Foods arrived, and say he's seen a lot more, that I am part of the problem, and he'd be right. But Venice has always been a myth, a signpost to an arcadian You Should've Been There. And now it's time to move on.
I'm leaving the best neighborhood in Los Angeles.