If you're sick of the New York media's condescending news coverage of America's largest county, be prepared for a fresh roll of the eyes.
Gawker recently asked its readers to suggest what the Williamsburg of different cities is, because New York is the center of the universe, of course. The resulting list identifies the Williamsburg of both Los Angeles (Silver Lake) and, bizarrely, Burbank (Magnolia Park), explaining that Williamsburg and neighboring Bushwick have become “a global icon of 'hipness.'”
But Burbank? It has a Williamsburg? It has anything to do with the idea of “hipness”? Last we checked, Burbank was just a suburb – and a boring one at that. In light of its inclusion, we pondered what the Williamsburg of other local communities might be:
Echo Park. Echo Park, of course, is already a Williamsburg in its own right. But if it were to have its own Williamsburg within a Williamsburg, it would be the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado, a neighborhood still gritty enough to see the occasional street robbery but cool enough to have an American Apparel a few doors down, and the Echo and Echoplex venues just down the street.
Koreatown. The Williamsburg of Koreatown is the corner of Third Street and Vermont, on the eastern edge. You can have a few high-priced, gourmet cocktails at Lock & Key or – or – you can go on a complete bender at the dive bar Monte Carlo and slam Jack and Cokes all night for about the same price. Either way, you're hip. And drunk.
Culver City. Culver City's own Williamsburg is close to home because we made it. Forget Main Street and the foodie revolution that has taken over much of downtown Culver City. It's too expensive for real hipsters. No, the Williamsburg of Culver City is really just the L.A. Weekly building, which is covered in street art by How and Nosm, with a special appearance by Space Invader. How cool is that?
Venice. Venice is just one giant, gentrifying Williamsburg-By-The-Sea, we know. But where is the real Williamsburg in this Williamsburg? We'd have to say Rose Avenue. While the rest of the community is being fortified by drought-tolerant landscaping and luxury bathroom fixtures, Rose is still a giant bathroom for the homeless on some nights – even as the creatives sip their Pinot Noir at Superba Snack Bar. That kind of mix gives it the distinctive, bohemian flavor craved by hipsters. Bum fights and gang shootings coupled with skyrocketing rents? A hipster's dream.
Santa Monica. Santa Monica has become one of the wealthiest municipalities in Los Angeles County. Property value is just unreal. The city is the classic “after” picture of gentrification, if any of you can remember the days when the town still had some funk, Third Street Promenade was just a street of old mom-and-pop stores and there was little difference between the Venice and Santa Monica sides of Dewey Street.
Well, there's still a place where gangs roam, thrift shops thrive and the hotels are really just old motels. It's called the Pico neighborhood. It runs along Pico Boulevard between Lincoln Avenue and the West Los Angeles border. Many Santa Monica College students call it home. And there are plenty of taco trucks and hole-in-the-wall eats to be had.
It's not fully hip yet. But it should be.
And the home of our final local Williamsburg is …
Carson. Yeah, Carson is the home of the L.A. Galaxy and its onetime star David Beckham, not to mention Samoan Crip gangsters. But the real Williamsburg of Carson is at 20700 S. Avalon Blvd. Yeah, you know it. No matter how cool or rich you think you are, you've been to … Ikea. Everybody has at least one Billy bookshelf or Sunnan lamp. Admit it. This is the epicenter. Just don't bring your mom.