Monday, February 26, 2007

Maps of LA

With all the talk of maps and whether they're right or not, below for your perusal (when you have some time) are over 60 map categories representing hundreds of maps relating to the City of Los Angeles. The maps are not all from the City itself; some come from the County, research institutions, niche websites, and other organizations. We tried to organize them by general category, some appearing more than once in various categories. This is not the list of maps for the City, but these are the most interesting and useful we've found thus far.

At the bottom are some other mapping tools that may help in your understanding of your neighborhood and the City (this is in addition to all the Google Maps and related tools).

What map is missing that you'd like to share? Is there one here for which you'd like more information or detail?

Historical Maps:
Historical Maps from the Library of Congress (Star Maps, Oil field, Early driving maps, promotional maps, Red Car maps, etc.)
WPA Landuse Maps (1930s)
Sanborn Maps of Los Angeles
Annexation Map
Los Angeles County Historical Topographic Maps

An unofficial, inaccurate map of LA Communities (This map is a place to begin to understand the varied communities of the City - many of which are misrepresented on or missing entirely from the map.)

Housing, Planning, & Zoning:
Los Angeles City Limits Map
How Big is LA? map
Community Plans and Planning Area maps
Animated Census Maps (1940 to 1990)
Affordable Housing Maps (2004)
Housing Authority Units (by various districts)
WPA Landuse Maps (1930s)
Population Density (in comparison to New York City)

Human Services:
Youth Data Mapped in the City (by council district)
Existing and Proposed Libraries map (1/07)
Seats Needed in 2020 in LAUSD (2002)
Maps of Downtown Homeless (from
First Care Panel Medical Facilities Map

Other Maps & Repositories:
Interactive City Maps (Zimas, iMapLA, NavigateLA) (This website allows you to create maps and find data on health and human services from Infoline, nonprofits from the Center for Nonprofit Management, all public schools in Los Angeles County, and various landmarks.)

"Living Independently Los Angeles" (via UCLA)

Everything you need to know about mapping: CSUN's Map Library (mostly on site and not online). is a good place to search for maps, as is the Union Collection (via the Huntington).

The Los Angeles Public Library also has a collection - not online - of useful maps.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

100 years ago in Watts...

With the recent talk of The Watts Towers and of LA maps, here's a treat for those who want to combine both. "Hal" wrote in and asked:
"Is the current 108th St in Watts District the old Rosella Avenue in Watts City?"

Below is a map of Watts in 1908, just about 100 years ago:

And here's a map via Google Maps of the same streets in Watts today with their current names:

Notice the changes... Rosella Ave of 1908 is actually present day Beach Street, just east of the modern day Blue Line. 108th street is not on the historic map, but here's what we've got:

Today = 1908
Century = Pacific
103rd = Main Street
103rd PLACE = Diller
104th = Christian
105th = Albert
106th = Edward
107th = Morton (west of tracks)/Robin (east of tracks)

Hal then goes on to ask: "Also what were the boundaries of the Elcoat Tract in the area of Watts City? What were the boundaries of the San Antonio District?" Does anyone know??

Friday, February 23, 2007

LA's 24th Sister City

Soon, there won't be any more room on the LA Sister City Pole...

For those of you keeping track, Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, has become LA's 24th Sister City today.

Remember, they added Beirut back in the summer of 2006, just before the most recent conflict there?

And here's a refresher on how to establish a Sister City in Los Angeles.

Any guess as to which City will be LA's 25th Sister City?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Watts Tower's Cross-town Cousin....

Folk Art in Los Angeles is significant. Not only do we have a museum for it, but we have one of the finest examples in the Towers in Watts built by Simon Rodia.

But, did you know that the Watts Towers have a modern day cousin across town in Venice?

Check it out! (You'll have to see it to believe it.)

Let's hope they've got a permit for their art forms visible from the street.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

LA's Wedding Map

Often, there are maps that we criticize for not being accurate. I think if not on the City-centric blogs, then where else is such banter appropriate?

I give you the latest example, found in the pages of magazine for Southern California. A friend passed on to me page 160 regarding invites which had a quarter page dedicated to custom maps for the wedding invitations. This is the custom wedding map they presented from Notice how the City's landmarks have been shaken up and just spit out onto the page:
I especially like The Farmer's Market east of Downtown and Santa Monica below (south of) LAX. (Perhaps putting in Venice was too difficult?) I like the concept, but come on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Don't Park at a White Curb

An anonymous reader wrote in and asks about getting a parking ticket in a white zone:
"I just got a ticket in Silverlake[sic] for parking in a white zone outside of a
church from 9:30-11PM. There was no signage at all, just a white curb. Is it
worth fighting? Thanks."

I would say "no," since a white zone is technically passenger loading & unloading, 24 hours each day, 7 days each week. If you parked there for 90 minutes, you're technically in violation; and I would not waste the time fighting it because you probably won't win since you're technically in the wrong.

Remember, it's only Green Zones and Yellow Zones that allow parking after 7pm.

And remember, Silver Lake is two words.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dogs bite Van Nuys

In 2002, Van Nuys ranked 10th in the nation according to the number of dog bites inflicted on U.S. Postal Carriers with 61 recorded bites.

That's some top ten list to be on!

(Does anyone have the latest information?)

Valentine's Day admittance

I have an announcement to make...

I know it may come as a shock, but I'm ready to come out and say it...

I love Los Angeles.

There. I said it.

How does someone who loves the City spend the day prescribed for love? At the Central Library, researching the City so loved.

They're open until 8pm tonight, so there's plenty of time to spend with the one you love.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Poem for LA

The City Nerd's creative writing is decent but not "the best ever" by any means. I appreciate meter and literary devices like assonance & consonance, and when that's mixed with Los Angeles, it's a poem I like.

So, The Lincoln Heights Nerd just discovered she's such. (Like yesterday: better late than never.)

But more interesting is that she reprinted a poem about downtown from 1992. I thought it was quite nice, and worthy of a reprint:

Summer came to Spring Street
as something came crashing out of a third story window.
The curious few stop to wonder at its meaning,
And then move on, as if in disappointed agreement:
“It was only a chair.”

Then, it made me think: what's my short Poem for LA? Here's my first draft of a 4-liner:
Los Angeles

As the world opens to the universe beyond
The streets slither and creep in peace
From here in between it all
Chaotic wonder - mainly at first - takes the City away

Have you got a short poem to share?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

LA225 Website: better late than never!

Back on September 4, 2006, the City celebrated its 225th birthday. Well, today, LA, Inc. has caught on to what we did all last year with 225 Ways to Celebrate LA, and 5 months later, they've launched a site to celebrate the City's 225th Birthday. I'm glad they did it, even if we're half way into the celebration.

Some points to note:

First, the best thing about he site is the 225 special offers. There are meal discounts, event & venue discounts, shopping discounts and my favorite: 11% off at all Macy's.

The 225 Fun Facts leave a lot to be desired, focusing on the county and definitely revealing this site was designed to promote LA to tourists talking about days of sunshine and acting as a "digital booster" (with an entire 225 section devoted to hosting a meeting in LA) The "notable songs" are lacking with only "I Love LA" and "Born in East LA" on the list, and they list famous people born in LA: Julia Child, Oscar de la Hoya, Mia Farrow, Marilyn Monroe, General George S. Patton, Jr., Sally Ride, Duke Snider, Adlai Stevenson, and Venus Williams (wow: 9 people in 225 years are notable). The 225 Historical Facts are informative and make the site worth visiting (besides the 11% off at Macy's).

The 225 Movies section is impressive, though, I wonder if there were more than just these 225 movies set and filmed in LA? And the TV Show section is equally interesting - I had forgotten about Baywatch Nights.

The list of 225 songs about or for LA is good, but it's interesting that a song sung by different artists is listed multiple times. Well, I guess each version could be in your iPod.

The Movie Locations are good, though they miss the Valley locations of Van Nuys City Hall in Liar, Liar, the Ventura Boulevard in Encino setting (across from Versaille) from The 40 Year Old Virgin, and The Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High - to name a few.

Overall, the site is good. It shows the world there is a lot that makes up LA. What bothers me a bit is the meshing of LA City and LA County, but that's just the City Nerd in me. I would not call this comprehensive, but is serves a purpose to promote LA to outsiders. There is a lot of information to digest, and the long lists can be daunting if you're not ready to scroll for a while. It's a good start to create a resource for visitors about all there really is to do and see here.
What's missing? First, where are the 225 books about LA - there are at least that many to list? Also, where are the off-beat facts, locations, etc. that make this City tick? The Things to Do section fails to list the Downtown Arts District under "Arts Districts" and under neighborhoods, fails to list dozens that deserve recognition. Also, the shopping districts are only those highly publicized ones and missing are the ones that have unique niches in LA. (Perhaps a reorganization of that section would help.) Also needed is a search form or something to help people sift through the over 2000 pieces of information on the site.

I'm glad to see that LA, Inc. has taken this step to start something for Los Angeles. This is a stepping-off point for good online resources to come.

By the way...
How is it that Mayor Villaraigosa's picture on the homepage of this site, which is the product of a private non-profit that serves and promotes the entire region, not just the City? He's the only real person on the site; this guy is everywhere!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Come Back Soon...

The LAFD Nerds are on hiatus. Let's hope it doesn't last too long...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Council Gazzette: a good idea falls flat

The then-new Council President Eric Garcetti had a great concept in putting out an online (and sometimes hard copy ) document call the "Council Gazette." This would serve to update all readers as to the issues happening in each council district. In March of 2006, the inagural issue was released and posted online. For the last 11 months - nothing more has come of it.

Councilman Garcetti - how can we get this idea back off the ground and happening monthly to illuminate the success in the 15 districts of the city? Perhaps a strictly online version? A blog of sorts for all of the Council offices to post on? This could create a lot of information and some friendly competition between the council members to get their information posted (as long as they couldn't just "publish" press releases and posts had a maximum word count). Let's embrace technology and spread the word about what's going on in each district.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Stop Junk Mail; Save the World

As LA as a City and a community moves to reduce its footprint on the world (via people like this), there are some things we can do as individuals to help. One way is to recycle junk mail that comes to us daily and unnecessarily. But what if we didn't get that junk mail?

There is a way to get ride of junk mail, with the information courtesy of the City of LA. They say it takes 3 to 6 months to feel the impact, but it's wort a shot. Some of the suggestions are:

Return Junk Mail Stamped "Address Correction Requested" or "Return Postage Guaranteed"
Return it unopened to the sender by writing "refused, return to sender" on the envelope. DO NOT write this on mail without that special notation; otherwise the post office will not return it to the sender.

Get off National Mailing Lists
Write to the address below and ask to be placed on a "suppress" file. Include a list of your name and address in all the different ways it appears on your junk mail. The Mail Preference Service places your name in the suppress file for five years. The Direct Marketing Association sends this list to its business subscribers four times a year.
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Notify Mailing List Brokers
Some companies specialize in collecting and selling mailing lists. Write or call these companies and ask to be placed in their "suppress" files:

The Polk Co. (formerly National Demographics & Lifestyles)
(800) 873-7655
(Maintains city directory lists.)

Donelly Marketing, Inc.
First Data Solutions, Data Base Operations
1235 N Avenue
Nevada, IA 50201-1419
(888) 633-4402

(800) 407-1088

Database America
Compilation Department
100 Paragon Drive
Montvale, NJ 07645-4591
(800) 223-7777

Haines & Co.
Criss-Cross Directory
Attn: Director of Data Processing
8050 Freedom Ave., NW
North Canton, OH 44720
(800) 562-8262

Reduce Coupons, Ads, Product Samples
If you don't want these items, check for the name of the company distributing the item. Write or call and ask that your address be removed from the company's lists. One company mailing these items is:
Advo Incorporated
Delivery Services
1001 W. Walnut Street
Compton, CA 90220-5191
(310) 637-0438

Visit the "Stop Junk Mail" page for more information and the complete list of tips.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Truly a City Nerd

It's posts like this that confirm Mr. Richardson of Blogdowntown as a true City Nerd.

He writes about the history of the buildings burned yesterday in the "Fire on Broadway."

Read his post, and learn something about the history of Downtown and the City.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Faces of Sunset

Rarely is there a website that captures the diverse essence of the City. Faces of Sunset does just that. Take a look around the site and be sure to check out the journal entry about the photo shoot with the Mayor. It reveals the political machine in action.

(Also check out the shot of Bamattre - pre-"retirement."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

One year...

This is my obligatory "hey, I've blogged for a year now" post.