Dialogue continues about what and who defines the Los Angeles area's hundreds of neighborhoods. Today in the Times, columnist Hector Tobar revisits his home turf in East Hollywood — he's still reacquainting with Los Angeles after some years as a foreign correspondent — and is surprised to find it is now designated as Little Armenia.
On my recent return, I found my old homeplace had a new name.
"Little Armenia" read the bold white letters on blue rectangular signs, installed by city workers on Hollywood Boulevard. Unfortunately, I am not Armenian.
Returning to your childhood home and finding it officially named for another ethnic group is sort of like going to your birthday party and finding someone else's name on the cake.
If the sign had read "Little Guatemala," I'm sure I would have felt a burst of pride: I might have called my immigrant mother to say, "There's a little part of L.A. named after us!"
The sense that the Armenians had picked my pocket, culturally speaking, lasted about three seconds -- three seconds in which I channeled my inner Lou Dobbs and scowled like Bill O'Reilly.
Then the great urban designer in the sky whispered in my ear, "Don't be a hypocrite."
Also, at LAist Zach Behrens updated ex-blogger LA City Nerd's efforts to personally map the city's neighborhoods. The subject of neighborhoods came up last week in a post here and on my Friday KCRW segment.