Living in West Adams as the neighborhood changes

queenannehome_zocalo-bariscale.jpgJennifer Ferro, the general manager of KCRW, writes at Zocalo about changes in her neighborhood near Western Avenue and Washington Boulevard. The community doesn't feel as close and connected as it once did, so that when a shotgun went off outside her window and she looked out to see a man walking down the street with the gun in the air, she couldn't warn her neighbors. Nobody had each other's phone numbers anymore. An excerpt from the piece:

I moved there from Venice in 2000. My husband and I were expecting a daughter and blending a family. We needed a lot of space, something we couldn’t find or afford in Venice. We were drawn to West Adams by the architecture and the possibility of owning a home somewhere central. My husband had also lived there a few years earlier.

After searching through many boarding houses and fixer uppers, we found a 100-year-old Victorian. It had two floors plus a full standing attic, four bedrooms, sleeping porches, and grand downstairs rooms. We loved it. It was also on a street with very few apartment houses, which meant our neighbors would be invested in the block.

Soon after we moved in, our neighbors, most of whom were black families, introduced themselves. Some brought over home-baked cookies, and others brought pizza and drinks. Having come from apartment living where the concept of neighbor meant annoyances through shared walls, I was happy to be in a real community for a change. My husband and I soon had a second daughter, and many of the neighbors had kids who were around the same age.

The man with the gun, by the way, is the suspect in the shooting of a young MTV executive in Mid City two days earlier, Ferro says.

Photo: courtesy of Floyd B. Bariscale

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