Writing today at The Awl, Eric Spiegelman is amused by the cacophony of Los Angeles place names — some more valid than others. He starts at the corner of Wilshire and Highland, where the city's blue sign on one corner tells you you're in Brookside, while a sign on the other corner says Park Mile, and most people driving through probably just think Hancock Park or Mid-Wilshire, maybe Miracle Mile. (Google Maps calls it Dockweiler, but as usual that's another story.) Brookside, by the way, is a reference to the natural creek that flows behind homes on South Longwood Avenue — visible to outsiders where it crosses under West 8th Street a short half-block east of Highland. Spiegelman gets a little bit wrong — he calls East Los Angeles a separate city, and some day it may be — but he strikes the right tone.
Angelenos have a gentlemen’s agreement to let people say they live in a neighborhood when really they live right next to it.
Consider the three Carthays, which lie a mile to the west: Carthay Square, Carthay Circle and South Carthay. Real-estate agents call this area 'Beverly Hills Adjacent.' This is geographically accurate; the Carthays are indeed right next to Beverly Hills. But Beverly Hills has higher property values, its own school district and its own police force. The Carthays have houses with bars on all the windows. If someone tells you they live Beverly Hills Adjacent, they’re selling something.
People who live along the eastern edge of East Hollywood will sometimes fudge their way into Los Feliz. There’s a section of Los Feliz where it’s popular to consider yourself part of Silver Lake. Hipsters who think Silver Lake has become too gentrified claim the disputed border between the two for Echo Park. Locals who don’t care refer to that border as HaFo SaFo, after the Happy Foot Sad Foot sign at Sunset and Benton. A friend of mine insists he coined this but I’m skeptical. The city’s official name for it is Berkeley Hills. Nobody calls it that.
Previously in LA Observed geography:
Love this 1918 L.A. map
Oops, Google Maps robot drinking again
Why Los Angeles leans to the right
Where is the Eastside, the conversation continues
Help rename the faux Eastside