As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Los Feliz, which is technically a village in Los Angeles. There are a lot of great things about this neighborhood that I love and will miss when I’m no longer here. Recently we have been considering relocating to a different part of town and that has got me thinking about the things I will be giving up if we do. The downside to a pocket of the city like this one are things like noise, dirt, minimal parking and a constant transient presence on or near your property. We also just finished months of enduring a construction project across the street with screeching mechanical sounds only to find out the church next door is undergoing an equally loud SIX MONTH PROJECT in their basement. And they start before business hours, so the sound of wood being thrown into a dumpster woke us up every day last week. All that to say, there are a lot of attractive qualities a suburb could provide–namely, we wouldn’t have to deal with any of the above.
But what I’d miss… well, where to begin. It’s hard to calculate the money saved by being able to walk to almost anything we need. But if I had to guess, I’d say somewhere between 1-2 billion dollars. Here’s how:
- When I want to take the subway somewhere, I walk and in under ten minutes I’m on the red line, which takes me to both Hollywood and Downtown without having to transfer trains.
- I have FOUR grocery stores within walking distance of my place. The one I frequent most is the quickest and flattest walk, which is really nice when I feel like getting out a bit. Trader Joe’s is the farthest and while I could walk, I never do.
- My bank is in the village not once, but twice. If I walk North or South, I will hit an ATM or banker. This is insanely convenient because I never go out of my way to deposit a check or get cash.
- I walk to the post office when I need to ship something. (There’s also a UPS within walking distance!)
- There are both brunch and night life activities that I can walk to. People drive to this part of town just to go to one particular eatery that is always packed. We have multiple venues with live music, celebrity guests and stand up.
- Griffith Park is a ten or fifteen minute walk up the street depending which part you want to go to. It is a gorgeous trek and there is so much to do once you’re there, including the LA Zoo and the Greek Theater, a major concert venue.
- There’s just about every type of food to choose from.
- I can walk to Kaiser. One of their largest LA branches is a few blocks from my place. When I went to the optometrist recently, they put drops in my eyes that made everything blurry for hours after. Thank God I was able to walk home and wasn’t relying on my car!
- I’m one block from a Starbucks in case of serious emergency. I’m more partial to Coffee Bean, which is also walking distance, it’s just a bit further.
- I’m one block from the absolute best shop we’ve found in town to buy bottled beer. They have so much variety and are constantly rotating new things in.
- There are two movie theaters within walking distance, one three screen and a one screen. They show first runs movies and charge way more reasonable prices than most in town. ($6 for a matinée in this town is unheard of, people!) We also know the owner of both and his staff often lets us in free of charge. Who would want to give that up?
- We have a very special local bookstore that we walk to all the time to browse.
- All the major bus routes pass through an intersection one block from here. There is also a taxi stand if we ever need it.
Almost everything I’ve listed would require me to drive if we moved to quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. You trade noise for gas money. I value walking places and even though they would be a short distance in the car, I know we are saving a lot in the long run. I love how busy Los Feliz is and that I can always count on seeing dozens of other people out and about when I walk somewhere.
The rent is higher in this neighborhood than some other parts of town, but it is in exchange for the accessibility you get. How does one decide that the bad outweigh the good in these sorts of situations? Am I willing to give up all of these wonderful things for some peace and quiet and a little more space? Possibly. If we can find all we are looking for at the price point we want, then it just might be. There are pros and cons to every town and my next step is to try to determine if the money saved in this part, is worth the price in rent. What do you think? I’ll let you know what we decide.