North Van Nuys: Ready for Gentrification!
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True and imagined, both a physical place and a state of mind,
"North Van Nuys" can be your neighborhood. Who lives and works
and plays here? Like the place, find a potpourri...
Van Nuys is one of the older towns in the San Fernando Valley (an
interior valley Northwest of the City of Los Angeles, of which it
is a part). At its north edge one formerly found a General
Motors assembly plant, bean fields and suburban tract homes. Now
urbanizing, "North Van Nuys" expands beyond its small geography
to encompass several other nearby communities. It might be
defined as people and places that are "not those rich people down
around Ventura Boulevard". As a state of mind, though, it is
joyful, affirmative and takes a certain pride in not being
When I was a young man, the first need in any location (after
cheap rent) was the ability to eat at any time of night that you
might get hungry. In Santa Barbara, there was only the Greyhound
bus station--not really satisfactory-- until a REAL 24-hour coffee
shop, Loop's, opened among the orange groves on the two lanes of
upper State Street. When I moved to Los Angeles to go to
college, the Hollywood Ranch Market seemed like one of the
wonders of the modern world. Well, North Van Nuys has food for
you, any time you want it.
As the San Fernando Valley becomes more interesting, many former
residents are building new cultural ghettos in adjacent
land-locked valleys. Transportation to these new suburbs adds
hours of stress to the quiet desperation that often rides on a
long-distance commute. Meanwhile, the four freeways, the trains
and the airports that serve North Van Nuys are an upscale mobile
manager's dream. Shhh! Don't tell...
Many of the big factories of the northeast San Fernando Valley
no longer hum and clang and belch. Still, there is plenty of
small industry along the railroad tracks and the byways to go
with big retail and lots of service. This is a place that was
advertised as suburbia, but it was, and is, founded on work.
We still need some bookstores, funky gathering places and a lake,
but you'll be surprised what you can find, if you look.
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