Gay Realty Watch: Los Angeles’s Crooked Downtown Streets

Gay Los Angeles Real EstateGay Realty Watch is the new project of Gay Realty Network, one of the oldest directories of gay and gay friendly real estate agents on the web.  We focus on real estate news for gay friendly markets around the world.  Today’s focus is Los Angeles – with a year-full of sunshine, a thriving LGBT community, and lots of guys and girls in skimpy swim suits.  Enjoy!

As a boy, I paged through the old Renie Atlas of Los Angeles streets and later the Thomas Guide. The fact that there was a map linking my Lakewood neighborhood to the vast grid of Los Angeles made my suburban location more real to me. I naively assumed that the maps didn’t lie. I expected to see avenues pointing due north and south and major streets going east and west. That’s how nearly all cities were laid out in the West, unless an accident of coastline or unsuitable ground prevented it. But not Los Angeles, whose heart was made crooked.

Downtown Los Angeles is cocked about 36 degrees from the north-south grid that was Thomas Jefferson’s dream for filling in the empty places on the blank page of the continent. Jefferson imagined his rational geometry penetrating forests, fording rivers and passing across prairies, leaving behind a national design of townships and sections that extended uniformly from the Alleghenies to the Pacific Ocean. The West’s conquest (and its conversion into marketable real estate) began in 1785 when Congress adopted Jefferson’s scheme to lay over the disorderly wilderness his rigidly right angle grid, where north is always at the top, south always at the bottom.

The streets of downtown Los Angeles have a different dream. They do not lead to the cardinal points of the compass but to the uncertain spaces in between. Ambiguity is written on our landscape.

Full Story from the LA Times

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