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I wanted to explore this neighborhood that is often written off as dull by most observers and so over a couple days, I hopped on and off the DASH mini-buses that run on a loop around the area every 15 minutes
A brief primer on Northridge and some of its features: (If this kind of stuff bores you and you would just like to read narrative with some photos and commentary, you can scroll down to where it says START HERE)
Northridge- a community in the northwestern portion of the San Fernando Valley and home to just over 60,000 people (as of the 2010 Census). Originally known as Totongna to Native Americans in the area (most of whom were lost to the painful Spanish missionary process that began in the late 18th century), it was re-founded as Zelzah in 1911 (renamed North Los Angeles in 1929 and Northridge in 1938) and is now part of the City of Los Angeles, but like many annexed portions of the city, still writes its community name in addresses ("Northridge, CA" instead of "Los Angeles, CA"). Ethnically it is 40% white, 34% Latino, 17% Asian, and 5% black. It is the location of California State University- Northridge (CSUN) and associated with a major 1994 earthquake that had its epicenter in neighboring Reseda. One of the oldest buildings is the Faith Bible Church from 1917 which is now a Korean church and senior center.
|Faith Bible Church as seen from Reseda Boulevard, north of Parthenia|
CSUN- Cal State Northridge was founded in 1958 as "San Fernando Valley State College".
|The library at CSUN. It was Starfleet Academy in the 2009 Star Trek film.|
|Reflecting this, popular local (Southern California and Las Vegas) taco entrepreneurs, Rigo's Tacos opened their 9th location, this time in Northridge and offering CSUN student discounts.|
|The tallest building, known as "West Valley Corporate Center" above senior citizen assisted living and one of the last remaining large vacant parcels in the area.|
|Bryant Street gang tagging in December 2012 on Tampa Avenue at Parthenia|
Sherwood Forest- Throughout Los Angeles (and in particular the San Fernando Valley), it is customary for segments of neighborhoods to periodically "secede" from each other, in particular for property value reasons since the neighborhoods have postal designation status and therefore being "Arleta, CA" can command higher housing prices than "Pacoima, CA". This can be seen with the 1987 renaming of a portion of Canoga Park as "West Hills", the 1992 rebranding of Sepulveda into "North Hills", the renaming of "Lake Balboa" from a portion of Van Nuys, "Valley Village" from North Hollywood (and in that case "Noho Arts District" to differentiate the gentrified area near the Metro station from the largely working class Latino area to the north), and so on. This year, signs went up near Cal State Northridge declaring that particular area southeast of CSUN to now be "Sherwood Forest". The northern portion of Northridge had long ago referred to itself as "Porter Ranch" and the line of areas considered Porter Ranch has dropped down to Devonshire street. The area considered "Northridge" has been further reduced. Is this indicative of how people feel about Northridge? Is it a place now largely defined by a catastrophic earthquake, CSUN, a mall, and aging areas like Byrant-Vanalden? The fact that the homeowners in "Sherwood Forest" named their neighborhood after a forest in England associated with the legend of Robin Hood can speak for itself.
|"pc.Bst.13" (Panorama City Blythe Street mexican mafia) crossed out by "Vincent Town" from North Hills (some of their tags have "13" also indicating mexican mafia)|
|Girl plays on missile on display at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro||, July 2012|
|people camp out on Thanksgiving night 2012 to be first into the store to buy|
I began at Corbin and Parthenia where I and a couple Jehova's Witnesses who were going door to door were the only pedestrians on our side of the street.
Across the street to the north, the neighborhood hides behind walls and turns its back on the street and its emergent vitality potential.
|Buddhist monk in Japan with begging bowl|
Having felt satisfied with my exploration of the state enterprise zone, I re-boarded a DASH shuttle bus and looped around to my next zone of focus, the Bryant-Vanalden area.
|a "welcome to Bryant Street" tag|
|A wall in the area in 1981 (image from Los Angeles Public Library's photo collection)|
The city responded by approving a plan in 1985 to mass evict the 3,000 or so residents (it was hard to keep track of the people living there at any given time) and building middle-income market rate housing with the former residents who qualified as official lease holders, expected to take a small lump resettlement payment and find somewhere else to go.
|1985 photo of anti-eviction rally (Los Angeles Public Library photo collection)|
Instead, most of the buildings were seized by the city from various "slum-lord" land lords and sold en mass to a developer from India who renamed it "Park Parthenia", gated it, re-painted it, and had one vehicular way in and out with a checkpoint manned by guards in bulletproof vests.
ruin porn, I almost didn't post my photographs. But as I have neither an agenda to spit on someone's home, nor celebrate certain aspects, I am simply capturing what is, the same way I observe anywhere else. In fact Bryant-Vanalden seems less depressing to me than the state enterprise zone. It is more alive. Hope is tangible in the air. I feel it. Humanity is alive and on display. Extra-terrestrials come forth and see us.
In fact there is an elementary school (Napa Street School, among the many schools my mother taught at) and many of the residents of this community are families.
I was there during the day
It is important to step back from our subjectivity and be objective from reality. Is this possible?
* directly perceive objects outside the mind by the senses?
* only infer the existence of mind-independent realities on the basis that different representative ideas figure in consciousness?
* deny that there are any objects outside of consciousness?
*say that there are no unchanging essential natures and that there can be no complete and correct theories about what there is?
Is there in fact no intrinsic change, only successive replacement?