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Los Angeles: The Next Stop On The L Train—With Skyscrapers, Too

The Next Stop On The L Train

By Jeff Vasishta September 28, 2016
Photo courtesy of Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

[otw_shortcode_dropcap label=”G” font=”Bowlby One SC” color_class=”otw-black-text” background_color_class=”otw-no-background” size=”large” border_color_class=”otw-no-border-color”][/otw_shortcode_dropcap]leaming skyscrapers funded by wealthy developers. Neighborhood housing associations in vain opposition. Sounds familiar? This time the all-too-common gentrification scenario isn’t only playing out in New York but in LA too, where luxury hotels, shopping centers, condos and apartment complexes are turning the sun kissed, palm tree dotted vistas into a Dubai like construction frenzy.

Related: Rentals and Chill: NYC Rents Cool Down As Inventory Rises

Known for its chill Cali vibe and show biz glitz, the LA of tomorrow may have more in common with New York than many would like to admit. Somewhere Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. are turning in their graves. StopManhattanwood.org aims to stop the increasing urbanization of Hollywood and Greater Los Angeles, a city that virtually invented the term “urban sprawl.” Citing increased pollution and bottle neck traffic, StopManhattanwood’s billboards have started to appear all over town.

They may have point. In a town known for traffic and smog, a recent survey showed that Greater Los Angeles has 11 of the 30 worst traffic bottle necks in the nation. Adding skyscrapers to the midst of the worst jams is surely akin to pouring a can of gasoline on a blazing fire. But why the need for the skyscrapers in the first place? Did New York transplants feel out of place not bedding down in the heavens amid the sound of honking cars down below?

Turns out, as if they weren’t being blamed for enough, those pesky millennials are responsible. According to a Department of Finance report released in May of this year, the city’s population passed the four million mark for the first time ever. There are only so many two-story apartment buildings in the Valley or bungalows in the hills to accommodate them all.

Demographer Dowell Myers of USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy told LA Weekly that with Mexican immigration at a standstill (news for the Trump campaign) and families on the decrease in Los Angeles, the growth spurt here points to millennial workers who enjoy dense, downtown-style accommodations.

“We’ve been losing Latinos and kids,” Myers said. “So this increase in population is not due to immigration at all. It’s due to millennials and jobs.” Myers also said that the city grew by 50,000 people in the last year while only adding around 12,000 housing units.

If millennials are in part responsible for the LA population boom, you can also throw hipsters and Brooklynites into the ven diagram, the intersection of which, must eat up the entire population of Williamsburg. As the NY Times reported: “The wagon train mentality, it seems, is taking hold among the L train set: Go West!”

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It appears that the expense of New York, coupled with the its increasingly sterile aesthetic—box chain stores and hedge funders—has sent many creatives packing for left coast where art, food and fashion are all it the ascendant. Let’s not forget music, too. As record labels and recording studios are consolidated into their mothership entertainment conglomerates (film and TV), many singers, songwriters and producers have decamped.

NY native, dance music DJ/producer Moby, defined the East Village hipster a decade ago. He told the Guardian last year that he’s happy to have left the NYC winter blues behind for LA.

“I was so accustomed to the city’s absurd cult of money that it took me years to notice I didn’t have any artist friends left in Manhattan,” he wrote. Los Angeles, by comparison, is now where young artists “can really experiment, and if their efforts fall short, it’s not that bad because their rent is relatively cheap and almost everyone else they know is trying new things and failing, too.”

Now it seems that LA’s transplants have all they need—creative pals to hang out with in the sunshine and skyscrapers and traffic in case they’re missing some of the east coast aesthetic. For long time LA residents and those being displaced, or caught up in traffic, it’s all one big giant pain. Perhaps LA will expand its subways system so it really resembles New York. Add the wafting aroma of summer trash, train delays and failed air conditioning units and the picture is complete.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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