Highland Park, Keeping Classic LA Alive.

Highland Park is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood is nestled in the hilly area above Downtown LA along the Arroyo Seco, making it feel urban, yet suburban at the same time. Highland Park strikes a harmonious balance between grunge and classic LA elegance.

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When I set out to do this story on the nooks of Highland Park I was initially excited to discover the hidden urban spaces of LA’s very own nooked community. The more I walked the streets, weaving in and out between the avenues and main street of Figueroa, I quickly realized that so much of this neighborhood is very much still a residential community. Highland Park may be opening its door to the wave of new age street art, nightlife and eateries, but it is still very much of the community and being held strong by those who have lived here for generations.

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Classic cars line the avenues of Highland Park’s residential streets.
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On Highland Park’s residential streets you will find everything from classic cars to classic Angelenos rocking old skool Vans, Raiders backpack and Che t-shirts.

Street art is an incredible way to hear the voices of those who walk, breathe and live the streets of their neighborhood, and most of the graffiti I found was centered around family, maintaining cultural traditions alive and  Los Angeles pride. The more I saw and the more I walked the streets of Highland Park, the more those three themes stood out to me.

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Graffiti decorating the parking lots behind Figueroa St.
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Street Art depicting Pride of LA and family from the alleys Highland Park.
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Highland Park natives defending culture through Graffiti
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Street Art coloring the busiest street in Highland Park,  Figueroa St.

Something that was notable in my wanders was the amount of community gardening taking place. The Milagro Allegro Community Garden integrates urban farming, art and education in the heart of the Highland Park neighborhood.

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Milagro Alegra Community Garden in the heart of Highland Park.
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Corn flourishing on the edge of Milagro Alegra Community Garden.

The neighborhood is quiet, calm and truly reflects the pride in both the predominant latino culture, and in the Los Angeles culture. Although a new wave of  gentrification has hit Highland Park strongly, depleting much of the latino businesses that dominated the area, many also have agreed that it has brought more than the common hipster to the community, its also bridging a gap to DTLA. There was a harmonious balance through the residential streets  in families living amongst the avenues off fig of both latino and young hipster families. This harmony and unity is something I hope remains in balance in the new found excitement for a non saturated nook of LA. My hope is that these photos help inspire an integration of the pre existing culture into the new wave of popular culture. Lets keep LA, LA.

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Beautiful craftsman home on the edge of one of the many dead end streets on the ridges of Highland Park
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Highland Park is a  suburban-feeling neighborhood with urban inclinations
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Mangoneada, a frozen mango popsicle drenched in chile and lime from Julios cart is sure to make the heat bearable for the rest of the summer.

If your looking to get out of the bustle of Figueroa St. or York Blvd and want to explore a natural beauty, look no further than Ernest E. Debbs Park. Not only will you find a quiet hilltop park with 360 views of Los Angeles, you will also find a hidden pond on the top of this hill park completely surrounded by trees, making this hidden gem the perfect place to bring a blanket, book and one of Julios Mangoneadas!

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Grass field at the edge of Ernest E. Debbs Park
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View from Ernest E. Debbs Park overlooking LA
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Classic California blue skies and bursting mountain ridges make a drive to Highland Park one of the most scenic experiences in LA.

So if your still wondering where the hidden spaces are in HP, all you have to do is go out there and walk, get lost amongst the gallery of beautifully built old craftsman homes gated by palm trees on streets lined with classic cars, elote and raspado carts with an incredible backdrop of mountains and blue skies.

 

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Raquel Natalicchio
Creative Writer |

From a young age I have always had the innate desire and passion to create. Having my parents in the entertainment industry my childhood was spent living and visiting various cities around the world. Not only was this a huge privilege, but it was also what planted the seed of curiosity and fascination about the world around me. As an only child I found most of my adventures were by myself, the only way to share the moments I had experienced was to capture it through disposable cameras that were given to me. The exploration of these mini adventures led me to find what came so naturally to me, the ability to tell a story through my eyes and the lens of a camera. From that moment on, all bets were off. I tried every angle, macro, micro, laying on the ground, up on buildings, night, day, whatever it took to understand and improve my ability to share these unique moments.

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