Friday, May 24, 2013

Week-ender - a short history of where I live...

I happen to live in Sherman Oaks, which is in the "valley" as they say.  That refers to the San Fernando Valley, which has several of these little cities within it's boundaries. It's on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains and tends to be hotter than the Los Angeles basin, which is where Santa Monica is, and Hollywood. North Hollywood is across the mountains and is very different than Hollywood.

As you know "Hollywood" is a hundred or more small towns that eventually got swallowed by the city of Los Angeles and are now part of L.A. County. There are oddities as well; Hollywood proper has LA police and fire while Glendale and Pasadena have their own police and fire depts. Santa Monica has it's own police and fire but Brentwood is part of L.A. Beverly Hills also has it's own police.

Area codes are the big thing here, 310 is the most desireable as it's in the west side of L.A. where life is pretty good, 818 where I live is not bad, but not as cool as 310. 323 is mostly Los Angeles itself and is tied with 818.  Anything else doesn't matter except there are 1o more area codes in LA county.

These area codes are judged; 310's look down at 818's who look down on 323 and so on. 310 is alleged to have more movie stars and executives but the studios are pretty much spread out over 818 and 310. Desirable places depend on how much money you have. The really rich are in 310 although West Hollywood has a huge gay population. 818 has some rich but mostly a mix of illegal Hispanics and people who don't like the Hollywood side of the mountains.

Then there's Sherman Oaks.

It's a small city of 52,000 and a mix of homes and apartment buildings and most importantly is --- s.o.b.

Now before you think it's a bad thing it's not; s.o.b. refers to an expression in Sherman Oaks used by those who live there -- it stands for South of The Boulevard

The boulevard in question is the famous and infamous Ventura Boulevard which crosses the San Fernando valley. Sherman Oaks sits almost in the middle with it's back against those same Santa Monica mountains. And Beverly Hills is on the other side so a little bit of it stretches over to Sherman Oaks.

The term s.o.b. refers to the fact that south of Ventura, the homes are a little nicer, there's mountains and hills and narrow curved streets. James Dean lived two blocks from where I live now and other actors live and hang around here and nearby Studio City. I always describe it as exactly as it sounds. And it is.

Sherman Oaks is really a neighborhood place, every kind of store or restaurant or cafe or movie theater that you'd ever need. And most of it is within a few blocks. People are friendly and crime is low.  Once someone robbed a donut shop and at least 6 police cars showed up within minutes. You don't see that in Compton.

The strangest thing though, is how I came to choose it when I moved here. I had friends who lived in "the Oaks" . I found a great place and have never moved. But then I read a magazine article about where actors, writers, directors and producers lived.

It turned out that writers lived in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. They tended to drive old Mustangs or SUV's, dress in levi's or khaki's and a whole bunch of other things.

So much for individuality?

But at least it's not 323.



  1. Don't forget good old 213!! That was my first LA number.

  2. How could I forget 213... must be getting old.