The jungle Los Angeles

The jungle Los Angeles

The jungle Los Angeles

High-rises, billboards, construction cranes, and the trolley track are relentless forces in Los Angeles’ natural beauty. From Griffith Park, perched on a hill overlooking the city, you can see the sprawling metropolis stretching out in every direction. Early morning light on the Hollywood sign is an alluring moment before the city’s hectic, gold-and-red-lit allure.


Baldwin Village is called “The Jungle” or “Jungles” by locals because of the tropical trees and foliage, such as palms, banana trees and begonias, that once thrived among the area’s tropical-style postwar apartment buildings. The Los Angeles City Council ostensibly changed the name in 1990, after residents complained that it reinforced the neighborhood’s image as a wild and menacing place. They renamed it Baldwin Village, hoping to reflect the affluent and peaceful Baldwin Hills neighborhood nearby, one of the most affluent African American neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

“It’s been bad, it’s not a good place for a senior citizen like me,” [resident Booker T.] Burgess said. “People shooting each other, selling drugs on the streets and then threatening to rob you if you go outside. Most of the time, I’m afraid to leave the house.” [...] Tom Reddy Bailey, who has been robbed in broad daylight in front of his home, said he had already stopped telling people he lived in The Jungle, even before the official name change. “As soon as you say that name, they say, ‘Oh, you live over there. We don’t go over there,’” he said. “I just say I live on Gibraltar Avenue, and I don’t say anything else. I never liked the name ‘The Jungle.’ Baldwin Village sounds a lot better. But we need more than just a new name." (Source: www.theatlantic.com)


I was 7 years old then, and didn’t notice the shady goings-on in the alley beneath my bedroom window. Nor did I really care about the thwap-thwap-thwapping coming from that helicopter that circled over our neighborhood. I had other things to do: playing with a new baby brother, watching the Family Film Festival on KTLA, and gobbling canisters of these new things called Pringles.

In October of 1860, The Atlantic’s first editor, James Russell Lowell, wrote of Abraham Lincoln that he “had experience enough in public affairs to make him a statesman, and not enough to make him a politician.” Lowell, in his endorsement, was mainly concerned not with Lincoln’s personal qualities but with the redemptive possibilities of his new party. The Republicans, Lowell wrote, “know that true policy is gradual in its advances, that it is conditional and not absolute, that it must deal with facts and not with sentiments.” (Source: www.theatlantic.com)



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