Writer David McAninch has said something downright crazy in The New York Times: "during a decade’s worth of visits with my wife to both sides of the 'hill' — as those mountains, and the perceived cultural divide they represent, are affectionately known — I’ve come to an interesting conclusion: I tend to prefer the Valley." Here's a paper towel to clean up from that spit take you just did. He goes on to say that the Valley's "lack of hipness is exactly its charm" and that "If coastal Los Angeles is where people strive and achieve, the Valley is where they put down roots and live" (which maybe some of the gajillions of people who have put down roots and are living in the basin would object to, but ok). So we thought we'd match up the NYT's Valley suggestions with some competitors in the basin and see how they compare:
Valley: The new Valley Performing Arts Center; the San Fernando Rey de Espana Mission, "one of the most impeccably preserved sites from California’s Spanish colonial era."
Basin: Disney Hall, El Pueblo, LACMA, MOCA, the Hammer, the Natural History Museum, Barnsdall, the Museum of Jurassic Technology?
Valley: "[F]or a Valley dweller, having a good sushi joint around the corner is considered nothing short of a birthright." McAninch suggests Go's Mart in Canoga Park and there's also the whole Ventura strip.
Basin: Sushi Park, in a strip mall on the Strip, is the latest sushi hotness on this side of the hill, but there are also standouts all over, especially on the Westside.
Basin: Langer's, Greenblatt's, Nate 'n Al
Valley: The Joseph Eichler-developed tract in Granada Hills ("these light-filled, low-slung houses, with their distinctive A-frame entry atriums, have quietly soldiered on in the role their visionary developer intended — as shelter for everyday working families"), plus a handful of Richard Neutras and Rudolph Schindlers and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Adams House.
Basin: A handful of FLWs (the Ennis, Hollyhock, the Storer) and many a Neutra, Schindler, Gregory Ain, Raphael Soriano, A. Quincy Jones, and John Lautner masterpiece. True, not a single one of these is as attainable as a house in the Eichler tract.
Valley: "[A] sprawling patchwork of preserves, state parklands and national recreation areas that form a nearly contiguous greenbelt" in the mountains, the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve.
Basin: Griffith Park, Will Rogers, Temescal Canyon, Topanga State Park.
Advantage: Draw, because both can really lay claim to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Ok, so the basin pulls it out by a hair (and we haven't even discussed the weather), but at the end of the day, it's all glorious Los Angeles. Why do we have to feud? Let's save it all for New York, shall we?
· Los Angeles? The Valley Is Way Cooler [NYT]