It's the end of December, when according to tradition we make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to all the best, worst, and shitshowiest of things that happened in Los Angeles this year. These are your 2015 Curbed Awards.
Sadly, 2015 saw a multitude of unneighborly conduct. Inconsiderate mansion developers, inveterate polluters, quashers of little free libraries and Rudolph Schindler's Loos Bar—they occupy space near us and ruin our neighborhoods to varying degrees. (Those inveterate polluters, for instance, will be bringing down the neighborhood for years after they've actually left.) With the year coming to a close, what better time to look back at the inconsiderate folks some residents have to deal with. Perhaps, by comparison, your 'hood doesn't look so bad.
The Lady Who Harasses Everyone at the Palihouse Hotel
From inside the darkened depths of her home adjacent to the Palihouse Hotel in Santa Monica, this awful neighbor might be found accosting a young, half-asleep hotel worker at 5 a.m. or recording every single noise at the Palihouse (including what she claims are loud sex noises) and posting the footage on her Youtube page. (Fun fact: this surly neighbor has a long history of pestering the hotel's guests and workers dating back to 2013, when her actions earned her a cease-and-desist letter from the hotel.)
Pretty Much Everyone on That Casually Racist Santa Monica Neighborhood Listserv
Geez, folks, most of you should probably listen to that voice of reason who politely tried to recommend that everyone on the neighbor-only online listserv "double and triple check what they want to send out before they press send." Complaints of these Santa Monica neighbors range from the presence of a black homeless man who was minding his own business in the vicinity of children ("Bike patrol is needed since this area has become the new Venice Beach!!!") to the existence of people who may or may not be soliciting donations for churches ("Chased out a young woman the other day who said she was working for some church but could not produce anything to prove that. I really think we have to let them know that we are aware of them and that they are not allowed here!").
Bel Air is full of big, garish mansions, but spec mansion developer Mohamed Hadid crossed the line into bad-neighbor territory when he made one that is big, garish, largely illegal, and potentially dangerous for those who live near it. Hadid's been a bad neighbor for the Bel-Aireans who live near the house for years now (the mansion has maybe caused at least two mudslides in a two-month period for a neighbor down the hill), but 2015 was the year that he really distinguished himself as a criminally terrible neighbor when he received criminal charges (misdemeanors) for his efforts to illegally build a 30,000-square-foot mansion. The Walmart Heiress Who Wants Mohamed Hadid to Pay Her $90,000 for Damage to Her "Cherished Eucalyptus Tree"
No one likes Mohamed Hadid—especially his neighbors—but no eucalyptus, regardless of how cherished, is worth $90,000, not even to super-wealthy koala.
Spring brought great news: serial polluter of adjacent neighborhoods and battery recycler Exide Technologies was going to shut down, be razed, clean up the toxins it had been introducing into the local environment, and go away forever. Hooray! The joy lasted about five days, at which point it was revealed that, actually, the complete clean-up process would take "several years" and wouldn't get underway until at least the fall.
The Lone Vitriolic Troll Who Wanted a Little Free Library to Die
A West LA little free library was happily operating in West LA, allowing neighbors and passersby alike to leave or take books for free, until a single anonymous person unhappy with the book hutch waged a campaign of hate against it that began with a mean note left on the library (signed "a neighbor who hates you and your kids") and ended filing a complaint with the city against the library. Though the little free library's creator says he can't imagine that this monster is a person who lives in the vicinity of his home, it's easy to imagine that wherever this awful library-hater is, they are not a very nice neighbor.
Celebs Who Keep Big Green Lawns Amidst the Drought
"The Kardashian flowers and hedges are right in our face. It's disgusting. You walk by and you can smell the freshness," one neighbor of the couple's Hidden Hills mansion complained. Other Kardashians were just as bad: Khloe Kardashian's emerald lawn was described as "green and it simply shouldn't be." J-Lo's ranch and Jessica Simpson's two-acre spread attracted similar ire from residents nearby who were angered that the celebs seemed to ignore the water cutbacks levied against the entire state, opting instead to pay any fines they incur. (Hidden Hills is by no means a low-income neighborhood, so any of the people complaining could probably afford to similarly ignore the rules.)
The Person Who Shut Down the Mid-Wilshire Replica of Vienna's Famed Loos Bar
Over the summer, a coterie of German and Austrian artists created a .65:1 scale replica of Austria's famous Loos Bar—their version's the Los Bar—designed by Rudolph Schindler in a Mid-Wilshire garage, "with cardboard replacing the marble ceiling, pool noodles replacing brass and wood handrails, mosquito mesh replacing glass, and air conditioning filters becoming leather upholstery." They hosted performances, served drinks, and were so cool, their neighbor threatened to sue them and forced them to close up shop. Booooooooo.
Rancho Palos Verdes Residents Who Don't Want Hikers to Hike on Hiking Trails
RPV residents who live around Del Cerro Park were upset that people heading to the trailhead in the park (which leads to Portuguese Bend hiking paths) are talking and opening their cars doors to exit their automobiles and parking on the street, but then they figured out a possible solution to the blight of outsiders using public trails: parking restrictions. Despite neighbor assertions to the contrary, the local police say that neither crime nor traffic collisions near the park has risen recently.
The Mar Vistans Intent on Keeping a Five-Bed Group Home for Anxious People Out of their 'Hood
A contingent of Mar Vistans made this bad neighbor list for their fervent desire to keep a five-bed home (five beds. Just five!) out of their community, giving the ominous-sounding warning at a community meeting that the tiny recovery center for people recovering from severe anxiety, depression, and emotional trauma "would not receive a warm welcome to the neighborhood." In addition to being blatant jerks, someone also possibly slashed the tires of an employee of the treatment center nearby where the home's occupants would go for their regular treatment. ("Then take the hint and go!" was shouted at the meeting after the tire-slashing story was told.)
· Curbed Awards 2015 [Curbed LA]