Welcome to Curbed's first-ever Micro Week, five days' worth of stories, photos, and minuscule floorplans that celebrate the grand tradition of small-space living. We'll tour small homes, explore the city's smallest neighborhood, and so much more!
Los Angeles is known for its sprawl—the idea of something minuscule, other than, of course, its residents, existing within its seemingly endless borders is difficult to grasp. And yet, in spite of it all, these teeny tiny places survive, symbolically giving the middle finger to that enormous, never-to-be-completed Target at Sunset and Western. They may be small, but like a determined orphan in a schmaltzy movie, by God, they have heart. Squint or you might miss them.
Smallest Front Yard: 2900-2998 Ocean Front Walk, Venice
How do you know it's the smallest front yard in the city? Because it has a sign indicating as such. And if you can't trust a sign, what can you trust? Said sign hangs beneath a three-foot strip of AstroTurf and above a tasteful fountain. The whole affair is attached to a beautiful house that directly faces the Pacific Ocean, aka God's Front Yard. To this sign, I say, eat me—I live in a landlocked studio apartment.
The Shortest Railway: Angels Flight, Downtown
In simpler times, people were pleased by simpler things. The act of riding a train car up less than 300 feet of earth was, one would assume, the equivalent of go-carting, rock climbing, unprotected sex, or whatever it is you kids do for kicks nowadays. Angels Flight operated in its original location, connecting Hill and Olive Streets, from 1901 to 1969; today it connects Hill Street and California Plaza and has been shuttered since 2013 due to safety concerns, with no immediate plans to reopen. If you get your kicks from riding unsafe rail lines, look elsewhere.
Smallest Landmark: The Korean Bell of Friendship, San Pedro
If you're looking for a reason to schlep down to San Pedro (and who isn't?), this loving gift from the good Korea awaits you. Given to LA to celebrate America's bicentennial and the swell relationship we have with the home of Kia, it is 12 feet tall and seven and a half feet wide. Which sounds kind of large for a bell, but what the heck do I know? The internet, which is infallible, told me it was the smallest landmark in town. And so it must be.
Smallest (and Only) Panorama: The Velaslavasay Panorama, West Adams
The Velaslavasay Panorama is an indescribable gem—a glittering oasis smack dab in the food desert that is West Adams. I'll allow, then, its website to speak on its behalf: "The Velaslavasay Panorama is an exhibition hall, theatre and garden dedicated to the production and presentation of unusual visual experiences." Unusual is an understatement—you have probably never seen anything as lovely and peculiar as Velaslavasay. From the sites and sounds of the panorama itself, to the replica turn-of-the-century Eskimo hut it houses in its lobby, to its gorgeous garden, it is as awe-inspiring as it is diminutive, housed entirely in a 100-year old movie theater.
Smallest Library: Angeles Mesa, Crenshaw
Opened in 1928, this 5,243-square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival home of knowledge located in the Crenshaw neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places (ooh la la!). In spite of its minuscule size, it still holds a staggering 5,000 copies of The Da Vinci Code, all of which are located in the reference section. (Ok, so I made that last statistic up. Sue me.)
Smallest Bar: The Harbor Room, Playa del Rey
Located in the exceedingly "chill" beachside community of Playa del Rey, the angular, living-room-sized watering hole has half a dozen barstools and no room for your sass. Apparently as filthy as it is cash-only, it is held in contempt by Yelp's Adam G., who writes, "If you're not lucky enough to grab a chair from one of the bar flies which all but grope my wife whenever we get stuck there, you're basically standing in the middle of a tiny room with salty characters looking at you." In sum, it is a tiny degenerate's paradise.
Smallest City: Hawaiian Gardens
At approximately one square mile, Hawaiian Gardens ain't just the smallest city in Los Angeles—it could, quite possibly, be the smallest in the country. (I mean, it could, but it isn't.) A mere 51 years young, the city took its name from a fruit stand that opened decades before its incorporation. Yes, it's a city. Named after a fruit stand. It allows gambling, which means most headlines you find when you Google it aren't particularly positive ("Husband Arrested In Nurse's Death After Body Found At Hawaiian Gardens Casino," "2 Plead Guilty To Killing Hawaiian Gardens' Casino Winner," etc.). It's also the home of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens street gang! —Megan Koester
· Micro Week 2015 [Curbed LA]