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Curbed Cup 1st round: (6) Leimert Park vs. (11) Frogtown

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Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

Umberto Brayj | Flickr creative commons

Leimert Park

This year, Los Angeles’s center of black culture and art made repeat appearances in the inaugural season of HBO’s breakout show Insecure. Leimert Park was also featured in an episode of the KCET show Artbound that focused on the Third Los Angeles with Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. (Roughly, the Third L.A. refers to a new age of Los Angeles in which its moving towards public transit and density and away from car-centricity and the single-family home obsession.)

The Artbound episode delved into how the walkable community is planning for the opening of the Crenshaw/LAX line in 2019, which will place a station by Leimert Park Plaza. The light rail line’s arrival in Leimert is expected to have a huge impact on the area, and locals have been working hard to make sure that the impact is positive and intentional.

At a time when art galleries and artists are getting priced out of the areas they’ve created in for decades (ahem, Arts District), Leimert Park’s long tradition of art galleries continues, and both art and music spaces here continue to exist and thrive.

Frogtown

As the buzz around the Los Angeles River gets louder and louder, so does the talk about Frogtown, a former manufacturing hub bounded on the east by the river and on the west by I-5.

Urban kayakers #lariver #frogtown #frogspot #elysianvalley

A photo posted by Jennifer Roper (@jenroper) on

In 2014, LA Weekly called it LA’s “most-talked-about” neighborhood.” At that time, the newspaper said there were no “grocery stores, no coffee roasters, no art galleries, no vintage clothing stops.” That has changed in two years. Now it’s home to a company selling retro-inspired trailers, a sandwich shop that names its sandwiches after NPR hosts, a taco restaurant in a converted tire shop, and a brewery and tap room. But it still retains a distinctly neighborhood feel with its river clean-ups and nature walks and annual arts walk, which returned this year after a one-year hiatus.

While residents of Leimert Park brace for the changes that light rail could bring, residents of Elysian Valley are pushing back against the gentrification that’s already washed ashore. They’ve convinced the city to change zoning to allow affordable housing to be built while capping the height of new development. But the fight is not adversarial. The Frog Spot, a cafe and venue run by the Friends of the Los Angeles River, which is trying to bridge longtime residents with new arrivals with its communal tables, low-cost yoga, and live concerts.