6224 Cedros Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 90401
He called it “Le Magnifique”,perhaps the last time the French language was used to name a building in our area.
So advanced, it was awarded a “Total Electric” plaque proudly affixed to the exterior.
With deep, wide, shaded balconies, underground parking and a convenient location in the heart of bustling, clean, prosperous Van Nuys, it provided a nice starter residence for young couples, recent arrivals to Los Angeles, and perhaps a few retired people.
Now the Mid-Century modern apartment has been transformed.
Back from a long, intoxicated weekend down in Tijuana, it has been knocked-up with twin pregnant cornices, painted in bands of Salsa Red and Cheez-Whiz Gold, and wears a large pair of decorative lions on two sides of its newly engorged and expanded bulk. Pasted on the ends of the building are decorative stone pieces to dress it up even more, while adding the appearance of more weight, causing the obese trollop to seemingly dance in platform heels atop her vaginal garage entrance.
This is Van Nuys when things are looking up.
On Tuesday, February 11, 2014, the Los Angeles sun rose at 6:41am and the sunset at 5:33pm. And I was driving east on Wilshire, through Beverly Hills, in the last hour of daylight, transfixed at the odd lull of creamy illumination, under gauzy skies, light that lasted long; accompanied by slight winds, cool and oceanic.
That day I had gone with my mother, a homecare worker, my brother and a nurse to visit two doctors, one an oncologist, the other GP.
The oncologist was down in El Segundo, a Japanese-American in slim gray khakis, and thin herringbone tie tucked under a natty Tattersall shirt. He spoke, quietly, unpromisingly, about six weeks of radiation and how cancer might be attacked in the lung, how its curative program might weaken the body. He advised two scans: a PET and an MRI to further determine if the malignancy had travelled to brain and bone or beyond.
But as much as he knew, he admitted he didn’t know everything. And what course my mother’s lung cancer might take, he could not say. His understated reverence for discreet diagnosis drowned out by his patient’s unceasing, hoarse, gurgling, sick cough.
The day was full of wheelchairs and waiting rooms, insurance cards and doctors smiling with closed lips.
Later on, I was trapped in my car, on the 405, sitting in a vast unmoving ribbon of automobiles stretching from Culver City to Bel Air, so I got off at Santa Monica Boulevard and drove east, just to move.
And it was in Beverly Hills, a place I despise, that I found solid peace under partly cloudy skies.
On Linden and McCarty Streets, there are many old, lovely houses, well mannered, and discreetly elegant, some with small libraries behind bay windows, white siding and wood shake roofs, and old Spanish houses, not small, not grandiose, comfortably gracious and visually palliative.
I walked and looked, and found a few signs that said, “No Subway under BHHS”. Surprisingly none said “I Love Global Warming” or “Let’s Drive More SUVs and Promote Lung Cancer”.
This habit, of looking at nice houses, I inherited from my mother, an old hobby, learned in Chicago, driving past center-hall colonials she wished she lived in; then later on, in the 1980s, driving in her 1972 Delta 88 convertible down President Nixon’s street in Saddle River, New Jersey, not far from her new home in Woodcliff Lake, past that wooded estate where the 37th President lived.
My walking tour of Beverly Hills ended near 220 S. Linden Drive, in front of an empty 1927 house, recently sold, where a cracked driveway, open garage and sagging second-floor window porch left evidence of past life. Silent, abandoned, a lot on the street.
Who owned it? Who valued it? Who furnished it? Who made love here? Who woke up and who went to bed here? Who drove up its driveway every night imagining that those nights coming home would go on forever?
Here are two astonishing photos, startling to our eyes, showing how open the San Fernando Valley was 82 years ago.
Today this area is completely urbanized, home to Notre Dame High School and Fashion Square.
The great website Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society has added some historic Los Angeles streetcar photos to its eminent collection courtesy of Robert Chamberlin Photo and Richard Wilkens Collection.
ABOVE: Their latest comes from Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 452 on the N Line service.
BELOW: Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 485 is captured on B Line service in this neighborhood location. It’s November of 1948.
Close to the sidewalk, shaded under trees, an odd duck is on the market.
At 15016 Kittridge, a property for sale by owner, a mansard shingled roof hangs across the front of the house, a remodeling relic dating back to the late 1960s and early 70s. The 1,395 s.f. house was built in 1951 and has 3 beds and 2.5 baths.
Architectural theatricality, common in West Hollywood, is rarer in Van Nuys.