Downtown LA emerges as city’s newest gayborhood
Downtown Los Angeles once had a bustling gay scene, but since the police raids and entrapment arrests of the 40's and 50's, it had become--well--not very gay.
There has always been a diverse and eclectic population in downtown Los Angeles. Silver Lake's hippies and West Hollywood's bouji crowd contribute the area's diversity. But not until the past couple years has there been an influx of gay men and women moving to the neighborhood. Leasing agent Mike Brizzolara has taken note of this trend.
"I have moved many gay guys into my building, particularly very successful middle aged men who are homeowners, but want to get out of suburbia and into the city," he told EDGE.
One of the main reasons gay men and women are moving in is crime is no longer an issue. What used to be considered a somewhat seedy and unsafe neighborhood for LGBT Angelenos has slowly transformed into a secure and welcoming area for its new residents. Crime rates have indeed dropped over the years and the infamous Skid Row has seen great improvement thanks to various outreach programs and help from local residents themselves.
Gay bars are popping up little by little and many of their hetero counterparts have begun to offer gay nights. Mustache Monday's at La Cita, which is popular with hippies, punks, drag queens and celebrities (EDGE won't drop any names.) Joey Umana is one Angeleno who frequents this party.
"I love the scenery and the ambience," he said. "You're in the heart of downtown and the views are stunning. It's a very versatile place where you can take anyone."
The Hayworth hosts Club Seduction every Saturday with go-go boys, hip-hop and R&B. Club Seduction has a full open bar, but a $20 cover may keep some area residents away. The Silver Platter has been a gay bar since 1963 and remains gayer than ever--and it is especially popular among transgenders and gay Latinos. Monte Christo also hosts a lesbian party on Thursdays with go-go dancers and strip shows.
Downtown Los Angeles has also emerged as a destination for city art aficionados. The Art Walk, which contains art from Tom Biagini, the Museum of Contemporary Art, spans Second and Ninth Streets between Main and Spring. The Art Walk's "Lounge" has also emerged as a popular destination within this district.
One certainly cannot mention downtown without discussing The Fashion District. With blocks and blocks of cheap knock-offs and bargain deals, shoppers certainly have enough to keep themselves occupied and their bank accounts empty.. Men can find wallets, shoes and clothes while women can discover designer dresses and jewelry from Luis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Chanel and other designers. Hot dog stands and other vendors line the street, but one of the best things about the Fashion District is bartering.
"I go so often because there is always something new," Fashion District regular Steven Jones said. "I love their deals on boots. Normally, they are so expensive but I always get a great deal when I go to the district."
Sounds like a real deal!