Friday, April 10, 2009

Literary Rents

I live in Silverlake. Something that I'd noticed alot lately are the For Rent signs that have sprung up in the area. I hadn't seen this many For Rent sings in Silverlake since the last economic downturn of the early 1990's. This was waaaaaay before Silverlake became a trendy neighborhood.

I grew up in the area (John Marshall High School, class of 1986--woohoo!). After college, I moved back because it was an AFFORDABLE place to live. It had a true artist's community. It was diverse in every way and as a gay Filipino man I'd never felt more comfortable.

Then the neighborhood changed. The rents got higher and when I looked for another apartment in my neighborhood, I got depressed. I was priced out of a neighborhood that I, as an artist, helped define. How can I forget those snooty documentary filmmakers who moved in along the way. The ones the LA Times did an article on for remodeling a Silverlake home, the home that had the same person living in it for a million years. "Remodeling" was another word for gentrifying.

I was looking in Glendale for a place to live. I had to drive through Silverlake to get there. By chance, I drove by a reasonably priced apartment that just opened up. I snatched it. Trust me when I say, seeing a For Rent sign was odd.

What was even more astounding was seeing a nearby Hollywood apartment being advertised at The Coffee Table, a local cafe. The apartment was less than a thousand dollars. I nearly choked! Is this downturn actually driving the rents down? It might actually be affordable again.

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