Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The slummier end of Hermosa

I'm just kidding. Clearly there are no slums in Hermosa. It's very name means 'beautiful'.

Nonetheless, there are the streets south of the pier. They are further from the charming, tree-lined streets of salubrious Manhattan Beach. And closer to the redundant power station that looms on Hermosa's southern border. Compared to North Hermosa, there are more ramshackle teardowns, and many more buildings full of rental units painted that ugly shade of brown that was favoured by SoCal developers in the 70s and 80s.

Our new house is south of the pier. In fact, we have a view of that redundant power station from our deck. Its location is one of the reasons it was affordable to us, and since that power station view comes combined with an ocean view, we're pretty happy with our South Hermosa find. Plus I like the scruffier edge, I feel more at home there. It's Kentish Town to North Hermosa's Hampstead.

But then, there's the park. South Park, to give it its full name. We walked down there recently to check it out. 'Look,' we said to Lady P, 'this is going to be your new park'. She had a half-hearted go on one of the two swings, ignored the lame train and the broken plastic slide, and sat down in the sand with a discarded toy.

 Meanwhile, on a disused icerink behind the playground, a drunk couple of twenty-somethings were playing a game of al fresco hide the salami. No, really. They thrusted away for a while and then emerged, buttoning themselves up, to rejoin their hipster buddies in some afternoon park drinking.
Lady P was oblivious. TLOML and I were horrified.

Compared to Valley Park, where she usually plays, this really is rather slummy. Valley Park has many slides, and swings, and climbing structures, and monkey bars, and cool musical instruments, and those animals on springs, and just all sorts of nice stuff. And I've never seen a couple there having sex, either. From our new South Hermosa abode just over a mile away (about an hour's walk at Lady P's pace), a trip to Valley Park will become a weekend treat rather than a daily pleasure.
We were starting to go off our new neighbourhood. But then I saw the sign. The sign that explained why South Park looked so abandoned, and why there was a construction sandwich board propped up in the sand.

Readers, the gentrification of South Hermosa has begun. They are rebuilding the park. Grand promises of play structures for 2 to 12 year olds have been published. In fact, the work has already begun - last time I passed, the ice rink was all dug up.

The project is set to complete in mid August, just after we move in. Coincidence? I'd like to think they're building it just for us.

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