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View Full Version : Does anyone know Hollywood, CA geography, streets and such?



underthecity
11-09-2008, 10:40 PM
My book takes place chiefly in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Hollywood. On a recent vacation, my wife and I toured all three areas, so I now have a better understanding of the different locations where various scenes in the book take place.

However, I have a question about Hollywood geography. During our visit, I didn't have time to lock down specific locations for the scenes that take place in Hollywood.

I have one scene that takes place in a "four story building" on a "side street" off of Hollywood Blvd. My MC uses Grauman's Chinese Theater as a reference point, then drives a few blocks past that, turns on a "side street" to find this building. This building should be in kind of a low-rent area. Where would this be exactly? How close to the Theater would it be? Is there a specific street I can name?

Secondly, the sister in law of my MC lives in an awful apartment building "off Hollywood Blvd" where the characters can observe drug dealers and prostitutes on the corner outside. This would be very low rent. I didn't have time to find this location, but we did drive eastward on Hollywood Blvd and I didn't see any streets that could fit this description, although my brother in law (who lives in LA) swears they're there. Currently, the character lives at Hollywood and Vine, but I didn't see anything there that fit my fictional description.

Any advice? I'm really looking for street names to give these scenes some validity.

sassandgroove
11-09-2008, 10:54 PM
My book takes place chiefly in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Hollywood. On a recent vacation, my wife and I toured all three areas, so I now have a better understanding of the different locations where various scenes in the book take place.

However, I have a question about Hollywood geography. During our visit, I didn't have time to lock down specific locations for the scenes that take place in Hollywood.

I have one scene that takes place in a "four story building" on a "side street" off of Hollywood Blvd. My MC uses Grauman's Chinese Theater as a reference point, then drives a few blocks past that, turns on a "side street" to find this building. This building should be in kind of a low-rent area. Where would this be exactly? How close to the Theater would it be? Is there a specific street I can name?

Secondly, the sister in law of my MC lives in an awful apartment building "off Hollywood Blvd" where the characters can observe drug dealers and prostitutes on the corner outside. This would be very low rent. I didn't have time to find this location, but we did drive eastward on Hollywood Blvd and I didn't see any streets that could fit this description, although my brother in law (who lives in LA) swears they're there. Currently, the character lives at Hollywood and Vine, but I didn't see anything there that fit my fictional description.

Any advice? I'm really looking for street names to give these scenes some validity.
Firstly it does depend on an era, as it changes. I lived in hollywood from sept 1994 to about 1998.

It is not Grauman's anymore, it is Mann's Chinese. (Mann's is a chain.)

I lived a black and a half west and a block north from Mann's, on Sycamore near franklin. The buildings are various heights, but more than a few are at least 4 stories. I used to covet the streets west of Sycamore. North of Franklin were nice houses. You could walk up Outpost and get to Mulhulland (LONG WALK) and see the Hollywood sign. It isn't the lowliest place, but it was low rent. Hollywood, LA in general is weird. Good neighborhoods and bad areas are all jumbled together. I only moved a few blocks from Ivar and Yucca to Sycamore and Franklin and I felt safe and left my windows open, walked around in the dark, etc. I don't know that I was actually any safer.

For drug dealers, when i first lived in Hollywood, I lived at Ivar and Yucca street, (again a block west and a block north) near Hollywood and VIne. My first Sunday morning there, when I left for church, there was caution tape blocking my sidewalk and blood everywhere. It turned out a prostitute had a baby and put it in a dumpster to die. I encountered many other unsavory types there. Hollywood and Vine was not glamorous at all.

The thing is I don't know if those areas are still like that. Times change. After I left the Hollywood area ( I was in the LA area until 2001) they rebuilt the Egyptian and put a big shopping thing at Hollywood and Highland, which had been a pit when I lived there.



ETA: OK I went to google maps to give you directions (north, south etc) And It says Graumans. I wonder if there was a name/ownership change. When I lived there it was Mann's.

stephenf
11-09-2008, 11:05 PM
I Don't know the locations you mention,but you could try, Google maps.If you search for the type of business you might find in the area your looking for ,sex shops ,cheap hotels etc your soon find the streets you need.

Tepelus
11-09-2008, 11:28 PM
You could also try Google Earth.

Linda Adams
11-10-2008, 12:03 AM
Maybe don't sweat the small side street names. I think if you just mention a major street names and landmarks that most people know, you're probably going to do pretty well. If someone has never been to California, they'll likely to have heard of Mullholland Drive or Wilshire Blvd. But with something like Arminta or Tujunga (street names in the San Fernando Valley), they wouldn't know the difference whether it was a side street or a major street or if it was in a rundown area or not.

Not sure if this will be of help; it's just photos of buildings in the Los Angeles area. http://www.you-are-here.com/

Kitty Pryde
11-10-2008, 12:04 AM
I have one scene that takes place in a "four story building" on a "side street" off of Hollywood Blvd. My MC uses Grauman's Chinese Theater as a reference point, then drives a few blocks past that, turns on a "side street" to find this building. This building should be in kind of a low-rent area. Where would this be exactly? How close to the Theater would it be? Is there a specific street I can name?

Secondly, the sister in law of my MC lives in an awful apartment building "off Hollywood Blvd" where the characters can observe drug dealers and prostitutes on the corner outside. This would be very low rent. I didn't have time to find this location, but we did drive eastward on Hollywood Blvd and I didn't see any streets that could fit this description, although my brother in law (who lives in LA) swears they're there. Currently, the character lives at Hollywood and Vine, but I didn't see anything there that fit my fictional description.

Any advice? I'm really looking for street names to give these scenes some validity.

Hey there! I live 2 metro stops away from there, at Hollywood and Western. Re: Grauman's Chinese: the whole thing is owned by Mann theaters. And there is a six screen theater right next door called the Mann Chinese Theater. But the actual cool historical facade and the one original screen is still called Grauman's Chinese Theater. Locals would use both names interchangeably.

sassandgroove is correct in saying that there used to be low-rent areas nearby. however, the entire area has gone through some major urban rehabilitation recently and while it's not spotless, it is a very safe, low-crime area. is your story set in 2008? i never see drug dealers on the street and i am often out in hollywood at night. the only prostitutes i ever see in hollywood are transsexual (mtf) ones, I never see women.

One really wretched spot where I see a lot of drug users and quite desperate humanity is lexington and vine. i would HATE to live there and i would never feel safe. there is a goodwill, a dollar store, a church, and a taco bell/pizza hut. my partner and i informally refer to this intersection as crackhead corner.

another seedy place is on hollywood itself between highland and vine. loads of sex shops, criminals, homeless, drug use, and general seediness. of course it's all mixed in with tourists and awesome pizza places. maybe your character lives in a studio apt above a skeevy lingerie shop? there would be lots of crime to witness from the window and it would be a generally lousy place to live. other than the pizza.

re: hollywood and vine, if your character lives there, she's probably paying $1800 a month for a spiffy new bachelor loft. and she wouldn't see crime taking place on the street below. all the buildings around there just got redone and they are way upscale.

if you want any more detail, i can try to help! let us know what time period your story is taking place in too.

Keyan
11-10-2008, 12:05 AM
If it's contemporary, Google Maps is *fantastic*

I went there recently for directions, and found a picture of my house at my address. You could just "walk" around the area you need.

underthecity
11-10-2008, 04:41 AM
Kitty Pryde,

Thanks so much for that information, that was exactly what I was looking for. If the sister in law lives in a seedy building in a bad part of town, would "crackhead corner" be the better choice?

Regarding the other scene I mentioned, the MC visits the four-story building (heck, it could be a million stories tall, it really doesn't matter) and attends a meeting of a paranormal research team (the Hollywood Ghost Hunters). It doesn't have to be a crackhead corner sort of place, but a lower-rent neighborhood. Any recommendations?

It is contemporary, 2008.

allen

jennifer75
11-10-2008, 09:29 PM
Give me about 10 minutes....and I will have some answers for you.

jennifer75
11-10-2008, 09:34 PM
Hey there! I live 2 metro stops away from there, at Hollywood and Western. Re: Grauman's Chinese: the whole thing is owned by Mann theaters. And there is a six screen theater right next door called the Mann Chinese Theater. But the actual cool historical facade and the one original screen is still called Grauman's Chinese Theater. Locals would use both names interchangeably.

sassandgroove is correct in saying that there used to be low-rent areas nearby. however, the entire area has gone through some major urban rehabilitation recently and while it's not spotless, it is a very safe, low-crime area. is your story set in 2008? i never see drug dealers on the street and i am often out in hollywood at night. the only prostitutes i ever see in hollywood are transsexual (mtf) ones, I never see women.

One really wretched spot where I see a lot of drug users and quite desperate humanity is lexington and vine. i would HATE to live there and i would never feel safe. there is a goodwill, a dollar store, a church, and a taco bell/pizza hut. my partner and i informally refer to this intersection as crackhead corner.

another seedy place is on hollywood itself between highland and vine. loads of sex shops, criminals, homeless, drug use, and general seediness. of course it's all mixed in with tourists and awesome pizza places. maybe your character lives in a studio apt above a skeevy lingerie shop? there would be lots of crime to witness from the window and it would be a generally lousy place to live. other than the pizza.

re: hollywood and vine, if your character lives there, she's probably paying $1800 a month for a spiffy new bachelor loft. and she wouldn't see crime taking place on the street below. all the buildings around there just got redone and they are way upscale.

if you want any more detail, i can try to help! let us know what time period your story is taking place in too.


UTC - She's right, and may be better at answering your geography questions....I lived off of Fountain and Western for a while, a little ways from Graumans but close enough. If you're looking for low rent, you'll have to go quite a ways East of Graumans, close to Western. Which really isn't that far from "Hollywood".

As far as "ick" neighborhoods go, stay to the South side of Hollywood Blvd, between it and Santa Monica and east towards Wilton/Western area. Not to pleasant, and not "around the corner" from Graumans either.

jennifer75
11-10-2008, 09:40 PM
ETA: OK I went to google maps to give you directions (north, south etc) And It says Graumans. I wonder if there was a name/ownership change. When I lived there it was Mann's.

You can also use msn.com live maps and do a birds eye of the area, might be able to see the buildings you're looking for also Google maps has a "street view" also..... that might give you an idea of the grimier areas.

Sargentodiaz
11-10-2008, 09:47 PM
This is certainly going to show my age but I grew up in the area surrounded by Western, Vermont, Olympic and Pico Avenues. My mother worked at both the old Brown Derby and the newer one in Hollywood. I used to hang out at the LaBrea Tarpits. I haven't been back in a long time and it seems strange to hear about drug dealers and the other low lifes living in Hollywood.
Did you know that it was originally called Hollywood Land and was a building project to draw people to the area.
They talk about Hollywood being the Movie Capitol of the World but all the studios and filming were actually done in Burbank, although one was off Sunset Blvd and another out on West Olympic over the hills.
Sigh. Too many years gone by.

dclary
11-10-2008, 10:32 PM
Grauman's is still owned by Mann's, but they changed the name back to the original to maintain the nostalgia factor.

And I'd say it could down toward santa monica blvd, where there's almost a warehouse-style district. You could find a tallish, low-rent building down there. it's not that far from hollywood proper.

gophergrrrl
11-11-2008, 04:37 AM
Ok, I didn't read all of the posts, so this might have been mentioned. Maybe you could set your characters' apartments up as the kind that double as a mom and pops style business. Business on the ground level, run down little apartment above. That way, you could basically just find a street with a small business and toss the characters into a humble abode up above.

Just a quick idea, hope it helps. =o)

Smiling Ted
11-13-2008, 11:34 PM
Generally speaking, "East Hollywood" is seedier than Hollywood proper - although both are officially part of Hollywood. EH is east of Western Avenue, and includes Thai Town and Little Armenia. It's still pretty seedy, but it's going up too. East of East Hollywood is Los Feliz.

Franklin Avenue is the main street north of Hollywood Boulevard, and is sort of fancy/bohemian (like Los Feliz) and is the border of the Hollywood Hills.

Four-story buildings are everywhere. The seedier neighborhoods are in the south and east of Hollywood.

And don't forget to include the Scientologists if you're talking about Hollywood. It's Mecca for them...Ground Zero for everyone else.

dclary
11-14-2008, 01:32 AM
Generally speaking, "East Hollywood" is seedier than Hollywood proper - although both are officially part of Hollywood. EH is east of Western Avenue, and includes Thai Town and Little Armenia. It's still pretty seedy, but it's going up too. East of East Hollywood is Los Feliz.

Franklin Avenue is the main street north of Hollywood Boulevard, and is sort of fancy/bohemian (like Los Feliz) and is the border of the Hollywood Hills.

Four-story buildings are everywhere. The seedier neighborhoods are in the south and east of Hollywood.

And don't forget to include the Scientologists if you're talking about Hollywood. It's Mecca for them...Ground Zero for everyone else.

True that. Every famous building you've ever heard of in Hollywood that isn't a theater? Probably owned by scientologists.

underthecity
12-03-2008, 06:13 PM
Per the suggestions in this thread, I put the Hollywood Ghost Hunters club building on Lexington near Lexington and Vine. Does that sound all right for this kind of thing? For some reason, I thought the group might meet in a seedy part of town.

Secondly, I'm still trying to figure out where exactly to locate the MC's sister in law who lives in a nasty, studio apartment whose fifth floor window overlooks a corner where there are drug dealers and prostitutes. I've decided to locate it on Hollywood Blvd near North Highland, above a "lingerie shop," but, studying these locations on msn.live.com for overhead views, I can't find a good intersection where this activity might occur. Can anyone suggest a good intersection where I could place this apartment? Or possibly some other location?

Thirdly, I have a scene that takes place in a nightclub with a live band and dance floor. I wanted it to take place in Hollywood somewhere. Where might this happen? It's not a supremely "upscale" kind of place, just the sort that attracts the everyperson crowd. Any ideas?

Smiling Ted
12-03-2008, 09:11 PM
Just so you know - Hollywood has been undergoing a rapid re-gentrification in the last two or three years, so you might have to research all of this again if you're still working on your novel a year from now.

The intersection of Highland and Hollywood is now the site of a major mall. By day, the area is packed with tourists; by night, it's packed with club-goers.

Your best bet for "nasty" is south and east of Hollywood Blvd. Maybe Santa Monica Boulevard, east of Cahuenga.

C.M. Daniels
12-04-2008, 12:36 AM
I echo east of Cahuenga. Also, the stretch from Western to Vermont is not so nice.

Beach Bunny
12-06-2008, 04:23 PM
I just saw this. I lived in Hollywood from 2000 to 2006. For two of those years in a really seedy section. I doubt it has improved much since then even with the gentrification.

Here's an image from Google Earth. The Blue dot is where I lived. It is a four story apartment building with an underground garage. Most of the residents were decent people. We had a problem with drug addicts, he/she prostitutes, and homeless people getting into the building to shoot up, ply their trade, sleep, and take a bath in the jacuzzi. There were people who would do drugs on the steps out front. The prostitutes would come up from Santa Monica Blvd. Oh and gangs, did I forget to mention the gangs in the neighborhood? Always marking the sides of the buildings with their graffiti, kind of the way a dog urinates on a fire hydrant.

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f166/dolphindancer/randomness/hollywoodmarked.jpg

Oh and it is about four blocks south of Hollywood and Highland the mall mentioned. And on Oscars day, I could have walked up and watched the movie stars getting out of their limos if I had been so inclined. :rolleyes:

Smiling Ted
12-06-2008, 08:02 PM
Okay, one last thing...

One of the craziest things about Los Angeles is that sometimes you can be in a lousy neighborhood and not even know it.

For every block where the stink and the graffiti tags make it obvious, there's another block where the houses are kept up, the lawns are trimmed...but you could still get a bullet or a hit at the street corner, because there's more "car crime" than "foot crime."

Beach Bunny
12-07-2008, 04:53 AM
Oh yes, sometimes you cross a street and go from a scummy area to million dollar homes. The only thing separating the two is the street.