LA's True Eastside Borderlines

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by LA1 News

If you are one of those folks who truly believes that Echo Park and Silver Lake are part of the “Eastside” of Los Angeles, please stop reading this article. We have already lost you anyway. For the rest, LA1 News would like to offer a bit of advice on the topics of geography and sociology in communities east of the LA River.

Anyone growing up east of the River pretty much knows how it goes. Even if we were raised in a place like Highland Park, we withstood above and below breath comments from various friends, co-workers and even from our dates living and working in places like Downtown and Hollywood. "Hey Bob, you still living over there in East LA?" or "You went to Cal State LA, right? How was it going to school in East LA?" Highland Park is not East LA and it is not Eastside, either. It is Northeast. Cal State LA is not East LA, and it is not El Sereno. It is Eastside.

Cal State LA is in an Eastside neighborhood called "Metro." Someone living in Metro would never say that they live in El Sereno, because El Sereno was somewhat rival territory to them growing up whether they liked it or not. Gangs made that decision for them. Residents up in the homes atop the hills of Metro, just across from Cal State LA, organized about 20 years ago to form the community of "University Hills." University Hills, what remains of Metro and Cal State LA are all within the City of Los Angeles and are located in LA's "Eastside" along with Boyle Heights and Hazard.

Just across the freeway from Metro, the hills called City Terrace and all the other unincorporated areas between Boyle Heights and Monterey Park are located in the area which is actually named "East Los Angeles," or “East LA” and "EastLos" for short. As unincorporated areas they have to deal with the Sherriff’s deputies and therefore deserve that distinction more than the rest of us anyway. Yet at one time in our history the entire area east of the River as far north as Five Points in Lincoln Heights was simply known as East Los Angeles, until the unicorporated area officially adopted the name. Eastside is a term used to describe the LA City areas east of the River like Boyle Heights, Hazard, and the original historic Clover section of Lincoln Heights. 

Places like Boyle Heights, Hazard, Metro, Cal State LA, County-USC Medical Center and University Hills are in LA’s true Eastside, but City Terrace and all the unincorporated areas are East LA. Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Montecito Heights, Highland Park and everything north including Toonerville are Northeast. Frogtown, Chinatown, Echo Park and Silver Lake are not Eastside and they are not Northeast, because they sit west of the River. Honestly, we are surprised this conversation is even going on.

One remaining question might be, "What is the dividing line between Eastside and Northeast?" Longtime veteranos confirm to LA1 News that the dividing line is the railroad tracks, which separate County-USC Medical Center from the lake at Lincoln Park. The same tracks separate Hazard from Hillside Village, and El Sereno from Metro. Eastlake Juvenile Hall is in Eastside, but just over the wall and across the same tracks into Lincoln Heights, on the north side of Main Street, it is Northeast.

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