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Westlake, Los Angeles, California

Westlake, Los Angeles, California

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Westlake is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

. It should not be confused with Westlake Village
Westlake Village, California
Westlake Village is a planned community that straddles the Los Angeles and Ventura county line. The eastern portion is the incorporated city Westlake Village, located on the western edge of Los Angeles County, California. The city, located in the region known as the Conejo Valley, encompasses half...

, an independent municipality in Los Angeles County near Thousand Oaks and close to the Ventura County line.

Westlake derives its name from the lake in what is now MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park is a park in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, named after General Douglas MacArthur and designated city of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #100.- Geography :...


Geography and transportation

Westlake, which includes Pico-Union, is bordered by Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, United States, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area...

 on the southeast, Santa Monica Freeway on the south, Koreatown
Koreatown, Los Angeles, California
Koreatown is a neighborhood in the Mid-Wilshire district of the city of Los Angeles, California known for its concentration of Korean American people and institutions...

 on the west, Virgil Village on the north, and Echo Park
Echo Park, Los Angeles, California
Echo Park is a hilly neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and southeast of Hollywood.-History:At the end of the 19th century, when the hills were still covered with native vegetation, a horse-drawn streetcar line served the dirt road that is now Echo Park Avenue...

 on the northeast. One major subdistrict includes Lafayette Square.

Principal thoroughfares include Beverly
Beverly Boulevard
Beverly Boulevard is one of the main east-west thoroughfares in Los Angeles, California. It begins off Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills and ends on the Lucas Avenue overpass near Downtown Los Angeles to become 1st Street...

, Wilshire
Wilshire Boulevard
Wilshire Boulevard is one of the principal east-west arterial roads in Los Angeles, California, United States. It was named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire , an Ohio native who made and lost fortunes in real estate, farming, and gold mining. Henry Wilshire initiated what was to become Wilshire...

, Olympic and Rampart Boulevards and Alvarado
Alvarado Street
Alvarado Street is a north-south thoroughfare in the Greater Los Angeles Area.-Geography:North of Glendale Boulevard, it starts off as a residential street. It becomes a major thoroughfare south of Glendale Boulevard. Directly south of Pico Boulevard and north of Venice Boulevard, Alvarado Street...

, Hoover, and Third Streets. The district is served by the Hollywood and Harbor Freeways. Metro
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the California state-chartered regional transportation planning agency and public transportation operating agency for the County of Los Angeles formed in 1993 out of a merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and the...

 Red Line and Purple Line
Metro Purple Line (LACMTA)
The Purple Line is a subway line operating between Downtown Los Angeles and Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown, Los Angeles, California in Los Angeles; one of five lines on the Metro Rail System....

Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 trains run through the district on their way to Hollywood and Koreatown, respectively. Both lines include a stop at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station
Westlake/MacArthur Park (LACMTA station)
Westlake/MacArthur Park Station is a heavy-rail subway station in the Los Angeles County Metro Rail system. It is located at Wilshire Boulevard and Alvarado Street, across from the park of the same name in Los Angeles' Westlake District...



One of the first areas of Los Angeles west of Figueroa Street to see residential development, by the 1920s Westlake resembled the Upper East Side
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between Central Park and the East River. The Upper East Side lies within an area bounded by 59th Street to 96th Street, and the East River to Fifth Avenue-Central Park...

 of Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 (complete with a large Jewish population). Wealthy businessmen commuted to downtown, Wilshire Center (now Koreatown), Hollywood, and the Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, California
The Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, California, is an area in the Mid-Wilshire region consisting of an almost two-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and Western Avenues...

 from the district's Spanish Revival and Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 mansions. Around the 40s the district's northwestern blocks fringed the home of Los Angeles' early working class Filipino
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 population who were shifted from what is today Little Tokyo and Bunker Hill, some of who remain in parts of Westlake and nearby neighborhoods like Echo Park, Silver Lake and East Hollywood.

Westlake suffered greatly from the abandonment of the numerous streetcar lines serving the district and the construction of Los Angeles' network of freeways in the 1950s. By the 1960s, virtually all of its white population had decamped to the West Side or the suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

s, replaced with transients who had been pushed out of Bunker Hill
Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California
Bunker Hill, in the downtown area of Los Angeles, California, is a short, developed hill with its peak located roughly around 3rd Street. It is located directly east of the Harbor Freeway...

 by "urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

" in the 1950s, and Mexican-Americans in the 50s and 60s, who themselves moved out for suburbs by the middle 1970s. Most of Westlake's elegant mansions were subdivided into apartments at this time, and many of its Beaux-Arts apartment buildings became residential hotels. Meanwhile, MacArthur Park became notorious for its narcotics dealers, heroin addicts, and prostitutes
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...


In the 1980s Westlake became the home of Los Angeles' vibrant but severely impoverished Salvadoran
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 and Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

n community, exiles from the civil wars in Central America at the time, and which was drawn to the area's cheap housing and proximity to Salvadoran and Guatemalan consulates. The concurrent development of adjacent Bunker Hill as a major commercial district provided many of the newcomers with employment in the garment industry and service industries.

Modern Westlake

Westlake is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with a population density of 38,212 persons/mile². Crime has decreased significantly since the 1980s, though it is still a destination for illegal immigrants
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

, and the occasional sale of phony driver's licenses, work permits, and Social Security
Social Security number
In the United States, a Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents under section 205 of the Social Security Act, codified as . The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent...

 cards. Westlake is one of the least diverse areas in the city with 73.4% of the population being Latino. The next largest group being Asian at 16.5% of the population. El Salvador (17.2%) and Mexico (36.8%) are the most common foreign places of birth for residents. Westlake gained greater notoriety in the late 1990s from the Rampart scandal
Rampart Scandal
The Rampart scandal refers to widespread corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart Division in the late 1990s. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most...

 that rocked the Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Police Department
The Los Angeles Police Department is the police department of the city of Los Angeles, California. With just under 10,000 officers and more than 3,000 civilian staff, covering an area of with a population of more than 4.1 million people, it is the third largest local law enforcement agency in...


The California real estate boom that began in the early 2000s has brought some gentrification
Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size...

 to Westlake and continues steadily. Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

n immigrants, priced out of increasingly expensive Koreatown, have begun to establish themselves in the district, as have more affluent inhabitants who've been priced out of neighboring Silverlake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz. Several major residential developments, most notably The Medici(an apartment complex notably popular among students at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

), have been built in the district, and a large office tower at 1100 Wilshire has undergone conversion into a high-end condominium
A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate is individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights...

 in late 2006. Korean Air
Korean Air
Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. , operating as Korean Air, is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of South Korea, with global headquarters located in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air's international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45...

's United States Passenger Operations headquarters are located in the Westlake community. The transit-oriented MacArthur Park Apartment Project is currently under construction The Westlake Theatre is also currently going under rehabilitation. The district's economic revitalization is steadily improving.

Fire service

Los Angeles Fire Department
Los Angeles Fire Department
The Los Angeles Fire Department is the agency that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for the city of Los Angeles....

 Station 11 is in the area.
The fire station currently houses 1- EMT Rescue Ambulance (2-Firefighters trained as Emergency Medical Technicians), 1- Paramedic Rescue Ambulance (2-Firefighters trained as Paramedics), and a "Task Force" which is composed of: one five-man Truck Company (hook and ladder), one four-member Engine Company, and one 200 Series Engine (a fire engine staffed solely by an Engineer).

Given the district's significantly high population density, higher crime, and abundance of multi-story apartment buildings, high rises, older Victorian era houses, LAFD Firefighters regard Fire Station 11 as one of the more, if not the most, challenging work assignments. Firefighters that have worked there maintain that you gain a higher confidence level in firefighter knowledge and skill set than many other fire stations throughout the LAFD. It consistently remains one of the top ten busiest fire stations in the LAFD.

Police service

Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Police Department
The Los Angeles Police Department is the police department of the city of Los Angeles, California. With just under 10,000 officers and more than 3,000 civilian staff, covering an area of with a population of more than 4.1 million people, it is the third largest local law enforcement agency in...

 operates the Rampart Community Police Station, which was located at 2710 West Temple Street, 90026, serving the neighborhood. It has since moved east into a newly constructed facility at 1401 West 6th Street, the site of the former emergency receiving hospital.


Westlake is served by the Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest public school system in California. It is the 2nd largest public school district in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population...


Belmont High School and Miguel Contreras Learning Complex
Miguel Contreras Learning Complex
Miguel Contreras Learning Complex is a high school in Downtown Los Angeles, California, United States.The school, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school is located at 322 South Lucas Avenue, just down Third Street from the LAUSD Board of...

 serve Westlake. Esperanza Elementary School and the newly opened John H. Liechty Middle School are located in the neighborhood.

Much of its school-age population must be bussed to schools in the San Fernando Valley
San Fernando Valley
The San Fernando Valley is an urbanized valley located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of southern California, United States, defined by the dramatic mountains of the Transverse Ranges circling it...

 and Glendale
Glendale, California
Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population is 191,719, down from 194,973 at the 2000 census. making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California...

, owing to delays in the construction of the Belmont Learning Center
Belmont Learning Center
Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, formerly known as Belmont Learning Center, the Vista Hermosa Learning Center, Central Los Angeles High School 11, or the City West project is a secondary school and park located at 1200 Colton Street in the Westlake area of Los Angeles, California, United...

 (west of the Harbor Freeway at 1st and Beaudry) and overcrowding at the area's other schools.

Other education

The Centro Latino for Literacy whose goal is to teach Latino immigrants to read and write is located at 1709 W. 8th Street, Suite A.


In addition to MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park is a park in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, named after General Douglas MacArthur and designated city of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #100.- Geography :...

, Westlake plays host to a number of Los Angeles landmarks. In the 1980s, a former Pacific Electric tunnel near 1st Street, the Belmont Tunnel / Toluca Substation and Yard
Belmont Tunnel / Toluca Substation and Yard
The Belmont Tunnel / Toluca Substation and Yard is a designated historic monument located within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. The tunnel, substation and yard are remnants of the former Pacific Electric Railway's line that ran between the Subway Terminal Building in Downtown Los...

, became a famous canvas for graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

 artists, drawing visitors from around the world. The tunnel entrance and the yard around it have been demolished and a large apartment/condo complex called Belmont Station Apartments has been built at the site. Just north of this site on the other side of the 2nd Street/Beverly Viaduct it shares the Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, founded by Bob Baker and Alton Wood in 1963, is the oldest children's theater company in Los Angeles. In June 2009, the theater was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.-History:...

. Founded in 1963 by Bob Baker and Alton Wood, it is the longest-running puppet theatre in the country as well as the oldest children's theatre company in Los Angeles.

Numerous Los Angeles culinary landmarks also lie within the neighborhood. One of the few reminders of the area's Jewish history is Langer's Deli at 7th and Alvarado Streets, a delicatessen
Delicatessen is a term meaning "delicacies" or "fine foods". The word entered English via German,with the old German spelling , plural of Delikatesse "delicacy", ultimately from Latin delicatus....

 whose hot pastrami
Pastrami , is a popular delicatessen meat usually made from beef and, traditionally in Romania, also from pork and mutton. In Israel, "Pastrama" is the term used for sliced chicken and turkey. Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before modern refrigeration...

 sandwiches have been declared the finest in the United States by The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

(a publication not especially known for its love of Los Angeles). The first American location of Mexican restaurant chain El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco is a fast-food restaurant chain specializing in Mexican grilled chicken, headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. "El Pollo Loco" is Spanish for "The Crazy Chicken".Their main dish is pollo asado, a grilled marinated chicken...

 opened on Alvarado in 1980, just north of 6th Street. Finally, the first Original Tommy's hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

 stand still operates at the corner of Beverly and Rampart Boulevards at the cusp of Echo Park.

Westlake School for Girls (later Harvard-Westlake) was founded in the Westlake neighborhood in 1904. The school moved from the Westlake location to Holmby Hills in 1927 but retained its original name taken from the neighborhood.