Running along the west side of Sepulveda Boulevard, from Haynes to Lemay Streets, is a traffic median, allegedly planted with trees, but mostly serving as a local dump for household refuse, a refuge for old couches, toys, luggage, mattresses, beer bottles, etc.
Nearby are new, gleaming, white paneled developments, including the rental apartments at IMT 6500, “with easy access to golf courses, tennis courts, jogging, bike paths and boating on the Balboa Lake.” With lush photographs and bucolic descriptions, one might mistake this online fantasy as Zurich, Switzerland.
Ugly before the pandemic, hideous now, it seems that the many unfortunate events of the last year will provide a generation of politician’s excuses for the deplorable environment Angelenos endure. Add in the presence of thousands of homeless, the daily fires in Balboa Park, the rancid smell of sewage, global warming, ever present violence, property crime, speeding cars and crashes, fireworks and pipe bombs, and you have a drama that surpasses the worst conjurations of Hell.
But do not judge this district from the worst examples. There are lovely places nearby.
Just one block from here, at 15351 Haynes St. a home recently sold for almost two million dollars.
On nearby Orion Avenue, a studio set neighborhood of picket fences, rose bushes and white houses earns many residents tens of thousands of dollars each month for commercial filming. And some of these glorious residences, worth millions, many inherited, pay less than $2,500 a year in property tax.
But few who live in the privileged homes venture out at night to stroll past Jiffy Lube, Dunn Edwards or Jack in the Box. And nobody has a picnic on the median. The pleasant events all happen behind tinted windows, in air-conditioned homes and vehicles, there is no pretty nature other than the yards dressed up for commercials.
And there is never any connection between the public, civic realities of life in Van Nuys and the private dreamscape of those fortunate enough to own a piece of paradise.
You end up in a mansion or dumped along the road. Roll the dice.