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Old 12-20-2011, 03:39 PM
 
29 posts, read 119,073 times
Reputation: 41

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. You're all really making me comfortable about the move. And excited.

The more I look into the area the more I'm loving it. Seems to be tons of great bars and places to eat and things to do. Bukowski and especially Fante are two of my favorite writers. It looks like I'll be right around the area that inspired much of their work. That is way cool.

munchitup: I lived in Quincy for a year and then Brighton for two years. I have/had lots of friends spread out throughout the city, so I've spent quite a bit of time in Cambridge, Somerville, Southie, Beacon Hill and Brookline. I really love Boston, but many of my friends have moved away and it's definitely time for a change of scenery, something completely different.

BAH: Thanks for the link. One of the things I'm looking forward to about LA is the abundance of cheap, tasty, ethnic food. Can't wait.

Brian
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,538,315 times
Reputation: 3999
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian_k View Post
munchitup: I lived in Quincy for a year and then Brighton for two years. I have/had lots of friends spread out throughout the city, so I've spent quite a bit of time in Cambridge, Somerville, Southie, Beacon Hill and Brookline. I really love Boston, but many of my friends have moved away and it's definitely time for a change of scenery, something completely different.
Nice, I lived in Brighton too, and worked in Brookline. Same thing with all my friends moving away, I had some good times in Boston but I doubt it could ever be recreated, everyone has moved on.

One of my friends that I met in Boston just moved to LA this summer, and had her first trip to Little Tokyo last weekend, and she was blown away. It really is a cool neighborhood.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:08 PM
 
93 posts, read 244,338 times
Reputation: 104
Congratulations on your move to Little Tokyo! It's a great neighborhood, and you'll also find lots to do in the Arts District and Downtown. People who think of these neighborhoods as unsafe typically don't spend a lot of time down here, and aren't familiar with the changes this area has seen over the last few years. As a resident, I think you'll love it! As a Fante/Bukowski fan, you'll want to spend some time at the Central Library (that's where Bukowski first stumbled on Fante's Ask the Dust). Bunker Hill has changed a lot since Fante lived there, but the Angel's Flight is still there (albeit in a slightly different location), as is the Grand Central Market and King Eddie's Saloon. You'll have fun exploring!

Coincidentally, my husband and I are tentatively considering a move to Boston for a new job. We've been looking at neighborhoods and housing costs, and are horrified to see how much it costs to live in e.g. the North End or Chinatown/Leather District. Even the South End seems out of our reach. We'd like to keep housing costs around or a bit below $2000/mo, but it seems that even a studio apartment in central Boston costs more than that! So, if you happen to have any advice on walkable, urban, and still relatively affordable neighborhoods in Boston, we'd love some advice!

Thanks, and good luck with your move.
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:49 PM
 
29 posts, read 119,073 times
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cmcgill,

First off I want to stress that when I was in Boston, I always lived with roommates to lower costs, so I'm not too versed on the studio/1 or 2 bedroom market.

That being said, it really shouldn't be a problem finding a one bedroom apartment for under $2K. Depending on the area, maybe even a 2 bedroom. The neighborhoods you mentioned (North/South end) are probably the most expensive, trendy areas in Boston. Beacon Hill is up there with them. So the rents you are seeing are likely top dollar for the entire area. While these areas are nice, it's not worth living on the edge of your affordability to be there. There are plenty of places in Boston that are just as nice/fun if not better. It's really a city full of unique neighborhoods with their own character. And no matter where you live, it's really easy to visit the North/South ends to eat or do whatever you want to do.

I would suggest looking at Cambridge/Somerville. The red line of the MBTA runs through Cambridge and it is far and away the fastest, most efficient line in Boston. When I visit from Maine, I park at Alewife Station -- the furthest stop away from Boston -- and I'm downtown within 20 minutes. Depending on where you live, there are tons of buses and you can always walk across one of the bridges over the Charles to get into Back Bay. Boston is very easily navigated by walking or public transportation; 90% of people I knew there didn't have cars. The only catch is the T stops running relatively early — around 12:30 to 1:00 a.m., so you often have to cab it back from bars.

As far as Cambridge goes, the Kendall, Central and Harvard Square areas are the most popular. You still might find something in your budget here, but I would suggest looking at Inman Square and especially Davis Square in Somerville.

Both these areas our superb, Davis especially. People in Boston say it is like Harvard Square was 20 years ago. So if you're into arts, dining, culture, etc., it is a fun place to be. There is a red line stop and bus station right in the heart of the square, so getting into town is easy.

Inman square is also a hip place right now and a bit cheaper than the rest of Cambridge. It's between Harvard and Central Squares, so the walk to one of those T stops might be ten to fifteen minutes.

South Boston (Southie to locals) is also an interesting place to look. Though there are still bad areas here and there, it's become heavily gentrified and it's violent/racist/run down past is mostly a legend from movies like Good Will Hunting. It is a little harder to live closer to the T in this neighborhood, however.

Look at Brookline, especially around Coolidge Corner. Another great spot. The population here is a bit younger, but mostly working professionals.

Back Bay is pretty expensive, but it's worth a look. There very well could be something in your price range.

I would avoid Brighton/Allston. I didn't mind my time there, but it's really a very young neighborhood overloaded with college kids. It sort of a right of passage in Boston. Everyone lives there for a year or two when they're young, but then they move on.

But if I were to move back, I would be targeting the Cambridge/Somerville area for sure. Davis Square would be my number one choice. Do avoid East Somerville (Sullivan Square). It's not terrible, but compared to the rest of Cambridge/Boston/Somerville it's a bit dumpy.

One last thing. Effort is rewarded big time when you're searching for an apartment. It takes lots of calls, lots of viewing, lots of work, but you will find a great place. My buddy is living in a one bedroom with a nice kitchen area/huge living room in the heart of Beacon Hill for $1200/month including utilities.

Good luck.

Brian
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:43 PM
 
93 posts, read 244,338 times
Reputation: 104
Thanks so much for all the info! You've given me some great things to go on. I'm relieved to hear that housing isn't as expensive as I thought. We've always lived downtown in the various cities we're from, so the thought of being pushed outside the city center seemed like a drag. But it sounds like there are great, walkable neighborhoods outside the city center--good to know we can broaden our search.

Thanks again, and good luck with your move. I think you'll like LA.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
926 posts, read 1,455,428 times
Reputation: 1278
King Edward, ha! Tiny hijack: I nearly crapped my pants when I found that King Eddie's not only had Yelp reviews, but that they were overwhelmingly positive. Are these people even for real? I guess they think they're scoring cool points for venturing into a Real Official Dive Bar even though it has clearly been overrun with Silverlake hipsters.

That said, Little Tokyo is a cool hood. Yes, you're surrounded by some fairly gritty places, but it's not bad, some parts of it are very nice, and there is so much food there! My take on Little Tokyo (hereinafter referred to as LT) is you're either ready to live in a big city or not. LT isn't much of a tourist attraction, as far as I know, and in many parts is seriously Japanese focused. It is not uncommon to walk by shops or restaurants where there are no English signs at all, and that go completely undetected by Google. Sure, everyone and their grandmother has been to Sushi Go 55 by now, but some places don't even have English menus, and aren't really designed with Joe Bob from Winnetka in mind. If you can't handle that by LT we can really mean LT, you may want to reconsider. Also, if you cry every time you see a bit of dirt on the ground or an occasional homeless person, it may not be for you.

That might have sounded less encouraging than I intended to --do trust me, I love Little Tokyo, and when I go back to LA, I always, always visit-- I just want to let you know if you go there, you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. If you want Kansas, go to Thousand Oaks or something. LT is very much city, which means it's no lily white snowflake, but also means there are many great things to do, see, and eat, and you're close to everything. It's also fairly clean and safe, though more so in some parts than others. Good choice if you want to be downtown, and know better than to live in Pegasus.

I'm thinking about moving back to LA soon, and LT is on the list.

Best of luck.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
3,166 posts, read 3,881,699 times
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Downtown is "ok" safe, but not as safe as is being reported in this thread. LAPD usually reports crime as being above average for LA, but much of the crime is in and around skid row with the homeless and drug dealers as both perps and victims. Little Tokyo does have some crime. You can go to LAPD's compstat page to get a better idea.

Your "boarding hotel" might be a problem. Are you sure that it's Little Tokyo? There's a boarding hotel in skid row that advertises as LT. The owner (former I guess) was stabbed to death last year by a tenant. In general boarding hotels, also known as SRO's, in downtown LA are going to be very rough places.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:37 PM
 
29 posts, read 119,073 times
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The place I plan to stay is the Sogo Residences at 106 S. Hewitt Street. It's close to Skid Row, but definitely not in Skid Row. It is right on the corner of S. Hewitt/E. 1st. The reviews on airbnb.com were very good and I watched a youtube video of the place. It looked spartan, but clean, comfortable and safe. There are a couple of onsite managers and I believe they have been there for a while.

I don't believe this is the place you are talking about, 2Easy, is it?

I figure as long as I'm aware of where Skid Row is and I don't venture south on foot too often, I should be OK.

Brian
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:57 PM
 
2,914 posts, read 4,750,432 times
Reputation: 3670
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian_k View Post
The place I plan to stay is the Sogo Residences at 106 S. Hewitt Street. It's close to Skid Row, but definitely not in Skid Row. It is right on the corner of S. Hewitt/E. 1st. The reviews on airbnb.com were very good and I watched a youtube video of the place. It looked spartan, but clean, comfortable and safe. There are a couple of onsite managers and I believe they have been there for a while.

I don't believe this is the place you are talking about, 2Easy, is it?

I figure as long as I'm aware of where Skid Row is and I don't venture south on foot too often, I should be OK.

Brian
OK, you're about a 2 minute walk to Weiland's Brewery. The regular menu is standard bistro prices, but they've got a good cheap happy hour snack menu. The beers are cheap too, like $3. I'm hearing the service ain't too peachy anymore, though.

You can also trot over just as easily to Angel City Brewery. They have events. You should encounter more than a few people involved in the downtown arts scene there.

Last edited by Bunjee; 12-23-2011 at 02:16 PM..
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:30 PM
 
39 posts, read 29,372 times
Reputation: 58
(Bumping this thread because City Data seems to encourage adding to old threads if they exist, and this is basically a general Little Tokyo thread, which is what I want to post about.)

I started staying at the Miyako Hotel in Little Tokyo two or three years ago because 1. it was close to Union Station, and I'm the kind of weirdo who takes the train everywhere and 2. I just wanted some "real" ramen (there are ramen places in Philly but I figured Little Tokyo ramen joints would be a bit more authentic.) And since then I've found myself going back there whenever I have an opportunity (I am occasionally in Phoenix for business which is close enough for me to get to LA) because I really like the neighborhood, to the point of fantasizing about living there.

I mean, is it me, or is Little Tokyo a legit livable urban neighborhood? I count three supermarkets within a two or three block area (one is that tiny Nijiya in the Japanese Village Plaza.) And if it's hard to find American staples in ethnic markets well, that's why Jeff Bezos sells Cheez-Its. There's a pharmacy. There's a little mall (the one with the bowling alley.) There's a LAPL branch (whose patrons were mostly the Internet-less destitute when I checked it out, but still, it's a branch of an enormous library system.) There is tons of food and drink--and is there another American neighborhood with a higher concentration of legit Japanese food? To say nothing of all the other ethnic cuisines that well-represented in LA. And there's a Gold Line stop if you want to get to one of those cuisines. Theoretically you could live a car-minimal lifestyle.

Downsides: well, duh, it's expensive, but it's a nice area of Los Angeles. Not sure how big a drawback the proximity to Skid Row is--I didn't see too many clearly off their meds people wandering north of Third Street so maybe they stay in Skid Row? And all the rentals I've seen are big and relatively recent corporate apartment complexes, which is good and bad (new construction is always nice, but if you want charm or "authenticity" I'm not sure where it is to be found in Little Tokyo apartments.)

Note that I work entirely at home and I make a bit over $100K which is what's making me think hard about this, as I don't think I'll struggle with rent on that salary, though I don't know how bad utilities are in LA. I don't know if I like this neighborhood enough that I want to move to the other side of the country to be part of it, but the fact that I can is making me think hard about it. So I figured I'd bump this thread and ask you guys if you agreed that it is not just a nice part of town but one where you could live without leaving the area too often. Dissenting opinions are also desired (and inevitable--this is City Data, after all.)
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