What if I were to tell you that there was a place in Hollywood that wasn’t at all like Hollywood—but rather a neighborhood in New York City? You can walk to the market, the dry cleaners, the local diner, a theater, a coffee shop—even a Scientology center. Intellectuals and culture mavens inhabit the neighborhood, attracting celebrities, who parade around the area trying to align themselves with the cache of the neighborhood.
The area referred to is Franklin Village, the best kept kind-of-secret in Hollywood.
Filled with yuppies, models, and savvy celebrities, the neighborhood is infested with thirty and fortysomethings who have made their careers in New York City and have since relocated to Los Angeles, where business is booming and the weather isn’t nearly as volatile.
This area is the New Hills—but you won’t find Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt anywhere nearby. This neighborhood is marked by understatement and quiet snobbery: the area is for mature adults, who wallow in their brilliant appreciation for FA Hansen’s storybook homes and the walkability of Trails Cafe. You’ll see more couples walking around with their surrogate children (aka, large dogs) than you will bickering Hollywood types.
The area is so silently obnoxious, the Scientology Celebrity Center at the gateway to the ‘hood blushes as it stares on, wondering how people can logically spend $195 on a dog bed at Tailwaggers in a recession ($195!?...well, I guess it’s for their kid). It’s a neighborhood that protects its own and does all it can to keep its name—“The Oaks”—sacred. If Beverly Hills is the Upper East Side, this area is the East Village (circa 1990, since 85% of the people in this neighborhood were in the Village then).
The neighborhood’s residents and neighborhood alumns range from successful societal commentators (Joel Stein) to house flippers (that guy from Flipping Out) to fashion designers/celebrity daters (L’Wren Scott) to God himself (Brad Pitt). These quiet hill streets off of Canyon and Bronson are filled with today’s tastemakers, who are in bed by 9PM on weeknights and 1AM on weekends (at the latest). You frequently will find them at The Oaks Gourmet, getting a nice brie, or at the new Gelson’s (which they are still upset is no longer a Mayfair Market), buying their deadly Spinach/Artichoke Dip.
Hollywood annoyances still infest the area (bitter divorcees, self-absorbed celebrities, plastic surgery monsters), but it has an unrivaled subtlety that is greatly attractive to people in LA: it’s so not Los Angeles it is Los Angeles. It has the best of everything: you can walk to dinner, drinks, a show, the bookstore, the salon, your realtor, and even the Hollywood sign—all without leaving the neighborhood or travelling more than two miles. This neighborhood is in the middle of it all but removed from it all. (As a reminder of that: travel one block South on Bronson from Franklin, you’ll never have guessed millionaires are in your midst since you’ll assume you are in a crack den.)
The New Hills is starting to become quite the scene and is gaining it’s own local celebrities. Be on the look out: you never know who you could be drinking next to at Birds or La Poubelle—they might be able to make or break you in this town.
[Photos via LAist.com]