Heading West and The Art of Discovering Van Nuys

I am fascinated by the prospect of discovering a whole new world in Van Nuys.  I’ve lived on the East Side of Los Angeles for 24 years and I feel like a pioneer forging into the wilderness to start a new life.  The climate is different, the light is different; how can that be? It’s only 16 miles from here. I imagine I’ll have to adjust to a whole new way of doing things and that’s just fine with me.  I’ve taken on this project of finding the silver lining in what many people have called “the armpit” of the valley. Mixed metaphor, I know, but that is what is being revealed to me about my new home-to-be so far.  It’s a mixed metaphor with a cherry on top.

The first thing I found is that there are other blogs about Van Nuys which seem to be embracing the very same duality ; the beauty and the beast that I seek to uncover and then write about in this blog.  Of course, being a yogi, my take will probably be skewed in a more spiritual direction, but one never knows.



and an excellent article on the entire San Fernando Valley that is so interesting, that I wished I had written it myself:


As you can see, I’ve already found a certain charm in this part of the city that seems to be on the verge of something else. A transformation. A civic epiphany.

Hanging Around in Van Nuys

Robert Redford recalled his boyhood home of Van Nuys as “just this furnace that could destroy any creative thought that managed to creep into your mind.”  I prefer to think of it as a giant furnace that could do good, inspire creativity, engender compassion, stimulate awareness.   It’s easy to get lazy and sleepy living in a false sense of reality on the other side, but Van Nuys is very real; a very on-your-toes kind of real. I’m originally from New York and it feels familiar. Obviously Van Nuys inspires creativity of some sort because she’s been the muse of many movies, books, poems and songs and yes now, even blogs.  The housing market is more affordable than other parts of the city (it is technically in Los Angeles) and it’s close to everything, by freeway or otherwise. In fact it was created as the Civic Center of the San Fernando Valley, being host to many government buildings and agencies.

Can you say “mini mall”? I certainly can.  In fact I’m going to see a lot of them (and one in particular) because it will be in extremely close proximity.  This will be a big change for me as I currently live on a hill surrounded by chirping birds, chuckling squirrels, and dancing hummingbirds.  I basically live in a treehouse. A good thing is that skunk attacks on my dogs will probably be a thing of the past.  Another good thing is that I won’t have to drive to pick up dog food or drinking water. I can walk.

I can’t wait to try out the lap swimming at the local YMCA, check out flora and fauna in their natural habitat (as well as the Japanese Garden) at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve, and visit the Sikh Temple in the Valley. I never live far from a Target, Costco, or a church and this is always somehow reassuring. In fact in my new neighborhood, I counted 9 churches in an 8 block radius so this could either mean a lot of bells on Sunday or that God might be just around the corner. Either way, it’s fine by me. Wish me luck!  I’m loading up the wagon…


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