Friday, February 22, 2008

Classic Beach, but Much More in Santa Monica - New York Times

For your next visit out here...

There's a paragraph about a neighborhood I'm considering moving to named after the street it's on Montana. It's very yuppie, but also very walkable. We'll see.

`Classic Beach, but Much More in Santa Monica - New York Times: "American Journeys | Santa Monica, California
Classic Beach, but Much More in Santa Monica"

From WITH its classic amusement pier, glittering bay and surfers bobbing on swells, Santa Monica was a perfect setting for “Baywatch.” But take a short walk inland, and this city on the edge of Los Angeles reveals itself as more than a stereotypical beach town.

Within its borders, drawings by Picasso and Dubuffet hang in the same art complex as a vast installation by a graffiti crew. A well-preserved Mission-style bungalow sits around the corner from a steel performance space by Frank Gehry. Shops sell goods ranging from vintage Parisian wedding gowns to a whimsical map made entirely out of license plates. There are homegrown coffee bars on nearly every block, with names like Groundwork or the Legal Grind, dispensing caffeine and counsel at the same time.

“The pier, the bike path — they’re the only things most people know about Santa Monica,” said Colleen Dunn Bates, editor of “Hometown Santa Monica,” an insider’s guide to the city. “And they’re fun. But they don’t reflect everything that the city really offers.”

Although it’s surrounded on all sides by districts that are part of the City of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades, Venice and West Los Angeles — Santa Monica asserts its own identity as an eight-square-mile separate city, and its population of about 96,000 is spread through several distinct neighborhoods. To make the most of time there, enjoy the games and famed carousel of the Santa Monica Pier and then step back from the beach to sample the city’s variety the way Santa Monicans themselves do.


Some of the city’s best shopping is also on its northern rim, where the 10-block Montana Avenue district is known for upscale clothes, home décor, crafts, jewelry and art. At Every Picture Tells A Story (No. 1311-C) a lithograph of the cover of “Charlotte’s Web” signed by the illustrator, Garth Williams, hangs on a wall, and in the gallery (the store is also a children’s bookstore) original works by Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and others are $150 to $150,000.

Next door, Rooms & Gardens (No. 1311-A) sells furniture, antiques and accessories like pillows fashioned from an antique Indian sari. The actress Mary Steenburgen, one of the store’s three owners, praised the walkability of the area — not a common commodity in Southern California — when I asked her about the location of her store.

“The thing I love about Montana is that you feel as if you are in a pedestrian city,” she said. “It’s fun to look out the window and see people walking by with their dogs, instead of just cars streaming by.”


Post a Comment

<< Home