Reynier Park

During the past couple of weeks, we noticed several workers in orange vests and hard hats working on our Reynier Park, so we went to check and talk to them. They removed the old sidewalk and poured cement to build a new one all around the park, along Olin, Reynier and Hargis. They completed the job Friday April 28. They were employed by a private company called John S. Meek, hired by the Los Angeles Department of Street Services.


We are grateful for such improvement, however many Reynier Village resident wish that the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks would require permits for large picnics on weekends, catered affairs that bring over 200 people to our neighborhood, and would limit the parties to 2, to take place under the lovely wooden pergolas, and the number of party-goers to 20 for each party.


Also the erection of tents and bouncy houses are not allowed by existing park regulations, which should be enforced. In October 2016 the SORONC Board approved a resolution asking for new signs, in English and Spanish, spelling out all the regulations. We’ve been waiting 6 months, so we hope these signs will be posted soon.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

New Restaurants-Culver City

Baco Shop 17awWe were curious about several new restaurants that opened recently in downtown Culver City, replacing others that closed, so we took a walk, looked at their menus and sampled some of their food. We favored inexpensive and unpretentious establishments, offering healthy choices.
For example the baby kale salad at BACO SHOP (424) 258 6301, 9552 Washington Blvd, the grain bowl with black lentils at CAVA (23) 230 5027 , 9343 Culver Blvd, the Angry Avocado roll at RAMEN ROLL (310) 426 8926, 9900 Culver Blvd.
Ramen Roll 17-2awWe also indulged with the Chicken Karaage at TENTENYU (424) 603 4803, 3849 Main St. It was yummi (and boneless), much better (if not comparable) than HONEY KETTLE’S FRIED CHICKEN, rated number one in Los Angeles by LAist, Thrillist and Los Angeles Magazine (if you don’t mind waiting 30 minutes or more).

For a list of our favorite restaurants in Culver City check the RVNA website.

Please go explore and comment with YOUR favorite choices. Thanks!

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Native Gardens

Yes, Southern California experienced lots of rain this winter and the long drought may be ending, but that does not mean you should keep that water-thirsty lawn in front of your house.

Gibson garden (c) Elisa Leonelli

In 2009, when we started this blog, we were amazed at how many Reynier Village residents had replaced their turf with drought tolerant grasses and native plants in their front yard and parkway.
Many more residents took that step during the past few years, since LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) started their cash for grass program in 2009 and raised the rebate amount in 2014. So many people applied that those funds were quickly exhausted, and the Turf Removal Program waitlist was closed in November 2015.

Check SoCal Water $mart for available rebates on sprinkler nozzles, rain barrels, weather based Irrigation controllers, etc. or call 800-506 9073

Gibson garden (c) Elisa Leonelli

To get inspired about the kinds of landscape and plants you may choose to grow in your garden, take a look at the photos of the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour
Saturday and Sunday April 1 & 2, 10am to 5pm.

Search the LADWP Interactive database: California Friendly Landscaping in Los Angeles

Or take a walk around Reynier Village and see what your neighbors have done.

Gibson parkway (c) Elisa Leonelli

We admired this front yard and parkway on Gibson, so we asked Lauren how she did it.
“The yard used to be all grass. A couple of years ago I applied for the turf removal rebate and was accepted. I spoke to a few landscape artists, but they were asking far more than I was willing to pay, so happily my gardener Ernesto agreed to remove the grass and replace it with California native/drought tolerant plants: Blue Finger, Fire Sticks, Aloe, Aeonium, Variegatum, etc. He did everything himself with his crew, I just gave him the specifications from LADWP’s rebate program (must be CA native, no rocks/gravel, sprinkler-drip system, etc). It really has come in quite nicely this Spring after the recent rains.”


Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Freeway Garden

Blue Lupines

This warm sunny morning, only one week away from the beginning of spring, I took a walk from my house to meet up with my neighbor Steven, who wanted to show me the colorful flowers blooming in his freeway garden.  For years now he has been planting a variety of native flowers, such as orange California poppies and blue lupines, inside the fence of the Santa Monica freeway next to his house. In 2003 our local journalist Martha Groves saw him engaged in this labor of love and wrote an article about him for the Los Angeles Times: Splendor blooms on the inhospitable ground next to Santa Monica Freeway.

10 Freeway: Bottlebrush

More often than not in our neighborhood the embankment along the 10 Fwy is littered with beer bottles thrown over the fence or illegally dumped bulky items. Several times during the past few years the dedicated volunteers of the Reynier Village (RVNA) and Helms Neighborhood Associations (Helms NA) have organized community clean-ups of this fenced area that is maintained by Caltrans. Click here to read a post on this blog.

Morning Glory

Steven says: “I hope people realize that, like the L.A. River before it was rediscovered, the freeway borders can be much more than an unused byproduct of a transportation system.  It’s valuable land that most people ignore.”
Take a walk along Regent Street between Cattaraugus and National, bring the kids for  a botany lesson, enjoy the super bloom of our Southern California spring after the heavy rains.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Freeway Garden: Lavatera bi-color

Mansionization in Reynier Village

On March 1 the Los Angeles City Council approved new regulations, backed by Paul Koretz of Council District 5, to control the size of Mcmansions, large modern 2-story houses built on small lots, replacing quainter older homes in single-family neighborhoods.

8921 Hargis-2017 house, photo by Elisa Leonelli

8921 Hargis-2017 house, photo by Elisa Leonelli

The first of these mansions was recently built in Reynier Village at 8921 Hargis, in place of a small wooden home, that was sold on May 12, 2016 for $750,000.  The asking price of the new house is $1,750,000.  A tidy profit for this developer.
I actually like the architectural style of this modern structure, in comparison to the old 1,346 square feet house built in 1947.  However we have to be watchful so that massive houses towering over your homes are not built to change the character of our lovely village.

8921 Hargis-1947 home

8921 Hargis-1947 home

Here’s a message from local realtor Laura Anderson, president of the Faircrest Heights Neighborhood Association: “Our beloved neighborhood, with the charm of its architecture, is a hidden jewel, much like Reynier Village. Concerned residents rallied together to go to City Hall for the hearings on a regular basis. I encourage you to join forces and keep the integrity of your neighborhood.  I support change but we need to have guidelines in place.”
Check out the Facebook page of ‘No More Mcmansions in Los Angeles’ and sign the petition. Contact the SORONC Board and our District 10 Councilman Herb Wesson, so they may put pressure on City Hall to protect Reynier Village from mansionization.

To understand the changes in city regulations, you may read an article posted by Deni Mosser on Nextdoor.

Robertson-Great Street

Tommy's Express Car Wash

Tommy’s Express Car Wash

Many residents were disappointed two years ago when South Robertson Boulevard was NOT included among the 15 “Great Streets” chosen by Mayor Eric Garcetti for transformation.  Last November SORONC (South Robertson Neighborhood Council) leaders applied for a $13,000 matching grant, with letters of support from RVNA (Reynier Village Neighborhood Association) and other community organizations, and on February 3, 2017 the Mayor confirmed that South Robertson (from Cadillac to Kincardine) is one of 7 additional Los Angeles Great Streets 2016.

2512 Robertson

2512 Robertson

I took a walk up and down Robertson a few days ago to see what’s new.  I spoke with Ari Cohen, the new owner of Fred’s Bakery who took over the  business 2 years ago, I checked out Tommy’s Express Car Wash, and I looked at the gated parking lot of 2512-2516 Robertson, a building left vacant for 30 years by an absentee landlady.  We wish she and her son would sell it already and allow a restaurant to open there. It would be a great addition to the existing eateries: Dolce Isola, Argentinian Empanadas, Campos, Monaco Gelato, Undergrind Cafe.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

P.S. For other posts about our “Great Street” click on Robertson under Categories

Pizza Pop Up

Roberta's Pizza

Roberta’s Pizza (c) Elisa Leonelli

I was checking their website to see if Sweetgreen had opened at Platform in Culver City (it has), and saw this page about Roberta’s Pizza. I was born in Italy, so I’m always on the lookout for authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurants in LA, and the photos of these pizzas looked promising. So today I went for lunch with a friend, we ordered one pizza to share, the Bee Sting with spicy soppressata, and after the first bite we had to immediately order a second. To be fair, these pies are quite small. They had set up a shack under the Expo line bridge, with wooden tables in front, and placed their awesome clay pizza oven outdoors.  I asked how long they were going to be there and they said they are leaving in 10 days, February 12, drive the pizza oven back to the original Roberta’s in Brooklyn. I told them that the parking lot for the Expo across the street would close on February 14, for construction of a commercial and residential complex, and they said, “We’re leaving just in time, then.”

Sweetgreen (c) Elisa Leonelli

Sweetgreen (c) Elisa Leonelli

We also did check out Sweetgreen, where you can get healthy salads, warm bowls, and fruit juices, made from local organic ingredients.
Platform is at 8840 Washington Blvd, Culver City 90232. See post on this blog.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli