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19 Reasons East L.A. Isn't What You Think It Is

Don't believe the hype.

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1. Some people think East L.A. is a dangerous place to live.

The Los Angeles Skyline from East L.A.
Edward De la Torre / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: elslunko

The Los Angeles Skyline from East L.A.

2. They think there's graffiti pretty much everywhere you go.

Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.
Malcolm K. / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: rootsnrails

Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

3. And that the public transit stops are littered with trash.

Glowing egg at the Gold Line Soto Station in Boyle Heights.
Frederick Dennstedt / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: fredcamino

Glowing egg at the Gold Line Soto Station in Boyle Heights.

4. They don't believe the artwork is very original...

Roberta Romero / Creative Commons
Roberta Romero / Creative Commons / Flickr: bunnicula

Dia De Los Muertos skulls at Self Help Graphics & Art.

5. ... Or even inspiring.

Roberta Romero / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: bunnicula

6. They think the architecture is WILDLY unimaginative.

Stained glass canopy at the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station entrance.
Chris / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: hercwad

Stained glass canopy at the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station entrance.

7. And the murals are all about the Virgin Mary.

Visiting Proyecto Jardín in Boyle Heights.
Aspiration / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: aspirationtech

Visiting Proyecto Jardín in Boyle Heights.

8. They think the food here is rather subpar.

Guisados in Boyle Heights.
Max Martin / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: maxmartin

Guisados in Boyle Heights.

9. And accept that the nightlife is virtually non-existent.

The Eastside Luv Wine Bar y Queso in Boyle Heights.
meli / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: meligrosa

10. They assume El Mercado offers nothing they would ever want to buy.

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11. And envision the Barrio Boogie to be a total bore.

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12. They think the cuisine is limited to tacos and burritos...

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Un Solo Sol's Vegan Tofu Saltado.

13. ... Or rice and beans.

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A Veggie Fatteh dish at Un Solo Sol.

14. And believe the churches are falling apart.

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St. Mary's Church in Boyle Heights.

15. They don't expect a smidgen of creativity.

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Espacio 1839 in Boyle Heights.

16. Or a powerful sense of community.

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The Boyle Heights bridge runners.

17. Some people will go their whole lives avoiding this place.

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Statue of Lucha Reyes in Mariachi Plaza.

18. And maybe they're right...

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Wall art at Primera Taza.

19. ... Because obviously nothing cool EVER happens in East L.A.

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DJ Potira spinning at East Side Luv.

Thumbnail photograph by Barbara Zaragoza. Mural by Paul Botello.

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