Forgotten Neighborhoods

Photo © Madness Rivera

Madness Rivera over at Mad Organica posted an inspiring story about her experience participating in the 9th Annual L.A. River Ride put on by the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition. She put in a great performance on the ride, completing the 50 miles in 3:15, but what I enjoyed most about the story is her ability to see beauty where others see only blight:

I wouldn’t say that staring at the LA River fills me as tightly as staring at the ocean, but it’s close. Very close. Which would seem odd to the majority of Angelenos because the LA River is basically considered an iconic eye sore. The property around the ocean is coveted and the most expensive in the world. The property and neighborhoods around the LA River just as soon be forgotten, and often are. These neighborhoods are some of the poorest in the city and often experience the highest crime. But I find the most extreme beauty in the aftermath of a social-economic-political backturning because in these neighborhoods there are still people; mothers and fathers who want well for their children, people who want comfort and fairness for themselves and their community. Beyond the struggle, and criminal frustration, a fiercely organic hope emerges; beauty blossoms that is rooted in the collective, if minimal hope of people. It’s a beauty that cannot be stopped. This can be witnessed in any neighborhood, anywhere.

Read the story @ Mad Organica

4 Responses to “Forgotten Neighborhoods”

  • brad says:

    I’ve heard similar things from participants in Montréal’s Tour de L’Ile (this year’s was held last Sunday and attracted 35,000 participants…and no, that’s not a typo!). The tour’s route changes every year, and people always end up seeing parts of the city they had never visited or never knew existed, including areas that many people would prefer to avoid. It’s an eye-opener on many levels, and passing through the neighborhoods on a bicycle seems to encourage this kind of reflective appreciation…there are subtleties that you simply can’t clue into by whizzing by in a car.

  • Matt says:

    Conan O’Brien did a spot last night where he said how much he liked the outdoors so he and Andy Richter got a canoe and went paddling down the Los Angeles River. They did a bit of fly fishing with some Copland-esque music, ran a rapid, camped in a culvert with a fire.

  • Madness says:

    Ah hell ya, Alan! Haha. Thanks so much.

  • Alan says:


    My pleasure… :-)

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