To outsiders, perhaps from New York or San Francisco, Los Angeles is a massive, formless expanse of concrete, dotted with palm trees and occupied by a dizzying variety of often strange people. To Angelenos it’s a collection of distinctive neighborhoods, each with its own, special characteristics — for better or worse. Sometimes they inspire rivalries, like the one that’s grown up between the Eastside and the Westside, wherever they might be. In fact, the boundary line is just one thing people disagree about. The disagreements are often passionate; sometimes, they’re disdainful. We hear from people — including some of our listeners — who disagree about the arts, the restaurants, the traffic, the lifestyle — even the atmosphere — on the Eastside and the Westside of what we call “Los Angeles.”
Remember “Carmaggedon?” That’s when the 405 Freeway was shut down completely for entire weekends for replacement of the Mulholland Drive bridge. There were predictions that the entire Westside would be unavailable to the rest of the city. There now exists between people in Los Angeles a kind of rivalry — like the one between LA and San Francisco, or between New York and LA. To get a sense of how and why, we reached out on line, using the Public Insight Network and Facebook to contact our audience. We asked a series of questions. Which side do you prefer? Where’s the boundary? Which is the “real LA?” We received hundreds of answers.