Koreatown, Los Angeles

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Koreatown
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles Koreatown marker
City of Los Angeles Koreatown marker
Nickname(s): "K-Town"
Map of Koreatown as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Map of Koreatown as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Koreatown is located in Los Angeles
Koreatown
Koreatown
Location in Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°03′42″N 118°18′02″W / 34.0618°N 118.3006°W / 34.0618; -118.3006Coordinates: 34°03′42″N 118°18′02″W / 34.0618°N 118.3006°W / 34.0618; -118.3006
Country United States of America
State California
County Los Angeles
City Los Angeles
Government
 • City CouncilHerb Wesson
 • State AssemblyJohn A. Pérez (D)
 • State SenateKevin De León (D)
 • U.S. HouseXavier Becerra (D)
Area[1]
 • Total7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)
Population (2008)[1]
 • Total124,281
 • Density16,451/km2 (42,609/sq mi)
 Population changes significantly depending on areas included and recent growth.
ZIP Code90005
Area code(s)213
 
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For other Koreatowns, see Koreatown.
Koreatown
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles Koreatown marker
City of Los Angeles Koreatown marker
Nickname(s): "K-Town"
Map of Koreatown as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Map of Koreatown as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Koreatown is located in Los Angeles
Koreatown
Koreatown
Location in Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°03′42″N 118°18′02″W / 34.0618°N 118.3006°W / 34.0618; -118.3006Coordinates: 34°03′42″N 118°18′02″W / 34.0618°N 118.3006°W / 34.0618; -118.3006
Country United States of America
State California
County Los Angeles
City Los Angeles
Government
 • City CouncilHerb Wesson
 • State AssemblyJohn A. Pérez (D)
 • State SenateKevin De León (D)
 • U.S. HouseXavier Becerra (D)
Area[1]
 • Total7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)
Population (2008)[1]
 • Total124,281
 • Density16,451/km2 (42,609/sq mi)
 Population changes significantly depending on areas included and recent growth.
ZIP Code90005
Area code(s)213
Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown

Koreatown is a neighborhood in Central Los Angeles, California, centered near Eighth Street and Western Avenue[2] but with disputed borders.

According to the Los Angeles Times, it is the most densely populated district by population in Los Angeles County, with some 120,000 residents in 2.7 square miles. It is highly diverse ethnically, with half of the residents being Latino and a third being Asian. Two-thirds of the residents were born outside of the United States, a high figure compared to the rest of the city.

The neighborhood culture has historically been highly specific to the Korean-background population, although more recently there has been an increasing interaction between Koreans and Latinos in Koreatown as the Latino population is now booming.[3] There is a Korean Festival and Parade as well as a city park called Seoul International and a Koreatown shopping center, a Korean Education Center and the Koreatown Workers Alliance.

Koreatown is home to the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, built on the property of the former Ambassador Hotel, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, and thirteen other primary or secondary schools, as well as a law school.

A special graphics district has been established within the Koreatown borders. There are three Metro subway stops in the area.

Geography[edit]

Olympic Boulevard, looking east towards downtown

The neighborhood is centrally located in Central Los Angeles. It lies 3 miles (5 km) west of downtown, 4 miles (6 km) south-east of Hollywood, 12 miles (19 km) from Santa Monica Beach and 16 miles (26 km) from Los Angeles International Airport.

The neighborhood terrain is generally flat, with an average elevation of 200 feet (61 m); latitude 34.058 and longitude -118.301.[4]

LA Koreatown aerial view in 2014

City of Los Angeles boundaries[edit]

The city of Los Angeles has set the official boundary for Koreatown as Olympic Boulevard from Western Avenue to Vermont Avenue on the south, Vermont Avenue from Olympic Boulevard to Third Street on the east, Third Street from Vermont Avenue to Western Avenue on the north, Western Avenue from Third Street to Olympic Boulevard, including a business corridor along Western Avenue from Third Street to Rosewood Avenue situated inside the East Hollywood area on the west. The proposed boundaries include both sides of the street (Los Angeles City Council File 09-06096).[5]

There is dispute about the boundaries of Koreatown. The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Unified School District, Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council (WCKNC), Los Angeles County, US Census Bureau and the Koreatown Cultural Center all maintain their own set of boundaries, none of them in agreement.[citation needed]

Mapping L.A. boundaries[edit]

The Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times states as follows:

Koreatown is flanked by East Hollywood to the north, Westlake to the east, Pico-Union, Harvard Heights and Arlington Heights to the south, Mid-Wilshire and Windsor Square to the west and Larchmont to the northwest. The street boundaries are Beverly Boulevard on the north, Virgil Avenue, Wilshire Place and Westmoreland Avenue on the east, Olympic Boulevard on the south and Crenshaw Boulevard and Wilton Place on the west.[2][6][7]

Nearby places[edit]

These are nearby locations, not necessarily contiguous:

Population[edit]

6th Street at Alexandria

The 2000 U.S. census counted 115,070 residents in the 2.7-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 42,611 people per square mile, the highest density of any community in Los Angeles County. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 124,281. The median age for residents was 30, an average age for both the city and Los Angeles County.[7]

Koreatown was considered "highly diverse" ethnically. The breakdown was Latinos, 53.5%; Asians, 32.2%; whites, 7.4%; blacks, 4.8%, and others, 2%. Korea (28.6%) and Mexico (23.9%) were the most common places of birth for the 68% of the residents who were born abroad, a figure that was considered high compared to the city as a whole.[7]

The median annual household income in 2008 dollars was $30,558, a low figure for Los Angeles, and the percentage of households that earned less than $20,000 was high. The average household size of 2.7 people was about the same as the rest of the city. Renters occupied 93% of the housing units, and house- or apartment owners the rest.[7]

The percentages of never-married men and women, 44.6% and 36.2%, respectively, were among the county's highest. There were 2,833 military veterans in 2000, or 3.3%, a low figure for Los Angeles.[7]


History[edit]

The 1930s saw the height of the area's association with Hollywood. The Ambassador Hotel hosted the Academy Awards ceremony in 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1934.[9]

According to Edward Park, the 1992 Los Angeles riots stimulated a new wave of political activism among Korean Americans, but it also split them into two main camps. The liberals sought to unite with other minorities in Los Angeles to fight against racial oppression and scapegoating. The conservatives emphasized law and order and generally favored the economic and social policies of the Republican Party. The conservatives tended to emphasize the political differences between Koreans and other minorities, specifically blacks and Hispanics.[10][11]

In late 2008, the City of Los Angeles designated Koreatown a special graphics district (along with Hollywood and the downtown neighborhood of South Park/LA Live). The designation allows for digital signage and electronic billboards, currently not permitted by city code, to be installed on building facades. The designation allowed Times Square and Shibuya District-inspired buildings lined with LCD jumbotrons. The 300-square block graphics district is bordered by 6th Street and Olympic Boulevard from the north and south, and St. Andrews Place and Shatto from the west to east.[12]

More recently, Los Angeles' Koreatown has been perceived to have experienced declining political power secondary to redistricting[13] and an increased crime rate,[14] prompting an exodus of Koreans from the area.

Neighborhood culture[edit]

Parade performers during the Korean Festival

As the Latino population in Koreatown is increasing,[3] it is not unusual to find Latino employees in restaurants and grocery stores speaking Korean with customers or Korean store owners engaging Latino customers in Spanish.[15] An example of a cultural interchange between Koreans and Latinos in Koreatown is the popularity of Korean-inspired taco trucks in Los Angeles that feature classic Mexican food infused with Korean ingredients.[16]

Festivals[edit]

Annual festivals include the Korean Festival & Parade on Olympic Boulevard, with a march to the Seoul Peace Park. The Wilshire Center Business Improvement District (WCBID) holds the annual Earth Day / Car Free Day Festival every April 22 on Wilshire.[17]

Transportation[edit]

Train at the Wilshire-Western station in Koreatown

Metro operates two subway lines - the Red Line, which runs from North Hollywood to Downtown LA along Vermont Avenue, and the Purple Line, which runs along Wilshire Boulevard, both of which run near or through Koreatown. The neighborhood is served primarily by the Purple Line Wilshire/Normandie station, but there are two other stops as well.[2]

In addition to the two subway lines, Metro operates numerous Express, Rapid and Local bus lines through the district. Rapid lines include the 710 Crenshaw, 720 Wilshire, 728 Olympic, 754 Vermont, and 757 Western. Local lines include the 207 Western, 20 Wilshire/Westwood, 204 Vermont and 206 Normandie. Many MTA bus lines in Koreatown offer 24 hour service.

The LADOT operates three district-to-district DASH routes, one Commuter Express line and Cityride. Koreatown is served by DASH Hollywood/Wilshire line, and Dash Koreatown. The DASH lines are meant for local neighborhood transportation; their routes are short in comparison to MTA lines. All DASH service ends at 7pm weekdays and on Saturday and Sundays only Dash Koreatown operates, ending the service at 6pm. All Dash fares cost 50 cents. Commuter Express line 534 Century City provides weekday service while Cityride offers door to door dial-a-ride service for the elderly and disabled.

Foothill Transit services one express line in Koreatown, line 481. It operates only during weekday rush hours and runs from Wilshire and St. Andrews to the El Monte Bus Station.

Economy[edit]

Asiana Airlines operates a sales office in Koreatown.[18] Korean Air's United States Passenger Operations headquarters are located in close proximity to Koreatown in the Westlake community.[19] Grupo TACA operates a Los Angeles-area TACA Center in Suite 100P at 3600 Wilshire Boulevard.[20]

The Consulate-General of South Korea in Los Angeles is located at 3243 Wilshire Boulevard.[21] The Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles is located at 443 Shatto Place, while the passport and visa office is on the third floor of 500 Shatto Place.[22] The Consulate General of El Salvador is located at 3450 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 250 [12] and the Consulate General of Guatemala is located at 3540 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100 [13]. The Consulate General of Honduras[14] and Nicaragua are located at 3550 Wilshire Blvd. The Consulate General of Bolivia is located at 3701 Wilshire Blvd #1056 [15].

South Korean investment has been a large contributor to the neighborhood economy since the 1960s. Since the early 2000s, that investment has increased greatly, ballooning to an estimated $1 billion in new construction investment.[23]

Government[edit]

The Wilshire Center - Koreatown Neighborhood Council is designated by the City of Los Angeles to represent the area's citizens' concerns to the city, as a supplement to the City Council representation. The area represented by the council includes Koreatown & Wilshire Center, as well as parts of MacArthur Park, Hancock Park, and Mid-Wilshire.[citation needed]

LAPD's newest station, Olympic Station, serves Koreatown

Representatives[edit]

Koreatown lies within District 4 of the city of Los Angeles and is represented on the city council by Tom LaBonge. The area is represented by Mark Ridley-Thomas, Supervisor of District 2 for Los Angeles County. Mike Davis is the State Assemblyman for the Koreatown area. Karen Bass of the thirty-third Congressional District represents the area in the House of Representatives.[24]

Fire service[edit]

Four Fire Stations of the Los Angeles Fire Department serve the community of Koreatown respectively:

Station 29 serving Southwest Koreatown at Wilshire Blvd. and Wilton Avenue.
Station 13 serving Southeast Koreatown at Pico Blvd. and Westmoreland Avenue.
Station 52 serving Northwest Koreatown at Melrose Avenue and Western Avenue.
Station 6 serving Northeast Koreatown at Temple Street and Virgil Avenue.

Police service[edit]

Los Angeles Police Department provides police service to the City of Los Angeles, broken up into twenty-one local divisions. Koreatown is served by Olympic Division. The new station completed construction and opened for service on January 4, 2009. The entirety of Koreatown is contained within the borders of Olympic Division.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
Southwestern School of Law

Koreatown residents aged 25 and older with a four-year degree amounted to 21.4%, an average rate for both the city and the county. The percentage of residents with less than a high school diploma was high for the county.[7]

Schools operating within the Koreatown borders are:[25]

Public libraries[edit]

Pio Pico Koreatown Branch Library

Community organizations[edit]

Other education[edit]

The Korean Education Center, affiliated with the government of South Korea, is located in Suite 200 at 680 Wilshire Place.[21]

Southwestern Law School offers degree and non-degree programs in the Westmoreland Building and the former Bullock's Wilshire building at 3050 Wilshire Boulevard.[26]

Publicly accessible places[edit]

Chapman Park Market

When it opened in 1929, the gracious structure on 6th Street was an architectural wonder, featuring the novel concept of one-stop shopping for fresh produce, meat and dry goods. It was an urbane attraction in the fashionable Wilshire District at a time when movie stars played at the nearby Ambassador Hotel.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Los Angeles Times Neighborhood Project". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Thomas Guide, 2006, page 593, 594, 633 and 634
  3. ^ a b "L.A. Koreatown Businesses Catering to Booming Latino Population". New American Media. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  4. ^ "GNIS Detail - Koreatown". Geonames.usgs.gov. 1997-05-14. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  5. ^ "09-0606 (CFMS)". Cityclerk.lacity.org. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  6. ^ [1] "Central L.A.," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ a b c d e f [2] "Koreatown," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ [3] "Population Density," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  9. ^ "Oscar Legacy | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". Oscars.org. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  10. ^ Edward J.W. Park, "Competing visions: Political formation of Korean Americans in Los Angeles, 1992-1997," Amerasia Journal, 1998, Vol. 24 Issue 1, pp 41-57
  11. ^ Nancy Abelmann and John Lie, Blue dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles riots (1997)
  12. ^ Zahniser, David (April 18, 2008). "Koreatown billboard district is proposed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  13. ^ David Zahniser (2012-08-01). "Koreatown residents sue L.A. over redistricting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  14. ^ "Koreatown Crime". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  15. ^ "Cities / People / Place » Where Latinos Speak Korean". Urbanphoto. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  16. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (February 25, 2009). "For a New Generation, Kimchi Goes With Tacos". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Earth Day". Wilshire Center. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  18. ^ "Worldwide Offices." Asiana Airlines. Accessed September 20, 2008.
  19. ^ "Contact Info." Korean Air. Accessed September 20, 2008.
  20. ^ "TACA Offices." Grupo TACA. Retrieved on January 27, 2009.
  21. ^ a b "Contact us." Consulate-General of South Korea in Los Angeles. Retrieved on December 24, 2008.
  22. ^ "General Information about our Consulate." Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
  23. ^ Ferrell, David. "Glitter Babies Vs. Thugs." LA Weekly. November 8, 2007. 1. Retrieved on January 27, 2009.
  24. ^ http://lageoquest.lacity.org/Geocortex/Essentials/Viewer.aspx?Site=LAGeoQuest&txtAddr=3875+West+6th&image.x=0&image.y=0
  25. ^ [4] "Koreatown Schools," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  26. ^ [5] School website
  27. ^ [6] Postcard of original site
  28. ^ a b Gina Piccalo, "A New Generation Savors the Pleasure of the City's First Mall," Los Angeles Times, October 21, 2000
  29. ^ [7] Topozone.com
  30. ^ [8] Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
  31. ^ Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
  32. ^ [9] Church website
  33. ^ [10] Bing.com
  34. ^ [11] Bing.com

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]