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Neighborhood Project: Little Armenia

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This summer LAist is going to tackle an ambitious project. We are going to attempt to do a post about every neighborhood in Los Angeles based on LA City Nerd's 172 known designated communities. It might take us into the fall, but every neighborhood/community will be covered, in this lighthearted, and clearly not definitive, tour of LA.

If you would like to send us information, tidbits, little known facts, or full blown posts about your neighborhood, email us at thelaist@gmail.com

Now let's get this party started with Little Armenia, the friendly neighbor of Thai Town, after the jump.

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Little Armenia
Boundaries: "the area bounded on the north by Hollywood Blvd between the 101 Freeway and Vermont Ave, on the east by Vermont Avenue from Hollywood Blvd to Santa Monica Blvd, on the south by Santa Monica Blvd between Vermont Ave and the 101 Freeway and on the west by the 101 Freeway from Santa Monica Blvd to Hollywood Blvd."

Subway stops: Hollywood/Western, Sunset/Vermont, Sunset/Santa Monica

Parks: Barnsdall Art Park

City Councilperson: Eric Garcetti

County Supervisor: Zev Yaroslavsky

State Senate: Kevin Murray

State Assembly: Kevin De Leon

US Congress: Xavier Becerra

Freeway access: 101

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Usually considered: Hollywood, East Hollywood

People who front who live here say they live in: Los Feliz

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Little Armenia is named after the Armenians who escaped genocide and made their way to Los Angeles during the early part of the 20th century. Armeniapedia says that LA "has the second largest Armenian diaspora community in the world, after Moscow, Russia." This beautiful mural of the history of Armenia can be found off Vermont between Fountain and Santa Monica Blvd.

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Good restaurants: Marouch, Zankou Chicken, Falafel Arax.
The Sunset Blvd. Zankou is the best of the Armenian-styled rotisserie chicken houses, and if you don't indulge in their garlic paste, you're missing out on everything.

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Marouch on Santa Monica Blvd:

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Some times the best food is in the strip malls:

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A new favorite, Square One on Fountain:

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Falafel Arax on Santa Monica Blvd.:

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Number of official 99 Cent Stores: 1

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Number of stores in Little Armenia named Armenia: 1

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Number of super old beautiful hospital wings so old they cant tear them down but too old to use for patients: 1

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In 1930, East L.A.'s Kaspare Cohn Hospital moved to Fountain Avenue and renamed itself the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. Lucille Ball gave birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr. there. Judy Garland gave birth to Liza Minnelli there. Natalie Cole and Micky Dolenz were each born there. Among other celebs who were treated there include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Curly Howard of the Three Stooges. In 1976 Cedars of Lebanon would move again to Beverly Hills and become Cedards-Sinai, and in its place came The Church of Scientology. Below you can still see the Cedars of Lebanon influence in the neighborhood.

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L. Ron Hubbard Way is one of the few streets in LA that incorporates hand-laid bricks, and allows no parking at any time.

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Sometimes in the summer the Scientologists will have big events in their parking lot

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Even without Cedars around any more, the neighborhood still has plenty of hospitals. Including this huge Kaiser that is being renovated and expanded.

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Along with Scientology, there are several Armenian churches in Little Armenia, a Mormon temple, and even an all-religion church, among others:

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Number of Winchell's in Little Armenia: 0
Number of Michelle's: 1

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Last year, after jumping through expensive hoops, Sam Lanni brought Safari Sam's to the location of a former strip club. One of the most exciting new clubs, you can drive by any night and see today's youth smoking and drinking outside in between watching bands inside.

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There used to be a bowling alley in Little Armenia. The famous Hollywood Star Lanes opened in 1962 and was the only Hollywood bowling alley for 40 years. It was demolished for this school. We will never forgive those kids for demanding an edjumacation.

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Number of Vons in Little Armenia: 0
Number of Jons in Little Armenia: 2. One on Vermont & Hollywood, and one on Santa Monica near the 101:

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Number of old school Armenian bakeries: oh so many!

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There's great public art in Little Armenia

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It even has an Art Park on top of its tallest hill

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The Post Office in Little Armenia is on 1385 N Western Ave. near Sunset, near the Home Depot

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The Sunset & Vermont red line station is just one of the three subway stations in Little Armenia - if you consider the Hollywood/Western station as being in Little Armenia and not in Thai Town.

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Despite the huge Armenian population, as well as heavy Thai influence, Little Armenia, like the rest of LA remains hugely diverse and walking down any of the streets you're bound to hear a variety of languages being spoken. Which is why International hair cuts are so important.

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During the riots in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, this Payless shoe store was looted, as were many businesses on this block

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At the end of Spike Jonze's Adaptation, he trips you out with some time-lapse photography of flowers and traffic streaming down this stretch of Sunset. Which means this is probably a good place for us to end too.

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all photos by Sonny I. LaVista for LAist