"Stuck with an empty condo/loft? That you'd like to rent in downtown LA?" That was the lead on my ad on Craigslist. It was during the holidays of 2008. I was READY FOR A CHANGE. I mean, I needed a change. For years I had lived on the Westside. Leafy trees. The ocean. Breathing clean air.
But, that was before I ended up living with my now 89-year-old mother and 93-year-old father in Century City. Long story. Not so pretty. Leafy trees, ocean, air didn't matter. After living there for four years, two friends literally had an intervention with me, and basically said, "It's either you or them. Who are you going to choose?"
"Meeeeeeeeeeee," I screamed.
I had been fascinated by downtown for awhile. Frequented the Art Walk regularly, loved Pete's Cafe, shopped in the fashion district, and even lived in a sub-let in Bunker Hill for a month during the summer.
So I was ready to take a leap into the "hood." Plus, I was intrigued by its revitalization.
My brilliant ad on Craigslist "pulled" strongly (and the fact that the housing market had tanked, and it was the week before Christmas and there were no other takers) and my soon to be landlord, Julio Martinez, met me at his loft.
"And why would you like to rent the loft?" he asked, as we sat in his place that I had instantly fallen in love with. "Well, because it's either me or them, and I choose me!" I answered. "Hmmm," he said politely, never once insinuating that I was one card shy of a deck.
As often happens in downtown, I'm finding, he got me psychically on a level only he and I seemed to share at that moment. He rented me the loft, pretty much on the spot, and I moved in on the Winter Solstice.
Okay, okay, okay. I'm going on and on. But, I'm in love. Downtown is bursting with creative people, different cultures, vibrant moments, and for me, everyday is an adventure of one sort or another.
That is why I chose to begin Tales of Downtown. To not only share my adventures - the good, the bad, the funny and the ugly - but to share those of others as well.
And the fact that one night when I was walking with my neighbor on Broadway, she asked me, "Nancy! Was that a rat or a Chihuahua?"
Right then, I knew I had to start writing about downtown. That was the spark. So there.
- Nancy Mills (writer, former travel journalist, big time women's empowerment leader, gourmet cook, loft lover, downtown conversation series presenter, and infrequent visitor to her parent's condo).