Anyone who heard reports of Highland Park's revitalization a few years ago and headed to York Boulevard likely would have noted all the auto-body garages and the marijuana dispensaries operating with varying degrees of legality and asked, "Really?"
At long last, even a skeptic would concede: Really. The York gastropub and Cafe de Leche coffeehouse that set anchor on York Boulevard have been joined by new home decor boutiques, a glass studio with classes for DIYers and a vinyl music shop that draws DJs from coast to coast. Indie furniture maker Jay Dunton, above, augments his own designs with affordable accessories and some vintage pieces in Meridian Mercado Deseño. Another furniture maker plans to be doing something similar at Sawhorse. Matters of Space has small ceramics by Highland Park potter Lily King, starting at $15. The piece pictured here? Just $40, plant included.
New restaurants include HPK (short for Highland Park Kitchen), which held its opening party last week, and the forthcoming country French spot Ba, which has been putting the finishing touches on its baroque-meets-'80s-punk interiors. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila recently offered praise for the new Maximiliano down the street.
Pop-Hop, a bookstore and print studio, and the Highland Cafe also are prepping to open. And though the street's vibe is still ruled by urban grit, for better or for worse not one but two storefronts have been claimed as the future homes for that symbol of neighborhood renewal: the wine bar.
If the gentrification gets you down, you still can get a sad face inked on your arm at the Vintage Tattoo Art Parlor. Or you can submit to change. Head to York this weekend for Second Saturday, when food trucks roll in, no-name art galleries throughout northeast L.A. open their doors, and stores on York keep late hours to accommodate crowds.