Over the years, if you know me, you may have heard me refer to my Arts District neighborhood as simply “The A.D.” For me, it’s officially “Downtown Los Angeles, A.D.” or “dtla/AD.” A few years ago, I realized that The A.D. was evolving into three distinct areas, plus two adjoining ones.
For those of you “in the know,” you recognize that there are about 52 blocks in The A.D., spanning from the 101 Freeway to the north and 7th Street to the south, and Alameda Street to the west and the Los Angeles River to the east. In The A.D., from the 101 Freeway to 1st Street, I’ve observed there is currently only one residential living space (that I have been able to find!), along with massive City of Los Angeles compounds, lots of industrial buildings, a Buddhist temple, cold storage facilities, a strip club, and even a morgue! That’s why I coined this northern area of The A.D. as “No-Man’s Arts District” or simply “N.A.D.”
From 1st Street to 4th Street, I consider this the central part of The A.D. — its core — where most of the neighborhood’s long-time resident artists still live (sadly, for the time being) and where a majority of DTLA’s official Artists-in-Residence (A.I.R.) loft buildings are located. That’s why I simply refer to this area as the “Central Arts District” or “C.A.D.” (Here’s a shout-out to Paul Mackley who first told me about his usage of C.A.D. I added the other monikers after we stopped laughing so hard. By the way, I proudly live and work in C.A.D.)
From 4th Street to 7th Street, that’s the “South Arts District” or “S.A.D.” It’s where the bulk of the area’s industrial buildings still remain, plus a handful of condo loft buildings zoned as “live-work residences” (hey, there are only six so far in the Arts District overall, though it would seem otherwise lately). Mind you, like the other parts of The A.D., this area is cool in spite of my silly shortened monikers, but I have sometimes found that some of those who live in this section get particularly offended when I mention they live in S.A.D. Hey people, it’s a joke — ALL of the abbreviations are funny, tongue-in-cheek names, and none are very flattering (and are not intended to be)!
Oh yeah, and those outlying areas? In the A.D.’s northernmost part, past No-Man’s Arts District, go north or simply “Go N.A.D.” over to County Jail if you’re so inclined. Of course, if you travel to that part south of the South Arts District, that’s simply “So S.A.D.”
So, in summary: GoNAD, NAD, CAD, SAD, SoSAD … enjoy my goofy dtla/A.D. abbreviated nicknames in the way they are intended — to be funny and humorous, even if they are just that way for me! Have a fun day!
UPDATE: As the growth of the Arts District continues to go south (no pun intended!), I realized that a new addition was needed in my Abbreviated A.D. — the BADlands … or simply, “Beyond Arts District” land. This one is my favorite as who doesn’t want to live in the BADlands? Sounds so cool! Hashtag it #BADlandsLA … and don’t forget about that booming area across the Los Angeles River called “East Bank.”3