My name is Gabriela Paredes. And I grew up here in Elysian Valley that's how we know it, Frogtown. I think now it's like Silver Lake on the map or something. But we call it 'The Peanut' like I was telling you because on the map it seems like it's a little peanut between the freeway and the river. It's just like a very intimate place here.
I was born here. I left when I was like 21, 20 probably. I've never experienced the bad things. Usually my older brothers, I would hear like, 'Oh you know' I had Juan and my friend to drop me off and they're like 'Where do you live?' 'Elysian Valley.' 'Oh no, I'm going to leave you on the corner!' And I was like 'What?' Maybe because it's dead end streets and you know, I don't know. But I never, you know, experienced that. But you know, it was always fun a lot of kids on my block all the time, like Marsh Street was like 'The Street.' All kids growing up, they were always in my yard. Because we had an open fence, we didn't have a fence. We would always go to the river, like when I was younger like, maybe 7, 8 years old. There was a lot of frogs, like actual frogs that would probably come from the river, that would just be all over the yards. And then eventually they died out, we didn't see any more frogs. I don't know what happened. Maybe the contamination of the river, I'm not too sure.
When I left when I was around 20 years old I noticed that the community was changing the housing, they started building the little park down the street by the river. So it's become more... what do they call it now? Hipster? So I mean, but it's a nice area. It's a place where a lot of people come because it's right by Downtown, we're right here by Dodger Stadium, and it's really calm I would say. We would love to go up to Elysian Park and look down at Frogtown, and the view, that was our thing here. So. Yeah, the views, I mean, even daytime we would go up there and just, there's a little spot where you can see Elysian Valley and up to Cypress. Griffith Park, we'd maybe go to the old zoo, just you know, hang out. But, I think that's what I'd miss when I moved outward, where it's more flat. I missed, like, there's no views, there's not a place to go where I can go up and look down, you know. And that's what I miss. I really love this place.
The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:
Northeast Los Angeles
- A Los Angeles Primer
- Arrival Stories
- Block by Block
- Engaging Spaces
- Green Justice
- I Am Los Angeles