Growing Up in ‘The Jungle,’ I Wanted to Head for the Hills

As a Kid in Baldwin Village, I Cranked Up the Radio to Drown Out the Gunfire and Dreamed of Duran Duran and Houses with Lawns

Baldwin Hills Dreaming

In 1977, my parents moved my two siblings and me into a second-story, three-bedroom apartment on Santo Tomas Drive in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.

It was one unit within a 1-square-mile section of apartments informally called “The Jungle.” The area included apartment buildings with whimsical names like Coco Capri and The Islander and boasted swimming pools, large living spaces, courtyards with palm trees and birds of paradise. There were scenic views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the glimmering Hollywood sign, the white dome of Griffith Observatory, and the homes …

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