Submitted by Jeni Hatfield
Map by Kristina Lopez
If there is one thing us Angelinos agree on, it’s that we don’t agree on which local neighborhood is best. In all fairness, there are a lot. Los Angeles is known for its sprawling, quilt-like patches of neighborhoods—each with its own vibe. And where you eat, play and live is taken very seriously.
One afternoon here at the LA office, a casual conversation began among coworkers as we jokingly compared the cubicle sprawl of the office to the sprawl of the city’s neighborhoods. And much like actual LA, it can be tough and daunting (thanks, traffic!) to leave your own neighborhood. If you have not paid a visit to the Downtown LA office shared by Marketplace and Dinner Party Download, picture a complicated maze of corridors and cube areas. With some recent seating changes, it can be confusing to staff as well as guests.
A few jokes and one Slack channel later, and a full-fledged conversation imagining our office space as city neighborhoods took on a life of its own. A healthy debate ensued. Deep analysis and inspired arguments filled the Slack channel for naming areas of the office after real life neighborhoods based on our own internal geography and vibes. This is public radio, after all. The result? A carefully planned office map – complete with “metro stops” at each major seating section. Plus the ability to say: “Oh, that reporter sits over in Highland Park! Just walk through Koreatown and hang a right in Silverlake.”
To inaugurate our new office neighborhoods, we took another page from the city and decided to host a public Cube Crawl. Each area brought some treats representing their neighborhood, and we gathered at 9:45 AM one Monday morning at the Studio City/North Hollywood stop to begin. Everyone received their official Marketplace tote bag and started sampling the goodies as we followed the map. And the neighborhoods did not disappoint. From candy sushi to represent Studio City’s sushi row and tamales in Culver City to trendy La Croix at LA’s original hipster neighborhood of Silverlake. Along the way we placed an official city sign in each area and had fun visiting each other’s neighborhoods.
Talks of a Fall Cube Crawl are already in the works. And if any local residents want to change the name of their neighborhood, they can always take it up with the “Zoning Commission” on Slack.