Yes, counting down a year-end “best” or “most popular” list is a New Year’s cliche, but we still can’t resist – it’s both enjoyable and instructive to find out which of our nearly 600 stories this year readers found most interesting, entertaining, and/or useful. It’s also worth noting that – as in years past – some of the stories on the year’s most-read list were actually published in years past, but remain popular with readers long after their initial publication. (It’s one of the more interesting facets of online publication – our stories are always here for anyone to find and peruse, no matter when they were published.) And, finally, it provides a good chance for you – our readers – to catch up with some big news that you might have missed the first time around.
So without further ado…here were our 25 most Buzz-worthy stories in 2019:
25. 42-Story Residential/Retail Development to Replace Staples at 5411 Wilshire Blvd. – May 30, 2019
Big developments mean big changes to their surrounding neighborhoods, and that means lots of interest when a new project is announced. This one hasn’t broken ground yet, but it’s very big, and it’s definitely got people talking.
24. Marciano Art Foundation Closes Suddenly After Staff Moves to Unionize – November 7, 2019
This story concerned one of our neighborhood’s biggest (and newest) local institutions, and it carried a lot of human drama as well — the entire staff was suddenly laid off just days after the workers, many of whom are also involved in other facets of the local arts community, officially applied to unionize.
23. Thieves Target Car Wheels – August 20, 2019
Crime is right up there with retail and real estate as one of the most compelling topics for our readers. And this odd new crime trend, found in several local neighborhoods this year, would be almost funny if it weren’t also so annoying.
22. LADWP Scams Circulating Again – When in Doubt, Dial 1-800-DIAL-DWP – June 18, 2018
This is one of those stories that continues to serve readers long after its original publication – it was originally published a year and a half ago, but since the scams continue, so does the story’s relevance to readers. (Note, too, though, that this is a topic that we do continue to cover – for a more recent scam round-up, see our story from earlier this month, with warnings about some even newer scams, at https://larchmontbuzz.com/featured-stories-larchmont-village/beware-these-holiday-season-scams/ )
21. High Speed Crash on Melrose Lands Car Inside Artworks Studio – October 30, 2019
The question everyone has when they see a big disturbance like this is “Wow, what happened there?” And we do our best to answer that question, as quickly, thoroughly and as accurately as possible.
20. Brothers Collateral Closing After 40 Years on Melrose – December 17, 2019
Stories about local businesses are always among our most popular with readers, as are stories about local people. So it’s no surprise to see this one, about an outgoing neighborhood landmark and its beloved proprietor, on this list.
19. Prominent Physician Roger Lerner Passed Away – July 13, 2019
Obituaries are a special category of people stories…and when a beloved community member passes, neighbors remember and honor the deceased by reading and sharing the stories of their lives.
18. Café Parisien Now Open on Larchmont – January 17, 2019
Everyone loves to hear about a brand new business, and this one was no exception. Unfortunately, the excitement was fairly short-lived, as the hopeful new restaurant closed in August, only eight months after opening. (We did just see a new “leased” sign on the space this week, though…so stand by for more Buzz soon.)
17. Jane Club Moving to 429 N. Larchmont – March 13, 2019
This was the culmination of a story that began in early 2018, when the new club for professional moms opened in a single family home on a residentially-zoned parcel on S. Larchmont Blvd. After several months of protests from neighbors, however, and then discussions with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and our local city council office, the group found a new, larger, headquarters in the commercially-zoned section of N. Larchmont, and finally settled in.
16. Hornburg Jaguar Land Rover Dealership Coming to 400 S. La Brea – March 12, 2019
One of the most frequent questions that pop up on local social media platforms is “What’s happening with that old [insert former business name here] building?” And as with the “What happened there?” question about accidents and other big incidents, we try to provide accurate answers as soon as we can. When we do, the stories get shared a lot, and quickly wind up among our most read.
15. Cultural Heritage Commission Votes to Recommend Monument Status for Tom Bergin’s – March 8, 2019
Hotly contested historic landmark stories have several important dimensions for readers – they’re about real estate (past, present and future), neighborhood character, and our shared and much-loved history. This one may have had a happy outcome for people on both sides of the specific debate – the Bergin’s building was eventually awarded landmark status, but its parking lot was not…setting the stage for the more recent announcement of both the re-opening of the historic tavern, and a big new development that will sit just a few feet from its front door.
14. Burglary During Home Fumigation – June 27, 2017
Another “evergreen” story, originally published in 2017, but still relevant to readers for several reasons: this kind of break-in still happens, people are always concerned about neighborhood crime…and the resident this particular break-in happened to was galvanized by the experience and has since gone on to lead crime prevention, neighborhood watch activities, and block captain organizing in both her own Miracle Mile neighborhood and others in our area.
13. Anne Lombard Passes Away – June 12, 2019
Another fond recollection after a beloved community member’s passing. Anne was the mother of Buzz co-publisher Patty Lombard, who was deeply touched by the community’s overwhelmingly generous expressions of sympathy and support after her story was published.
12. Replacing Trash Containers – February 3, 2017
Another big category of stories for the Buzz is quick but handy informational pieces on how to do anything from saving an injured raptor to cooking latkes to, yes, getting your trash cans replaced. This one was from 2017…but it’s still relevant and useful for local readers.
11. Car Crash Floods Trader Joe’s at 3rd & La Brea – Store Closed Today – June 24, 2019
Another “what happened there?!” story…about another popular local retail business. Lots of dramatic local media coverage to share in this one.
10. Le Petit Marché Re-opening Soon…and More GWNC Land Use Committee News – August 28, 2019
Restaurants are one of our most popular local retail categories, and readers, well, hunger for news about them. In this case, the “soon” in the headline turned out to be either aspirational or a relative term (relative to what, we’re not sure yet), because the neighborhood is still waiting. (Fingers crossed for better luck in the new year!) Of course, the seven (!) other local development projects described in the story also helped boost its readership.
9. Homelessness Rally Planned At Getty House – August 28, 2019
Homelessness is THE issue of the year in Los Angeles, and local residents are concerned both generally and locally about the difficult problem. This story, which announced a scheduled protest at the mayor’s residence in Windsor Square, brought the issue close to home, and piqued both interest and concerns on a number of levels.
8. 361 N. Citrus Ave. – An Architectural Loss…and Preservation Lessons Learned – November 11, 2019
The demolition of historic homes is something that many residents of our 100-year-old neighborhoods find deeply disturbing. Discussions of how to preserve our architectural treasures can get heated…but almost never more so than after this beautiful specimen was quickly demolished by buyers who originally professed their love and promised to preserve it. We included a list of preservation options for people concerned about the futures of their own homes and who would like to keep this sad process from repeating.
7. TOC Tier Verification Filed for Tom Bergin’s and Adjacent Apartment Property – September 12, 2019
A slightly earlier story in the Tom Bergin’s saga…in which we first got wind of the development plans starting to play out on adjacent properties, shortly after the historic bar and restaurant was landmarked.
6. Hancock Park Dubbed Worst Neighborhood in LA for Burglaries – August 20, 2018
Another crime story with staying power. This one, from 2018, used data from a USC project to illustrate a trend that surprised some people, didn’t surprise others, and pleased no one.
5. Incident on Larchmont – September 3, 2019
One of longest-running disucssion threads on local social media this year concerned a group of teens that hangs out after business hours near the Bank of America on Larchmont. This story sorted out various accounts of incidents and behavior, through interviews with both adults and teens involved.
4. LAUSD Strike Info: Schools’ Plans, Attendance Information, Places to Go – January 9, 2019
In some ways, it feels like a distant memory now, but for the better part of two very rainy weeks last January, the LA teachers’ strike was the biggest story in town…and what to do with kids during the strike, which everyone was afraid might last much longer than it did, was many people’s biggest concern.
3. Seven Businesses Closing on Larchmont; Rothy’s Shoes to Open – August 17, 2019
Larchmont business comings and goings are one of our core focuses (we are, after all the Larchmont Buzz). But tracking such things isn’t just about specific stores coming and going – it’s also about long-term trends and evolution, and no story brought that home for readers like this one did, reporting on eight big storefront changeovers in a very short period of time, which is a major number for such a small retail district.
2. Target Coming to Old OSH Building (and to La Brea & San Vicente) – June 20, 2019
“What’s happening with the old OSH building on La Brea?” may be the most frequently-asked question we’ve seen on local social media this year (a quick search just now turned up 26 different conversations in which the question, or a version of it, has been asked). And every time we see it, we pass along this link. Given that, and the fact that big box stores are always big news, it’s easy to see how this story ended up at #2 on our list for 2019.
1. So You’ve Got a Batchelder Fireplace? What Does that Mean? – November 16, 2013
If you’ve been reading our year-end lists for a few years now, then this year’s #1 story won’t surprise you. It’s actually been our number one story every year since it was published…and it’s also the number one story in the history of the Buzz. And even just within the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, it still comes out on top. Why? It’s actually not hard to understand – we’re a hyperlocal neighborhood publication…but this story interests people – in particular architecture and real estate afficionados – well beyond the neighborhood, city, state, and even country. Of course, it has particular local interest, since so many of our area homes have exquisite Batchelder fireplaces, but people all over the globe love reading about these beautiful installations.
So Happy New Year from the Larchmont Buzz…and may you spend it in front of a cozy Batchelder fireplace (or at least reading about one!).