It was 17 years ago this past Saturday (October 4, 1991) that I drove in to Los Angeles from Boston on my big move to Southern California. I arrived in Glendale and called up some friends, who were aware that I was on my way but did not know exactly what day I would arrive.
I set my bags at what is now Days Inn in Glendale, and drove off to meet my friends.
First stop: New Hampshire Avenue in Hollywood. I picked up my friend Anahid Adamian (now Oshagan), who was involved in a celebration of her own. The family was gathered to celebrate the birth of her brother. I picked her up and asked “where to?”
“There’s a ‘kebab night’ at the Hollywood Center organized by the AYF Mousa Dagh Chapter. Let’s go there,” she said.
So, we drove a couple of blocks and there on the corner of Lexington Street and Vermont Avenue stood the Armenian Center, with which I was very familiar since I had visited Los Angeles several times prior to my final move.
Fast forward 17 years and here I am again at the same Hollywood Center that welcomed me to Los Angeles almost two decades ago. Except now I call it my office.
Asbarez and Horizon moved to the newly refurbished old Hollywood Center last week. As we are transitioning into our new location, we look fondly back at the times and experience we have all shared within these walls. This week as I’ve spoken to friends and community members on the phone, every time I mention we have moved to the Hollywood Center–or to some the Mousa Dagh Center–the conversation always goes to “do you remember that one time…”
Well now this place with its rich history is ready to make more history. The hall that we used to hold our meetings and kebob nights is now the state-of-the-art Horizon Television studios, where production has begun on our daily programs.
The AYF and ARF Karekin Njdeh Gomideh offices now house the Asbarez editorial staff, as we all await the completion of the Asbarez portion of the building, downstairs adjacent to the ARS Social Service Center.
No move, however, is without its growing pains. Technical and logistical difficulties have created some unforeseen obstacles in the early days of our move. But already two weeks into it, we have almost dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s and are ready to serve the community and continue producing our products–newspaper, television, the website.
Every morning as I reach Western Avenue on Santa Monica Boulevard the street signs and the light-post banners signaling my arrival at Little Armenia instills a sense of pride. Now that Asbarez and Horizon are part of this reality we are committing to join the community and all of its community organizations with a commitment to make it truly a heartbeat of our larger Armenian-American community.
Construction has already begun on the new Armenian Community Center adjacent to the St. Garabed Armenian Church and the Rose and Alex Pilibos School. This new facility will house the organizations previously occupying the new Asbarez and Horizon center. A quick walk to that part of our neighborhood a couple of days ago brought me in touch with some old and new faces at Alex Pilibos, who promised to stop by; And of course Very Rev. Vicken Vassilian who welcomed us to the neighborhood in a warm and heartfelt manner only befitting a Der Hayr.
This does not mean that we don’t miss Glendale–our home for almost a quarter of a century. As the epicenter of the Armenian community in California, Glendale still remains that vibrant, and in so many ways a true little Armenia. We promise all our community members in Glendale that our geographical location change will not alter our proximity to the city, community and its residents.
So, here we are, at the heart of Little Armenia, from where I hope to share some experiences with our readers intermittently from this column.
Until then, come and visit us. We are at 1203 N. Vermont Ave., Little Armenia, CA 90029. Or call us at 323-284-9222.