No one can accuse the Militant of not listening to his readers. In an entry last year where the Militant ranted about the proliferation of designated community names in Los Angeles, reader Bert Green pointed out that there was, indeed a "Brook" in Brookside and left a location of the stream which may or may not exist.
This trickled through the Militant's mind over the months so he decided to get on the bike and check the damn thing out. But what was it called?
After retracing the path of the long-lost Sacatela Creek from Los Feliz to Koreatown, he wondered to himself, "How is the Militant ever gonna top that?"
Well, he can't. But he still found the stream nonetheless.
After some Militant research, he discovered the stream was called "Arroyo de los Jardines" (Creek of the Gardens), and the name pretty much holds true today, at least where it's visible.
Unlike, old Sacatela, there are sections of the old arroyo which are not only visible, but carry fresh running water. And we're not talking gutter runoff here.
According to a Los Angeles Times article on the Brookside community, the Arroyo de los Jardines runs from an unspecified location in the Hollywood Hills and ends up in Ballona Creek.
The article also mentioned that the stream is home to "koi, goldfish and crawfish." Hmmm. Many people who settled in the Mid-City area in the mid-20th Century had roots in Louisiana...coincidence?
Militant research to locate the creek's Hollywood Hills source turned up futile and calls made to the creek's publicist were unanswered.
But the creek does daylight itself just south of Melrose Avenue where it runs through the middle of Wilshire Country Club. So yeah, only the privileged few can enjoy this thing (shyyeah, as if they care...). But the average Jose can get an easy glimpse of it at 3rd St. and Hudson Ave. (pictured above, right), where one can see the creek empty into a culvert that runs south-southwest on Hudson (Could the street's name be attributed to a NY transie of yesteryear who named it so because it was a river?).
It emerges south of Wilshire in its namesake community, where it again flows for the privileged few, this time in the backyards of some pretty well-to-do mofos. It can be seen over an un-barred masonry fence just west of Longwood Ave. and Olympic Blvd (pictured right). As traffic rushes by on Olympic, one can hear the trickle of Arroyo De Los Jardines, at this point truly living up to its name, nestled in there amidst the abundance of lush greenery found there.
From there, in the neighborhood of Longwood Highlands, the arroyo plays peek-a-boo in seemingly random backyards before disappearing completely. There's no real evidence of the stream save for a few curious-looking channels of greenery running to the southwest, as viewed from an aerial map.
Somewhere near there, beneath Venice Blvd. and Cochran Ave., our little brook friend unceremoniously merges with Ballona Creek, which does not have a source per se, but was originally fed by the various wetlands and swamps (Cienegas in Español) that used to dot the Westside (and the reason why buildings on that part of town are susceptible to liquefaction during earthquakes - remember the little section of the 10 Freeway by The Swamp Blvd that was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge quake? Of course most transplants don't...).
From there, the Ballona, a.k.a. The Mini-Me to the Los Angeles River's Dr. Evil), as we all know, flows into the great Pacific. No need for the Militant to retrace that, though you're more than welcome to on a bicycle. Just be careful if the fences trap you in.