By Lucy Nicholson
Too often in America, being old means being lonely, isolated and depressed.
At Village Trailer Park, a leafy oasis surrounded by busy commercial streets about two miles from Santa Monica’s famous beach, elderly residents are fighting to preserve a different way of life.
Owner Marc Luzzatto wants to relocate around 50 residents from the quirky trailer park to make way for nearly 500 residences, office space, stores, cafes and yoga studios, close to where a light rail line is being built to connect downtown Los Angeles to the ocean.
Village Trailer Park was built in 1951, and 90 percent of its residents are elderly, disabled or both, according to the Legal Aid Society. Many have lived there for decades in vintage mobile homes they bought.
The nearly 4-acre site is valued at as much as $30 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Buildings that have grown up in the neighborhood in recent decades now feature offices of media empires such as Yahoo! and MTV Networks. Santa Monica once had nearly a dozen trailer parks and now has just two.
As I walked around the park, trees swayed in the breeze, birds sang, and residents emerged from their homes to greet me. When I explained I was shooting a photo story, they reeled off names of neighbors I should visit. Everybody knows everybody, and each has a story to tell.