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Up and Down

Up and Down

We spent Christmas week in Manhattan Beach to be with my son’s family in Gardenia, nearby, outside of LA. My daughter, her husband, and our two grandchildren, and Maria and I shared an Airbnb my daughter found.

We split the rental and it was less for each of us than it would have been to stay in the Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel, where we usually stay. It was lovely with a nice view of the Pacific, plenty of room, a lot of light. I found out that it was worth $4.5 million. The range in this community seemed to be from about $2 million to $10 million or more.

These homes are on very steep slopes with top floors leering over the next lower house’s roof, so that everyone has a sea view. They are elbow-to-elbow with practically no land at all outside of the building’s footprint, accessed through very narrow alleys where only one vehicle at a time can pass. And there is zero privacy, in that you can see your neighbors at all times through the huge windows and balconies unless all the shades are drawn. The next door neighbor here was frosty, clearly unhappy with the Airbnb placement next door.

In a sense, these are wealthy ghettos. And while the view is one of great serenity facing the vastness of the Pacific, the traffic everywhere within 60 miles of LA is the worst in the country, parking in these towns to shop or dine is extremely difficult, and walking on the great declivity of these hills is not for those who don’t regularly work out. (Many people walk backwards in an attempt to east the strain!)

It’s a nice experience to be here and understand this lifestyle, but next Christmas we’re back at our house with six acres and a small lake and total privacy. Our driveway is larger than these alleys. And the earth is flat.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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