The incongruity comes as little surprise from a woman who shows off
the scar from her recent open heart surgery while keeping an open pack of
Pall Malls within reach.
Ruiz explains that everything she needs is near her apartment -- a
Cuban market, her doctor, a post office.
"Esta muy [handy]," she says.
Her best friend, Rosa Ynocencio, who lives a few blocks away, usually
drops by in the evenings, when the two enjoy watching "novellas," or soap
operas, over fruit shakes or hot chocolate.
A COMMUNITY OF CONTRASTS
Beyond the door of Ruiz's home lie more contrasts.
Near a strip of sidewalk marked by colorful graffiti, a storefront
boasts a certificate announcing participation in a "CLEAN Sweep" effort.
Down the block from an apartment building marred by fading paint and
water damage is a house with a carefully tended garden, blooming roses
filling its large, circular planters.
On streets where residents complain about gang activity, kids ride
their bikes without fear.
Perhaps the most noticeable of all the contrasts is that southern
Glendale -- which contains much of the land that made up the city when it
was incorporated in 1906 -- has come to be its most ignored area,
according to many of the people who live there.
"The city fathers never paid much attention to south Glendale," said
John Cianfrini, who has lived and done business in the area for more than
"[Before the mid 1990s] there was a different group in City Hall. They
all lived in north Glendale," he said. "They took care of themselves."
A NEED FOR ATTENTION
As the city expanded and attracted increasing numbers of residents
over the years, many settled in southern Glendale, making the need for
From 1980 to 1990, U.S. Census figures show the city experienced a
surge in its population. The most dramatic growth came south of Broadway,
where the number of residents grew from 38,491 to 55,453.
Many of the new residents found homes in southern Glendale, where
several apartments were available to accommodate the influx.
Today, the area is recognized as the most densely populated district
of the city.