Neighbor of the Month – October 2014

We are delighted to introduce you to Tracy Stone & Allen Anderson as part of our “Neighbor of the Month” series-an effort started last November to highlight Elysian Valley residents. It is our sincere hope that doing so contributes in some fashion to better know one another, build, grow and appreciate the make-up of our community.  The NW thanks Tracy and Allen for their contribution to EV.

Tracy Stone and Allen Anderson have lived in Elysian Valley since 2003.  They previously lived in Angelino Heights in Echo Park in a property co-owned with two friends. Tracy says it was “A real estate condition that required three architects to purchase a house in Los Angeles”.  Motivated by a spike in property values, Tracy’s two other partners decided to sell, leaving her and Allen in need of finding a new home.  Their journey to EV began with a Glendale commercial listing in the paper, which turned out to be the Elysian Valley property they presently own and occupy.  Prior to landing this property, Tracy and Allen confess to finding EV “simply enchanting”, when observing it atop of Elysian Park during their evening walks.  “It was almost a story book view”, says Allen. 
With only a drive by inspection of the outer building and never having set foot inside, Tracy recalls telling Allen that they had found their home—a vacant warehouse once home to an industrial textile company.  It did not take long for Tracy to “carve” the building to accommodate the living and workspace quarters, recalls Allen.  Prior to this, the idea of living in a warehouse was unimaginable to them.  The purchase price was a great deal compared to housing prices at the time, says Tracy.  It was the perfect mix of work and living space needed and in a strange way reminded them of their lives in Hawaii.

Tracy and Allen were raised in Hawaii, Allen’s family having deep roots in the islands. His grandfather, R. Alex Anderson, is the famous Island composer of Mele Kalikimaka and other popular Mainland songs. He lived to be 101 and played golf into his 90’s.

Tracy’s claim to fame is being two years ahead of President Obama and having attended Punahou High School with him, where he was known as Barry.  Tracy has an undergraduate degree in Art History from Cornell University in NY and a Master degree in Architectural Design from the University of Texas.  Allen has a Bachelor of Science Administrative degree from Pepperdine University and a Master of Science degree in surfing from “the school of life on the beach”. 

Tracy and Allen met by way of Allen’s mother, their families having been friends.  Allen is 10 years her senior and neither remember having met the other as children or young adults.  They had their first encounter in 1996, described by Tracy as “magical” because unbeknown to each other, both ended up in Hawaii for Christmas.  Both had left voicemail messages to each other stating they were on their way to “some place warm”.

As life would have it they coincided at a family gathering in Hawaii where they were formally introduced by Allen’s mother.  Tracy and Allen recall standing in place face to face in conversation for nearly an hour.  There after they found every excuse to see each other.  A year and three months later their love became inseparable in California. Their family unit is complete with son Chris and daughter Meagan, who too live in Elysian Valley.

Tracy is the founder of the Frogtown Artwalk, now in its 9th year.  “It started as an open house party” for her office with help from an artist friend, who offered the suggestion that neighbors open their places to have an artwalk, recalls Tracy.  She gives great credit to the help rendered by friends Donatella Cusma and Sameena Sitabkhan, who remain involved to date.  For Tracy, “the absolutely most rewarding part of the artwalk is that it has become a neighborhood celebration embraced by the entire community.”

Tracy and Allen love Elysian Valley for the strong community residing within it.  “Neighbors are important” says Tracy- recanting how a neighbor extended Chris and Meagan a letter of recommendation to facilitate their current rental agreement.  The collaboration of passionate, good caring neighbors coming together to assist each other is what makes Allen and Tracy say “this is why we are here to stay”. 

Both Tracy and Allen like the freedom of voices in the neighborhood.  They are concerned with the unavoidable consequences of gentrification, out of scale commercial development and residents being pushed out or priced out.  Allen serves in the Neighborhood Council to mark a positive difference in the community.  He and Tracy wish to be known in Elysian Valley as good friends and neighbors.