I don’t know if these apartments really are cozy, but you can’t beat the location on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. Charles Demers offers the following description of the neighborhood in his book Vancouver Special:
While other Vancouver neighborhoods change drastically from generation to generation, no group has ever really left the Drive after settling there, no matter how incongruous the next wave of settlers. … The Drive’s Big Three groups, if there were ever a Yalta summit … are the Italians, the Lesbians, and the Leftists.
Along with the Big Three are various independent constituencies (the hipsters, the Natives, the Afro hair salons and Carribbean restaurants, the spoken word poets) as well as satellites of the great powers (the Portuguese, the hippies, the vegetarians).
For Demers, this idea that nobody leaves the Drive is central to the area’s identity. New groups–yuppies, hipsters–moving to the area, he writes, for the most part want to be “part of what’s already there” not remake the neighborhood.
The Drive is definitely my favourite place to visit in Vancouver. I’d live there if it weren’t for the shockingly high real estate prices and the small matter that it’s in Canada. I don’t think there is a counterpart in Seattle. Ballard might be an outside contender, except that, unlike The Drive, it has been radically remade over the last 5 to 10 years, mainly by property developers.