Traffic has picked up drastically on the residential Nardian Way, if only around Christmastime.
The tiny two-block street in Westchester, tucked a zigzag away from a main intersection, northeast of thoroughfares Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue, has for the past four years been the site of an elaborate rooftop Christmas display of Santa Claus and his reindeer that spans three rooftops and has additional decor extending into the neighborhood.
Neighbors Ernst Rampen (who works in computer software), George Ronay (a wine distributor) and Tom Johnstone (a school administrator) committed to teaming up to create a bedazzling Christmas display that has attracted a few visits from television news crews and more than just a few curious onlookers who veer off of the main drag for a peek at the illuminated holiday spectacle.
Rampen says he spent about two months creating Santa and his reindeer, sculpting them from metal wire and colored Christmas lights. Now, neighbors join together each year and spend an entire weekend mounting the display across three rooftops.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been added on the opposite end of Santa, extending the display to a fourth house. Appropriately, Santa sits on the rooftop of George and Jeanne Ronay’s house — the house which has the tallest chimney. Twelve illuminated Christmas gifts are strung with a steel cable and are connected to a tree across the street.
“It’s always a big team effort to get all of this up onto the rooftops,” says Rampen, who describes such holiday theatrics as neighbor Tom Johnstone climbing up in a tree to run cable for the display. “We often join each other for family dinners after a day of work on putting up the displays.”
Rampen says that the holiday decorating fever has been contagious in the neighborhood.
“We’ve definitely seen other people around adding more decorations to their own homes in the past few years,” says Rampen.
Some residents compare living on Nardian Way to living in a small town with a strong sense of community, a scenario not-to-common in the Los Angeles metropolis.
“Everyone knows their neighbors and watches out for each other,” says Lynne Adelman, an employee of The Argonaut who lives on Nardian Way. “We each have a list of names of family members and emergency contact information for all of the families living on the street.
Earlier this month Adelman organized a Christmas dinner for her Nardian neighbors. The Nardian Way holiday dinner tradition has been carried on by neighbors for 24 years.
The idea for the Christmas display came as the neighbors sat and chatted at the Nardian Way Fourth of July barbecue a few years back and has since become a holiday tradition to look forward to for the locals.
Thus far, the joint holiday decorating has not extended to other holidays beyond Christmas, though a few neighbors put in a strong Halloween effort as well.
“We are all very proud of the Rampens, the Johnstones and the Ronays for bringing much color and joy to our street,” says Adelman.