Hope this helps.
One reason it remains a "hidden" gem, in my opinion, is that the major artery leading into LSP take you down roads that are lined with cookie-cutter lower-quality housing with bars/cages - Johnston Ave. and eastern Pacific Ave. However, once you go only a couple blocks west of Johnston the housing stock changes dramatically. There are some really beautiful old buildings there between Maple and Communipaw.
We've spent a long time researching this, and have spent countless hours walking around the neighborhood. It's a friendly area, certainly not without its problems but I think one could have said the same about the Grove St. area several years back. There's a lot of development planned in the area (see the Lafayette section of http://www.thejcra.org), including the 18-acre Berry Lane Park, which will replace much of the industrial wasteland along Garfield/Communipaw.
It won't ever be an area to rival the beautiful rows of brownstones closer to downtown, but I think that years from now, this will be a very desirable area to live. That's why we're getting in now. Good luck!
Empire Realty Group
Not to say that this will happen here.. but you do not know. it is very close to NYC and the water. Make a smart choice. There aare some great buys in that area.