The many facets of the Echo Park Lake swap meet

Picnickers and swap meet vendors

In the past month or so, we have received letters from residents commenting on the weekend swap meet surrounding the Echo Park Lake. Other community blogs have highlighted similar complaints and comments about the legality (or illegality) of the swap meets. We thought we’d take this opportunity to break down some of the issues that have come up in letters to us, other news blogs, and recent community meetings.


  • From fellow Echo Park resident Marysa: “ I just got back from running in Echo Park for the first time in a month and realized why I have been unable to park anywhere near my Logan St. apartment on Sundays. The half-baked swap meet that was on Park has now exploded down to the light house on Echo Park.  I can dig that people are trying to make a buck but I think it’s ruining the peace of being there. All jokes about the park aside, there is a large number of people I see on a regular basis who use the park for healthy purposes. It’s a shame to see our park get taken over by commerce.” Parking around the lake has been a frustration, especially as residents like Marysa have to fight crowds to park on her own street in front of her own house.  One suggestion has been to issue Parking Permits to people that live around the lake. However, this process can take a couple of years and a LOT of community organization (efforts the past few years surrounding Dodger Stadium are a good example of this).


  • In addition to the parking problems, some residents feel the Park is being overcrowded because the swap meet has expanded so far along the park edges. It is indeed a little difficult to navigate through the north-east portion of the lake. Just last weekend vendors were stretched along nearly the entire north side and along the east side just past the boat house. As Andrew Garsten, EPIA Chair of the Neighborhood Issues Committee, wrote in the latest EPIAn Ways newsletter, the swap meet is “displacing any possibility of using huge sections of the park for normal use like a quiet stroll or a picnic.” For residents like Mr. Garsten, the issue is really about people who live in Echo Park who don’t have the luxury of a back yard and who use the Lake because they need the park.


  • It’s not necessarily easy to pinpoint whether or not the trash left behind is from the swap meet itself or just the normal weekend picnickers, but residents have complained about a large amount of debris being left behind on Sundays after the last vendors leave their posts. Either way, it seems that the city Parks and Rec are responsible for the cleanup.

Legal or illegal?

  • According to the article “Unpermitted Flea Market” by Garsten in the latest EPIAn Ways newsletter, “the city can no longer enforce anywhere the prohibition of commercial selling in public places.” Therefore, the swap meet is pretty much legal. The EPIA is currently investigating ways the community can get the city or even the state to become involved in the neighborhood’s concerns, however the general feeling is that the city is unwilling to take action. The city was even supposed to “crack down” on the swap meet in October 2009, according to an Eastsider article.

Is this a race issue?

  • Said an anonymous commenter on an Eastsider post, “The issue of race is being discussed because the only complainers are white, more upwardly mobile generally newcomers now feeling so entitled that they are willing to drop the dime and start a moan fest about people making a living.” We also received a letter written to the EPIA by new Echo Park resident Matt Wade, who argues that Mr. Garsten’s EPIAn article (mentioned above) is racist and classist because the swap meet consists of poor Latinos. “The idea that in this enormous park, once a week, the flea market makes the northeast corner unusable for ‘normal use like a quiet stroll or a picnic’ conjures the image of only one ethnicity: Caucasians. Don’t forget your Golden Retriever.  Many marketgoers also bring or buy food at the flea market.  Some spread out blankets and eat with their families. That’s a picnic. But it’s not a White picnic, so I understand the anxiety of Mr. Garsten. His presumptive sense of entitlement to the park land for White land use is, well, White,” he writes.

Author’s note: While it’s important to be sensitive to racism issues, I get the sense that community activists like Mr. Garsten and other community members are not intentionally (or even unintentionally) being racist. While researching this issue, we have yet to come across any specific comments or opinions (and hopefully never will) that the swap meet should be dissolved because of the low-income Latinos that occupy it.

When police or other uniformed officers show up:

  • Who wants a band of uniformed officers tossing merchandise and food in the trash? Whether or not it’s legal or illegal for the vendors to sell, it’s a bit of a disproportionate reaction when that happens, as the Eastsider reported in a recent article. And with the proposed creation of the Echo Park Business Improvement District (BID), the “rent-a-cops” might end up be the ones patrolling the lake. According to the BID proposal, “A key feature of the Echo Park Business Improvement District shall be the dedicated safety patrol. A team of readily identifiable officers whose presence conveys safety and who shall work closely with the police and city officials on critical quality of life issues within the district.” Those “critical issues” involve: “panhandling, itinerant vendors, graffiti, public intoxication.” There seems to be still a lot of work ahead for the BID to take effect, so it’s unlikely this will be an immediate solution.

Alternatives for vendors:

  • LACC is an option for vendors, however it does require that vendors obtain a California State Resale Permit. According to the LACC website, the permit is free.  The flea market takes place both on Saturdays and Sundays.

Who to contact with questions or concerns?

  • You can contact Council President Eric Garcetti at
  • Call 611: the “general police” are supposed to respond, although to be honest they probably won’t and it’s unclear whether or not they can do anything at all.

While community members are looking for more immediate solutions to the swap meet, the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation project might just solve it all next year, as construction is slated to begin in April 2011, closing the entire park (sidewalks and all) for two years. Check back later for updates on that project.

We will continue to post meeting times and, when available, meeting agendas for all the local community meetings where you can get involved; you can also check our calendar to plan ahead.

794 replies
« Older Comments
  1. Natacha Sundstrom says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this issue here on your web page.

  2. coconut oil a says:

    Somebody necessarily assist to make seriously posts I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now?
    I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up extraordinary.
    Fantastic activity!

  3. coconut oil with says:

    Its like you learn my mind! You appear to understand a lot approximately this,
    such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I think
    that you can do with some p.c. to pressure the
    message house a little bit, but other than that, that is great blog.

    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  4. Florentino Turek says:

    This is the perfect webpage for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been written about for years. Great stuff, just excellent.

  5. quest bars cheap says:

    I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading incredibly slow
    for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it
    a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see
    if the problem still exists.

  6. quest bars cheap says:

    Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation;
    many of us have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange strategies with other folks, please
    shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  7. Jewel says:

    Want to detailed introductory course in creative writing-novel,short story,even plays and screenplays. Written before but not published and no formal training..

  8. coconut oil says:

    Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However think of if you added
    some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this
    website could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its
    niche. Superb blog!

  9. sling tv says:

    I take pleasure in, cause I found exactly what I
    was looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  10. Todd Snively says:

    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What a great web site.

  11. Laine Gaumer says:

    I found your blog website on google and also check a few of your early messages. Remain to maintain the great run. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Seeking onward to reading more from you in the future!?

  12. Elijah Milles says:

    I?m impressed, I must state. Truly hardly ever do I encounter a blog site that?s both educative as well as entertaining, and let me tell you, you have struck the nail on the head. Your idea is impressive; the problem is something that inadequate people are speaking intelligently about. I am extremely delighted that I stumbled across this in my look for something associating with this.

  13. arts & culture says:

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  14. cat adoption says:

    Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  15. cheap plane tickets says:

    Usually I don’t read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite great post.

  16. yoga online says:

    Great web site. Lots of useful info here. I¡¦m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you in your sweat!

  17. medicine says:

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  18. healthy food says:

    I have been browsing online greater than three hours today, but I never found any fascinating article like yours. It¡¦s lovely price enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you probably did, the net will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

  19. healthy lifestyle says:

    I simply needed to thank you so much once more. I do not know the things I would have created without those tactics shown by you about my area. Certainly was a very fearsome concern in my position, nevertheless understanding the specialised way you processed the issue forced me to leap with joy. I am happier for the service and as well , expect you know what an amazing job your are putting in training the others through a web site. Probably you have never encountered any of us.

  20. tier and velg says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I’m hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me to get my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it.

  21. buy viagra in kochi says:

    I?m impressed, I have to say. Truly rarely do I experience a blog site that?s both informative and also entertaining, and also let me inform you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is exceptional; the problem is something that not nearly enough people are speaking smartly around. I am very delighted that I came across this in my look for something connecting to this.

  22. Rosalia Larrier says:

    Hola Barry, lo creas o no, sé exactamente lo que quieres decir sobre sus marcas de agua – me encuentro con frecuencia con sus imágenes para usarlas en mis sitios … sólo para encontrar que están llenas de marcas de agua! 

« Older Comments

Comments are closed.