While the wind storm last night didn’t exactly do any damage to our rental property, we struggled to sleep most of the night, worried the roof was going to blow off, or the windows were going to explode, or something was going to come tearing down Sargent and Scott into the new care.

The “my roof is going to blow off” worrying aside, the incredibly bursts of wind versus crappy rental windows, doors, and overall framework was borderline frightening. And it ain’t over yet – high winds will spur up again early tonight through Friday morning, with 60-80 mpg gusts in the mountains and coastal areas. 40,000 residents are estimated without power in the eastside, Atwater Village, and other neighborhoods in northeast LA, and while we’ve got power at home there’s no Time Warner cable or Internet (how are we going to live?!).

Delilah Bakery's new overhand took a beating

Pictures are popping up all over the social media networks, with businesses and residential homes sustaining quite a bit of damage. Delilah Bakery’s new patio awning took a tumble, but they are still open today. Masa Bakery & Cafe lost its sign last night, thankfully not landing on anyone outside the restaurant after dinnertime (the sign is carefully tucked away behind the restaurant, but don’t think Masa has closed down as it’s still open for business!). Just don’t go to Griffith Park – these crazy Santa Ana’s closed down the park due to fire danger.

Don't let the missing sign confuse you - Masa is still open!

Twitpic via lagueratamalera

Related articles:

Eastside gets windwhipped. The Eastsider LA, December 1, 2011.

High winds give scare to Echo Park residents in 100-year-old home. LA Now, December 1, 2011.

Windburn in Atwater Village: Palm frond-ocalypse. Atwater Village Now, December 1, 2011.

Photo from Above The Lake blog

We’re a few months into the Echo Park Lake rehab project, but besides the torn up sidewalks and construction vehicles, you wouldn’t really be able to tell the lake had been drained after the recent heavy rains. In addition to a few photos by Angelino Heights resident Steve (who took the above photo and posted it on his blog, Above The Lake), we have the official list from the city of what (and how many) was found in the lake after the draining. We’re not really surprised they found a couple of guns, but a telephone booth?! Check out the list below:

Park Trash Cans – 20
Construction cones – 36
Shopping Carts – 7
Portable Stereos/Boombox – 3
Pay Telephone – 1
Skateboard – 6
Parking Enforcement Boot – 1
Toilet – 1
Glass bottles – Hundreds
Model Boat – 2
Frisbee – 20
Weapons (guns) – 2
Office Chair – 6
Miscellaneous toys, Trash, Debris – Hundreds

Of course you can’t count every single thing, and once they start dredging the lake, they’ll probably find more items in the muck.

Check out more photos of the Echo Park Lake rehab project on our Flickr set.

Shandu One sculpts amongst his favorite graffiti pieces in La Fonderie

This weekend, the community along with the Echo Park Improvement Association (which I am a member of) will start a major cleanup of Glendale Boulevard, an almost blighted entryway to our beautiful Echo Park neighborhood. Throughout the planning process, we’ve been slowly discovering these amazing businesses located along the thoroughfare that you would honestly never know existed. Forget the recycling centers, empty lots, and graffiti-covered buildings. Here we are lucky to have places like La Fonderie located in Keystone Studios, an exciting world of LA’s best artists inside a huge brick building on Glendale Boulevard.

You probably recognize the building on Glendale Boulevard by the big graffiti/mural by JR (now infamous in Echo Park). But I got the idea for this article from friend, real estate agent, and EPIA chairperson Darren Hubert. He and Josh Post – the Echo Park resident who started and organized the Glendale Boulevard cleanup – visited as many businesses as possible one day, hoping to encourage everyone to contribute to the day of cleanup. Granted, I had read about the art space in a The Eastsider LA article when it first opened in June of 2009, but I really had no idea what was really going on these days.

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Photo by Arturo Rivera

This awesome photo was emailed to us by Arturo Rivera, taken from a rooftop in Echo Park. Nice view from up there!

Photo by Steven Nereo, published on The Eastsider LA

With all the photos of the Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project seen all over twitter, local blogs, and news sites, this is a first!

The Eastsider LA published a photo last week by Steven Noreo, who took the shot from a helicopter high up in the air. You can see some of the lime placed by construction workers to mask the smell of rotting fish (those that didn’t make it) and sediment.

Our photos aren’t as cool as this one, but we do have a Flickr set that we’re adding to as the project progresses.

We are already anxious to have the lake back

The photography of Echo Park resident Martin Cox will be celebrated at an Echo Park framing shop on Sunset Boulevard tomorrow, October 1, 2011. The art opening, titled Summer Navigation: Passage though the pastoral (an 18th century English machine in the modern era), will display some of Martin’s latest work and runs through November 5.

Enjoy some English tea and cookies (Martin is, after all, English), along with “cheese and crackers gromit.”

If you’re not familiar with this local photographer – well you’re missing out on some of the loveliest images of Echo Park and Echo Park Lake out there (I have a postcard on my fridge!). Martin also currently has an exhibit nearby at a Silver Lake/Echo Park gallery displaying his images of Echo Park and Los Angeles through November 2.

Summer Navigation: Passage though the pastoral
Aaron Ballard’s Framing & Gallery
1568 W. Sunset Boulevard
Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Exhibit runs through November 5, 2011

Echo Park resident and photographer Martin Cox has taken some pretty stellar images of our neighborhood lake over the years, and now he’s sharing it with us all! Through November 2, you can check out his gallery of images in a show titled “Perfect Echo” at a Silver Lake gallery. According to The Eastsider LA, along with other Los Angeles neighborhood images, the exhibit will display the beautiful Echo Park Lake juxtaposed with sullen images like sunken shopping carts. While the show opened in early September, you still have time to check it out!

The Gallery is located at 3517 West Sunset at the Silver Lake/Echo Park border (enter through Dustmuffin)

1984 draining, via Gloria Sohaki and The Eastsider LA

Despite all the negative aspects of the Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project (the length of closure, the loss of a park, the sights and smells of the construction process), it’s fascinating to witness how thoroughly documented this entire process is. A lot of in-depth research online (we are limited… we admit) brings up little photographic evidence from past lake drainings prior to the 1980s, but we were excited to see images on a recent The Eastsider LA article displaying a very empty lake bed during the draining prior to the 1984 Olympics. Not only had the story’s contributor Rory Mitchel dug deep into the LA Times and Los Angeles City records, but Echo Park resident Gloria Sohaki had also contributed these photos from that last draining.


Photo by Conor Collins, uploaded today

Additionally, every day it seems there are more images of the status of the Echo Park Lake draining – this one today from a resident with a higher up view, and a whole website of daily images documented by resident Conor Collins. Add in the hundreds of tweets we’ve seen since the start of the lake rehabilitation project in August, and a webcam on EchoParkLake.com capturing hundreds of images every day, and we’ve got stellar documentation of the draining for the history books.

We’ve also been keeping a close eye on things, uploading photos to our Flickr page, and even joined up with the Odor Monitoring Committee to help with the process. In October we’ll learn about all the things they’ve find in the lake, so stay tuned!

Want to contribute? Feel free to share your photos on our Facebook page!

Click here for the full map (PDF)

In case you’ve missed it, there are not only covered fences up around Echo Park Lake, but it’s also looking a bit… lower now. That’s because the rehabilitation project has finally (and sadly) begun – phase one of the draining having started at the end of August, pumping about eight feet of water out of the lake and into the storm drains.

The temporary pools have been installed, and with all the muck in the lake water already it seems the wildlife is taking advantage. The fish and other water wildlife (turtles, etc.) will be relocated once the lake has been drained a few feet (supervised by a wildlife biologist), after which the lake will be completely drained and the Odor Monitoring Group will be called upon to monitor.

After a July 20, 2011 Echo Park Lake Rehab public meeting, a couple of improvements were made after residents spoke up:

  1. A portion of the sidewalk on the west side of the lake along Glendale Boulevard will be closed after residents complained the sidewalk was too narrow, and thus dangerous, for pedestrian use. They will install alternate route signs.
  2. Parking restrictions along Echo Park Avenue have been slightly relieved – instead of No Parking between 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, it’s 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Residents more recently pointed out that the parking isn’t even being used by construction workers. According to one resident, who contacted the project managers, the parking will be used by construction workers since the Lady of the Lake statue was removed (apparently she was in the way of construction access).

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The following video “LA Light” was created by Los Angeles native and photographer/videographer Colin Rich. It’s simply stunning!

A giant lobster sculpture isn’t exactly your typical “pizza place, enter here” type of signage, but what the heck – it’s Echo Park. Unfortunately for this lobster, which has taken up residence outside of Two Boots on Sunset Boulevard for some time now, not everyone appreciates its grandeur.

Last November, the sculpture appeared spic-and-span in the following photo:

Mr. Lobster, November 2010

Last night, it’s obvious there are few appendages missing. Perhaps the work of vandals? I suppose noone appreciates true art…

Mr. Lobster, present day

Poor lobster…

After a week-long vacation in the very humid east coast, we’re back in Echo Park and appreciating our wonderful neighborhood (and the weather) more and more. Inspired by fellow graphic designer and Echo Park resident Heather Parlato’s recent post of her favorite shots of Echo Park Lake, we went through our archives and chose our favorite photos of Echo Park for you to enjoy!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

The LA Times takes a close look at some of our favorite Los Angeles neighborhoods (including, of course, Echo Park!) in a video titled, “My LA: Four locals tell all about Echo Park, Griffith Park, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.”

Included in the video is Shannon Losorelli, store coordinator at 826LA’s Echo Park Time Travel Mart.

FYI, the video ends with a list of places mentioned in the video, including Masa. The restaurant’s website is listed incorrectly – make sure to go to masaofechopark.com if you’re interested…!

Echo Park Now reader Javier sent us this photo recently, writing: “Its hardly breaking news that Banksy has been running around the LA the last few days throwing up new pieces. But, is this stencil on the north side of Sunset Bridge on Glendale Blvd part of his Spring 2011 beautification campaign!?!”

‘Memba all that hubbub in early December when they were filming at the Sunset Bridge on Glendale Blvd. for Avril Lavigne’s music video? Well this was quick – it’s out!

The vintage shop they go into, I believe, is the one on Sunset Blvd. just by the bridge. And then, of course, they move to The Echo!