Tag Archive for: Los Angeles

We can now count on a the city’s Metro rail service until 2:00 am starting tonight, giving non-drivers and alcohol drinkers a chance to hang out and explore Los Angeles a bit longer.

The extended hours will keep trains running every 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights on the Red/Purple, Blue, Expo, Green, and Gold lines. Additionally, the Orange bus line will continue until 2:40 am.

This means us Echo Parkians can go dine in Hollywood and catch the train back to Union Station after 11:30 pm. Or even from Long Beach, Culver City, and Pasadena. Our favorite train ride takes us from the Chinatown Station near Echo Park and up to Pasadena, just down the street from our favorite pub, Lucky Baldwin, where they serve some really strong beer and driving is not an option.

Blogdowntown quoted councilman José Huizar, saying, “In Downtown Los Angeles, Metro’s extended Friday, Saturday evening hours will allow more customers to enjoy the many exciting late-night venues we offer, as well encourage more people to use public transportation.”

The late-night rail hours will run on a trial basis, and may continue indefinitely depending on ridership numbers.

Click here for more information about the routes on the Metro website.

Leftover gun parts at La Fonderie in Echo Park hat were used for the 2011 Peace Angels Project award

The fourth annual Gun Buyback Program takes place today at six locations across Los Angeles. Held the day before Mother’s Day each year, the program promises “no questions asked” for turning in guns in exchange for a gift card. Assault weapons are credited $200 worth of Visa or Ralphs gift cards; shotguns, rifles and handguns receive $100.

In past years, local art studio La Fonderie in Echo Park has participated in the program (along with other at-risk youth programs), helping kids melt down the guns from the buy-back program into a sculpture for the 2011 Peace Angels Project award.

The nearest drop-off location in Echo Park is at the LAFD Training Academy located at 1700 Stadium Way. The drop-off is happening today until 3:00 pm. Click here for a list of other locations.

Every ten years, the city takes a look at the borders of each district to ensure those commmunities are getting fair representation in the city. That’s the idea anyways – and that’s why we’re getting involved. There have been rumors about combining Echo Park into one council district instead of two – a very small but not forgotten portion of Echo Park is represented by CD1, which is Reyes’ district. The redistricting process could affect Echo Park, and it’s up to the members of the community to make sure any changes in the borders are in our best interest.

The commission in charge of redistricting is holding a series of public hearings where we can share our thoughts and opinions on the redistricting. As Echo Park residents, we should be attending both CD13 and CD1 meetings, which are on Saturday and Monday, respectively:

Council District 1
Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 11:00 am
St. Peter’s Italian Catholic Church
1039 N. Broadway 90012

Council District 13
Monday, January 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Los Angeles City College Theatre
855 N. Vermont Avenue 90029

Click here for the full schedule PDF, which includes all council districts and the meeting dates. Public comments can also be submitted ahead of time by downloading this PDF, and email the form to redistricting.lacity@lacity.org

You can also follow the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission on Facebook and Twitter.

h/t Cindy Marie Jenkins for keeping us informed!

We’ll see you tomorrow!

We choose not to glorify gang graffiti, so here's the kind of artwork we prefer. Flickr photo via KellyLA.

Once upon a time, there was little to no city-funded programs to help clean up graffiti in Echo Park. Residents and activists involved in the Echo Park Improvement Association (EPIA) would drive around with paint in the trunk of their cars to paint over any new graffiti on the spot. Other residents could join a $10 per month program that would help Central City Action Committee (CCAC) pay for graffiti removal on the weekends.

It’s been a while since those days, but a recent proposal from the Mayor’s office to cut funding to graffiti abatement program has a few people worried. How will crime, safety, and the quality of life be affected if the streets are covered in graffiti?

According to an LA Times article, the budget cut would save the city $1.5 million per year (out of a total of $7 million spent on eradicating graffiti city-wide). For Echo Park and the CCAC (which is one of 14 contractors in the city with the same directive), the cut would actually reduce our anti-graffiti forces by 50%. Right now the non-profit has six teams out there for around 20 Los Angeles neighborhoods from Highland Park to Venice. A 50% reduction would be drastic.

Opposition to the budget cut isn’t without reason – everyone is fully aware of the budget issues on our communities and our city. It’s about prioritizing, as we all know, and for most of us our safety and the overall quality of life is affected by graffiti. When those gang names are crossed out and written over by a competing group, it’s concerning. And if it stays up, the crime could worsen. It’s not a risk we’re willing to take.

“What happens once the graffiti starts going up,” said CCAC director MaryAnne Hayashi, “you would never catch up…. I really think it’s a quality of life issue. People really deserve to have a clean neighborhood.”

The good news is, the everyone seems to be rallying against the graffiti budget cuts, even Eric Garcetti of CD 13. Spokesperson Yusef Robb told us, to our relief, that Garcetti’s office was fighting the graffiti cutbacks. “When it comes to graffiti,” he said, “the return that we get in terms of quality of life as well as financially makes it a worthy investment.

And what an investment – CCAC removed 3.5 million square feet of graffiti in CD1 and one million from CD13.

Over the past five or six years, Garcetti’s anti-graffiti program UNTAG (Uniting Neighborhoods to Abolish Graffiti) has seen a 70% decrease in graffiti district-wide. The program recruits block captains to oversee and organize neighborhoods to report graffiti for city crews to then clean up. If the city cuts the anti-graffiti budget, the simple fact is there will be less money for painting over graffiti and revitalizing neighborhoods.

The best part about non-profits like the CCAC is that they don’t just paint a white block over the graffiti, they make it look good and maintain the beauty of the neighborhood. They also follow certain safety procedures for when they might feel threatened by removing gang graffiti.

While the programs may indeed see some cuts, we’re hoping far less that what’s being proposed. And hopefully we won’t have to drive around with paint in the trunk of the car.

You can help by writing to your Council District representative along with making sure graffiti is reported as soon as you see it. If you see graffiti, call 311, visit the anti-graffiti website at http://anti-graffiti.lacity.org, or use a 311 ap if you have an iPhone or Android phone.

If you’re available during the day to help support the graffiti abatement work, there’s a City Council meeting on the subject on Wednesday, January 12 at 10:00 am.

Parking regulations are a little different this week due to the holiday, so make sure you avoid getting a ticket from evil Santa. Street cleaning restrictions and other regulations on Christmas Eve (Friday) will remain as posted, but Saturday will get a little more relaxed as the city takes off Christmas Day.

Here’s the low-down from the LA City Department of Transportation, click the image below for the full PDF:

Bottom line: Park longer than that 1-2 hour time limit and don’t feed the meter (at most meters – look out for the “holidays excluded” signage).

Happy holidays!

Flickr photo via expatriotact

Even though I despise all the noise our trash trucks make, I love that Los Angeles is a leading city when it comes to recycling its trash. According to the Daily News, the city recycles 65 percent of its trash (9.2 million tons each year, residential and commercial pickup).

That’s a pretty decent number, compared to the national average of 32.7%. New York recycles 55%, Chicago 52%, and Houston has a ghastly low of 17%, according to the article. San Francisco leads the percentage pack, though a smaller city, with a high of 72%.

Keep recycling!

Photographer Eric Fischer was inspired by a Chicago map created by Bill Rankin that displayed the city’s racial and ethnic divides. He created maps of other cities like New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles using the same techniques Rankin did, applying date from the 2000 census. I took the Los Angeles map and zoomed in on the  Echo Park area. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot equals a total of 25 people. For some perspective, the little empty round area near the middle of the above graphic is Dodger Stadium.

You can check out the rest of the Los Angeles map by clicking here or on the image below. You’ll notice… there are a lot of white people on the west side!

I sure hope you guys like photo posts, because I can not get enough of the photos of Echo Park in the USC Digital Library. The collection is full of awesome old photos, and I highly suggest you check it out.

Today, we are going to take a little photographic tour of Chavez Ravine and the early years of Dodger Stadium.

"They're playing ball in Chavez Ravine, 1957"

The text that goes with this photo reads, “Some day the Los Angeles Dodgers hope to be playing ball where Mrs. Barden Scott is playing with her three children, Richmond, 5; Matthew, 3, and Valerie, 18 months. She figures that when the Dodgers build their fancy new ball park in Chavez Ravine home plate will be just about where her home is. But first the Dodgers will have to buy up her place and a few others scattered through the area. Mrs. Scott is willing to sell, but some other owners aren’t.”

"Aerial shot of Chavez Ravine and surrounding area, 1959"

An aerial view of Chavez Ravine just before construction began on Dodgers Stadium.

“Dodger stadium (Chavez Ravine), 1961”

“Chavez Ravine Dodgers ball park, 1961”

Photos of Dodgers Stadium being built.

“Dodgers plant first tree in Chavez Ravine, 1961”

The text that goes with this photo reads: “The Dodgers will plant the first tree in the Chavez Ravine ball-park landscaping on Thursday morning March 9 at 9:30 am. The tree will be an ash — baseball bats are made from ash. Present will be Dick Walsh, Dodger Vice President, a bat boy in a Dodger uniform with a ball bat and Mrs. Carolyn Patterson, Chairman of Plant a Tree Week.” I want to know where this tree is!

“Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine at night, June 1, 1962”

A night game at Dodgers Stadium less than two months after it opened on April 10, 1962.

LA Flea Market debuted on Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hey, Pasadena, we have a stadium too! And anything you can do we can do… sort of.

Sunday was the first ever Dodgers Stadium flea market, which will be held, barring a Dodgers home game, on the third Sunday of every month. However, if they hope to draw crowds of flea marketers to the parking lot, the organizers need to put a lot more effort into finding decent vendors a month from now. Or they could scrap the flea market and be a food truck party, in which case they would already be winning.

Parking was a breeze, I arrived at about 10:00 am hoping to beat the heat a little bit. The heat won regardless, but such is life when you’re hanging out in a Los Angeles parking lot in the throes of summer. There was a short walk to the ticket booth where I paid my $5 and received my ticket. You could pay with a card and there were the only two ATM machines at the ready, no sign noting these as your last chance for green as these were the last machines I spotted all day.

Not exactly on my list of quality Flea Market finds

Perhaps I have an East Coast bias when it comes to the age of vintage items, or maybe I was spoiled by the Pasadena City College flea market a few weeks ago. When I first walked into the LA Flea Market, I already felt this event was planned around food trucks, Rick Dees, and small business owners. Every fiber of my being routes for the small business to succeed, but today I also had hoped for a true flea market experience.

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Feeling in shape (or out of shape) these days? Maybe it’s your time to join your neighbors for a free two-day, 35 mile walk throughout Los Angeles from Saturday, June 12 through Sunday, June 13.

The Big Parade is a two-day walk through Los Angeles. It starts at the famous Angel’s Flight Stairs, downtown, and works its way west, through multiple neighborhoods, stopping at the famous Music Box Stairs in Silver Lake – named after Laurel & Hardy’s Oscar-winning 1932 short film – for an overnight campout. Then, we continue through the stairways of Silver Lake, on to the Franklin Hills and Los Feliz. We traverse Griffith Park, and then walk through the Beachwood Canyon/Hollywoodland neighborhood, all the way to the Hollywood Sign.

Anyone can come along – for an hour, a day, or the whole hike. The group had a couple of practice hikes at the end of May to get everyone geared up and in shape, but there may just be another one this weekend (June 5 or 6) before the big day. Visit The Big Parade website for more information on those practice hikes and the event.

We will post the route map as soon as the event organizers do (camping sites are also being finalized). For now, feel free to get yourself geared up on your own by taking a tour of some Echo Park stairways.

Click here to download the PDF flyer for the event.

“Are you an avid cyclist or looking to ride your bike more often?” Google Maps took a step in a more bike-friendly direction about a month ago when they added biking directions as a transportation option. One can both get directions for traveling via bike and view which streets are safest for cycling. The project is still in the beta phase, however, and the directions and the suggestions for the best biking streets are not definitive.

Click on the image above to view the interactive Google map

But, as you can see from the map above, Los Angeles is not exactly Amsterdam. The green lines translate as follows: a dark green line indicates a bike path with no cars, a light green line indicates a street with a bike lane and a dotted green line indicates a street without a bike lane but which is less busy and safer for cycling. Google Maps also takes into account changes in elevation and suggests routes that don’t feature very steep streets.

There are several other resources out there for fans of two-wheeled transportation:

  • LADOT has both a bike blog and a guide to biking in Los Angeles in PDF form that features rules, regulations and suggestions.
  • LA Metro has a guide to biking routes in LA (pdf).
  • Gmaps Pedometer is a great resource for cyclists who are also on a mission to burn calories. Just click on the map to create your own route. It will tell you how many miles you’ve traveled, how many calories you’ve burned (really?) and changes in elevation.
  • On the second Friday of every month (along with a variety of other rides throughout the month), Midnight Ridazz organizes a night-time bike ride throughout Los Angeles.
  • LA Streetsblog follows news and events in all things bike riding.
  • Echo Park Cycles is, you guessed it, a local bike shop where you can get new gear or a tune-up. Prices are reasonable and the staff friendly!

826LA has been donated a few 1981 Los Angeles Bicentennial Celebration posters, and are making them available to you in the store and on Ebay.

They have three 2′ x 3′ reproduction posters designed by post-surrealist painter Helen Lundeberg available on Ebay for a starting bid of $19.99 – so far I don’t think anyone has bid. According to their Facebook page, 825LA also has posters available for purchase in their store, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, which is located at 1714 Sunset Blvd.

826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. They offer tutoring for the kids Monday through Thursday from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. You can learn more about the program and their volunteer opportunities by visiting the 826LA website.


How is Los Angeles defined? Is it a city, a state of mind or an identity? Hollywood backdrop? What makes it unique? Or is the answer something altogether different? Los Angeles as a Character is a screening that will showcase narrative, experimental and documentary short films and videos with the city of Los Angeles as a peripheral or central, theme, backdrop or character. FILMMAKERS AND CURATOR CHARLES DORAN IN ATTENDANCE!

Click here for more information on films being shown.

Echo Park Film Center

1200 N. Alvarado (at Sunset)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

8:00 pm

$5.00 at the door

Echo Park residents beware! The LA Marathon will start at Dodger Stadium next year on March 10 and run through Echo Park and Silver Lake. Plan ahead (and hope parking near your home won’t be an issue)! Check out the map here (mile markers haven’t been added yet):

View 2010 LA Marathon Course in a larger map