Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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EP commerce

Lots of changes on the commercial face of Echo Park recently. Some good, some not so funny, some unlisted. Here's a short few that have caught Chicken Corner's attention recently:

The fancy dogs will be happy to know about the grand opening of K9 Loft on Sunset Boulevard (near Wells Tile) this saturday. On-leash excursions to Echo Park, full boutique services, golf (just kidding).

A new micro art gallery called Birdcage, or something like it, on Echo Park Ave. at Scott. The gallerist whom I met -- he was sitting in front about a week ago -- said they keep Echo Park gallery hours: Thurs to Sun, 1 p.m. to later, said he would be sure to keep the hours. It had small sculptures that looked like cars on wheels.

A secret-looking barber shop farther north (from Birdcage) on Echo Park Ave. in the space that once was occupied by Kill City Choppers. Big roll-down door halfway rolled up, glass doors propped open just enough that if you're passing you can see inside to where people said they were cutting hair, and, yes, they were. No sign of course.

A new design studio on Echo Park Ave. where the sign remains for Vega's Carniceria. Some of us are old enough to remember when Vega's was open to sell candy and meats. The new studio is just an office right now, but, sleek and spiffy, it looks like a gallery with a display of an odd-looking bicycle and skyscraper chairs in the window.

Otherwise, business as usual? Guys with EP gang tattoes hanging out on Echo Park Ave. talking money into cell phones. Bald heads. One of them listens to country music in his car.

I used to buy a bag of fruit from the vendor(s) at Sunset and Echo Park Ave. A particularly satisfying addiction, the taste of pineapple, canteloupe, cucumber, jicama, salt and cayenne and some lime. They used to change $2. Suddenly, it's $5. I'm not saying it isn't worth $5 (though maybe it's not), but I couldn't stomach the price change -- and I suspect it may not be universal.

Shoe shine: I saw an elderly man, the kind of man who looks 80 when he's 50, sitting next to his shoeshine set up. Everything in shoe boxes and a little stool. He sat on a chair, sleeping, with his head supported (if that's the word) somehow by the side of the public phone dome.

Antique row is for sale. On Sunset, west of Alvarado. More on this to come. The shop owners are reportedly existing in a state of we-may-not-behere.... The row of low-slung brown brick storefronts ought to be protected.

Still waiting to find out how the sale of Jensen's apartments and storefronts building -- an Echo park landmark -- will affect both commerical and residential tenants. Last time I peeked into the window of the pawn shop it was heavy on power tools.

Still waiting for Prado to become a wine bar.

Not business-related but worth relating: Chicken Corner saw the following on Sunset and Echo Park Ave., the commercial hub of the neighborhood: a young (either Asian or Latino or both) skateboard dude, rolling across the street in the crosswalk, smoking a cigar.

New gallery sign for a gallery (I think) called Grotesque (Echo Park Ave. and Duane). During the Lotus Fest taggers hit it. Their message: "No more bad art." By the time we walked back from the festival, the offending marks had been painted over. Central City Action Committee to the rescue?

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