At about 11 a.m. this morning, I rolled past the northwest corner of Echo Park Ave. and Sunset. There was no fruit cart. Instead, there was an empty shopping cart, casting a shadow onto the 4-foot-ish cinderblock wall that encloses the parking lot. There was silver-painted graffiti -- crazys, the name of an Echo Park gang. Otherwise everything looked as usual as could be. No outward sign -- like a split pineapple rotting on the ground -- of last week's rousting of fruit vendors by police and what seemed to be city subcontractors, who behaved like thugs, according to an account emailed to me by a friend. In response to my post about the scene in which the vendors' goods were confiscated, a couple of readers who asked not to be named told me that local organized criminals tax the fruit sellers in this area. One reader guessed this might be why the nopalito vendor was crying and shaking -- because, with her product hauled away, she wouldn't be able to earn the money to pay the other authorities.
(Yesterday, at 2:30 p.m., there also was no fruit cart at the corner. But there was a guy with boxed fruit across the street, and there was a fruit cart in its usual spot near the public parking lot behind the south-side Sunset Blvd. shops. This morning, that fruit cart was there was well.)
Here's a snapshot of last Thursday's police action as it wrapped up at Echo Park Ave. and Sunset.
Bye, fruit cart. Thursday, November 6, 2008.
*Today, 3 p.m. The fruit cart is back at the corner of EP Ave and Sunset.