On Sunday, July 4, I visited Echo Park Lake briefly, on the heels of Thursday's Echo Park Improvement Association meeting at which strategies for ending the swap meet were discussed. It was a brief visit at about 4 pm. I had to be at the airport at 5:15 to pick up my husband and daughter who'd been visiting in Michigan. What I saw: the market had spread well beyond the boat house, almost to the southern end of the east side of the park. I also saw numerous police officers, as had been promised by Senior Lead Officer Bobby Hill of the Northeast Division. If anyone had been planning to sell fireworks, they certainly had been foiled. My ambivalent opposition to the swap meet remained in place as I got back into my car.
But I was very today interested to hear the point of view of my neighbor and friend Angela Wood regarding the market.
Angela, who has lived in the neighborhood for at least 11 years, wrote:
Dear, Jenny, As a good friend I value your opinion about the controversy regarding Echo Park Lake. I took a walk down there on the 4th of July, in the heat, to see what it was "all about." I had had mixed feelings, having seen 6th street on the weekends lined with piles of clothes, toxic looking electronics and plastic toys, and also worrying that the negative response is somehow racist or classist since the majority of the people selling appear to be immigrants from "South of the Border."
I had a lovely time that day [July 4 at Echo Park Lake]. I snapped some photos, had some spanish conversation, walked around the lake picking up very little trash, stopped and did yoga in my favorite lake-side spot. I completed the circle near The Revolutionary Communist Party booth where I spoke to an activist about the revolution and Marxism. I smelled the yummy carnitas and steak cooking on the grill, and bought a piece of corn. I checked out what the people were selling. A lot of "junk" but some good, useful and eclectic things. I purchased 3 VHS tapes for 3 dollars, some old kids movies for my daughter. It was clearly the beginnings of what could become a nice little weekend market - it was well contained, neat, clean, colorful and friendly.