Movie Night at Echo Park Lake

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Please join Council District 13, the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Echo Park Historical Society for a free screening of the classic Hollywood film “Sunset Blvd.” compliments of Paramount Pictures.

The Echo Park Film Center will start the evening with a few of their student shorts and then the feature production.

Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and chairs, and enjoy the movie under the stars by the magical Echo Park Lake.


Echo Park Lake Lotus Festival is back!

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This is very exciting for Echo Park… the Lotus Festival has returned!

The 34th Lotus Festival takes place this weekend, July 12 and 13. This year’s host country is the Philippines.

This is not only the first year since the park was closed and renovated, it’s been a few years since there have been actual Lotus flowers blossoming at the lake. There will also be the return of the Dragon Boat races, as well as some delicious food, entertainment, performances, music and dancing.

To kick off the festivities, Council District 13 is hosting Echo Park Night on Friday, July 11 with a film screening and live music. Picnic baskets and blankets encouraged!

Opening ceremony for the festival starts at noon on Saturday, July 12. Check back on this post for schedule updates as we get them!

UPDATE: Lotus Festival Schedule after the jump!

Echo Park Night at the Lotus Festival  10372972_10152087444751277_3429644353491145789_o

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Echo Park Lake Christmas Bird Count on Sunday

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Join fellow bird lovers on Sunday, December 29 for the annual Christmas Bird Count at Echo Park Lake!

Bird lovers in Echo Park have identified over 70 species of birds over the last ten years. You can expect to find species such as mallards, great-tailed grackles, robins, American coots, sparrows, finches, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, green herons, blackbirds, hawks and various gulls and doves, and more.

Beginning birders, including children, are welcome to the free bird walk. Binoculars are strongly recommended along with a bird guide if you have one.

Meet at the Boathouse at 8:00 am for the two-hour count.

Following the Echo Park Lake bird count, at about 11:00 am, is the Vista Hermosa bird count. Vista Hermosa is a small park just a little west of downtown Los Angeles. Meet at the parking lot at 100 Toluca Street, just north of First Street. Time about 1.5 hours. Terrain mostly level, some slight elevation.


Outdoor yoga classes at Echo Park Lake starting Sunday

Echo Park resident Steven Arcos is bringing outdoor yoga classes to Echo Park Lake starting this Sunday, August 4.

Yoga Echo Park (aka YEP) is starting with Sunday and Wednesday classes, with more that may be added soon. According to founder Steven, here’s what you can expect:

YEP is Echo Park’s community outdoor yoga group! We are local certified yoga instructors looking to share the benefits of yoga. We come together for about an hour for a fun and challenging vinyasa flow hatha yoga class. Experienced yogis and newcomers welcome.

If you’re interested, drop by the northeast corner of the Lake (Echo Park Avenue and Park Avenue) on Sundays at 10:00 an and Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. A $5 cash donation is encouraged. Bring a mat, towel, water, and “positive intentions.”

For more information, visit the Meetup page, or email founder Steven Arcos at skarcosjr@gmail.com.


Take a ride on the waters of Echo Park Lake

The pedal boats are back in business on Echo Park Lake! It’s been around four years since the city shut down pedal boat operations at the Boathouse due to budget cuts. Yesterday the operators of the pedal boats, Echo Park Lake Pedal Boats, Canoe & Gondola, greeted lines of people renting the bright yellow boats on the newly renovated Echo Park Lake.

The boating company is operating on a 90 day pilot program for the summer, after which the city will review whether or not it was successful. The cafe vendor will also operate under the same trial period – Square One Dining is expected to start serving on August 1.

Cost is $5 per child and $10 per adult for both the pedal boats (up to one hour) and canoe rides (the latter includes two laps around the lake with a guide). A gondola ride sounds like a nice date night – a half hour for one couple will cost you $50.

Wednesdays will be a great day to head down and rent a pedal boat – called “90026 day,” local residents can rent a pedal boat for just $10.

Hours right now are Monday through Friday, 11:00 am-7:00 pm, and weekends open at 9:00 am until 30 minutes before sunset. We imagine hours will fluctuate depending on the season.

The menu for the cafe has not yet been released, but according to The Eastsider LA will include “park fare” such as hamburgers, hot dogs, juices, and brunch items. Currently the sample menu on the Square One Dining website looks pretty delicious – gourmet cold and hot sandwiches, salads, soups, and more. Hopefully the price tag at the new Echo Park Lake Boathouse won’t reflect that menu – the cheapest lunch sandwich is listed at a whopping $10.50.


Pedal Boats may be back in Echo Park Lake soon!

Flickr photo via atezrm

While the city has not yet released the list of food vendors being considered for the recently rehabbed Echo Park Lake boathouse, one thing looks good depending on how the paperwork goes – the pedal boats may be back by the beginning of August.

A Facebook page by the name of Echo Park Lake Pedal Boats Canoe & Gondola claims they are in the process of finishing up some paperwork to be the official vendors of the boats. A recent status posted on the page states:

We have had to close our Atascadero Lake site due to lack of water for the rest of 2013 so all of our safety gear and pedal boats are available for Echo Park. We are currently in the paperwork/permit process for Echo Lake. It is a lot more involved than expected, for example contract and compliance papers come to over 120 pages. City staff has been great in helping us wade through it all. Current hang up is trying to get our existing 1 million insurance for water craft upped to the required 2 million. Stay tuned…..

From what we remember before they shut the pedal boats down a few years ago, it cost about $10 per hour (per person!) to rent. We haven’t confirmed how much the rentals will be once things are up and running again, but the Atascadero Lake location mentioned above appears to be about the same.

Will you be first in line to rent pedal boats on Echo Park Lake?


Third gun among list of items found in Echo Park Lake

Image via The Eastsider LA

In November 2011, we published the list of items found at the bottom of Echo Park Lake. Of the various items beyond the usual toys, trash and debris there were skateboards, office chairs, shopping carts and even a pay telephone. But the two guns, a hand gun and a rifle, were items of interest as the public pondered over what they would find in relation to criminal activities that the lake was once notorious for.

But after a recent article published by Los Angeles Magazine, which states there were a total of three guns found in the sludge, we got curious. A representative from the Bureau of Engineering confirmed that there was indeed a third gun found later on – a gun that was so rusted (like the others) that is was not “considered to be useful for any investigations” by the LAPD.

It had been since the 1984 Olympics that Echo Park Lake was last drained and dredged, leaving many to ponder the items that sank to the bottom of the lake. Despite that cleaning, even an 1880s-era wagon wheel was found in this last cleanup, and many of us all wondered what else was under there. No dead bodies, just three guns, a parking enforcement booth, a toil, and lonely 20 frisbees.

Now that the lake is all filled up, Saturday morning is the grand opening after a year and a half of construction. Make your way to the corner of Park and Logan at 10:00 am for the festivities!


You’re invited: Grand opening of Echo Park Lake

More exciting news about Echo Park Lake – the official grand opening is happening this weekend on Saturday, June 15.

On Saturday the crew will start removing the fence that has encircled the lake during the past year and half of construction. While it will take a few days to have the fence fully removed, there will be a full day of celebration hosted by Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti, the Department of Rec and Parks and the Bureau of Engineering for the Lake’s reopening ceremonies.

Featured speakers and performers will gather at the corner of Logan Street and Park Avenue just before 10:00 am.

Several businesses in the area of taking advantage of the opening with some great specials and celebrations – like Lot 1 Cafe’s “love & lotus – a free day/night of music” ($2 PBRs and bottomless mimosas!).

Also read: 5 awesome things about the new Echo Park Lake


Five awesome things about the new Echo Park Lake

Earlier this month, we shared some excellent news on Twitter and FacebookEcho Park Lake will be officially and finally opening to the public on June 15! Although this is about a month later than we expected, the project is on time and under budget at $45 million (originally $85 million).

At a news conference/media preview of the lake earlier this month, elected officials and project heads shared thoughts on the project: “This has been an iconic setting for film, for literature, for art, for countless movies,” said L.A. mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti. “And like the surrounding neighborhood the park has fallen on some tough times. But the true beauty of Echo Park is reflected not just Echo Park itself, this lake, but the entire community here today.”

When the gates do open at Echo Park Lake on June 15, we think everyone will like the changes. Here are our top five favorite things about the new Echo Park Lake:

 1) The new Lotus bed

The Lotus bed is back in its original location

Back in its original spot, the Lotus bed started getting greener just last month when the Lotus leaves popped up above the water level. While the netting will remain over the plants for about a year to prevent birds from eating all the new plants, the Lotus blossoms have started to bloom, about a year ahead of schedule!

2) The Boathouse will be back

As soon as the city decides on what vendor to bring in (we vote for Homegirl Cafe!!), the boathouse will not only be a fully operating kitchen, it will also support the peddle boats once again! At next year’s Lotus Festival, the dragon boats will also launch off of the Boathouse’s deck.

3) The Boardwalks/Observation decks

There are two boardwalk-style structures around the lake that act as observation decks – one on the north end is a large wooden deck overlooking wetlands, the other on the West end is a concrete deck. Both have benches and some signage on the information of the lake, and are definitely going to be the coveted spots to chill.

Boardwalk on the North end of the Lake

Boardwalk on the West end of the Lake

4) The birds return!

Bird protecting its nest!

Although the number of birds declined at last December’s bird count, over the years there have been over 70 species of birds counted at the lake. Now that there is plenty of water and potentially lots of food, we expect a number of them to return – in fact at the media preview this month, we spied one with its next just at the shore!

5) The Festivals

The number one question we get asked every year is when the Lotus Festival and when the Cuban Music Festival will be celebrated at the Lake. Unfortunately this year there will be no festivals as the new sod needs some time to establish. But next year we can count on the famous dragon boat races and more!

Lotus Festival in 2011

Want to see more photos of the Lake? Click here to visit our Facebook album.

See you at the grand opening at June 15!


Dog park coming to Echo Park Lake adjacent lot… or is it?

Photo courtesy of Josh Anderson

According to some flyers and a new banner posted at a vacant lot near Echo Park Lake, the neighborhood is getting a dog park. Mayyyyybe.

A quick call to the community relations office of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, which is clearly listed on the banner in the photo above, and it turns out they are not putting up a dog park on Echo Park Avenue near Laguna Avenue, or anywhere for that matter.

“The idea had been floated at one time,” said Canon for Community Relations Bob Williams, “but the Diocese has no intention of putting in a dog park.”

So who is really behind the “Coming soon” banners and flyers?


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