The small group of peddlers that once once occupied a strip of sidewalk and small corner of Echo Park Lake on Sundays has now become a major draw for vendors as well as shoppers. Today, the vendors at the Echo Park Lake Sunday swap meet and their wares – including clothes strung on ropes tied between trees and displayed on rolling racks – spilled down to the water and surrounded the boathouse and the statues of the Lady of the Lake and Jose Marti, according to photos posted on the Echo Elysian Forum. Malcom Schenot, who posted the photos, said:
“Our lovely (illegal) swap meet surrounding Echo Park Lake
has expanded for your shopping pleasure! The meet is now on the pathways into and around the lake itself. It’s expanding quickly, so get out there early to claim your space! I imagine by next Sunday a third of all the pathways will be occupied, and maybe we can have a contest to see who can predict how long it will take to fill up the whole park with people selling all that stuff. It should start drawing massive crowds soon, I’m sure. Bigger than the Lotus Festival, certainly; it’s only a matter of time.”
All sorts of efforts have failed to keep the swap meet under control, including a crack down promised by Councilman Eric Garcetti’s office, the installation of illegal “no vending” signs and a proposal to stage a community picnic to keep the vendors at bay. Meanwhile, in other neighborhoods, the city has made more progress in creating spaces and programs to allow peddlers and food vendors to sell their items without gobbling up public space. In Boyle Heights, Councilman Jose Huizar spearheaded the creation of an outdoor community market to deal with unpermitted food cart vendors.