Taggers compete with Jane Fonda and Raymond Chandler for space on an Echo Park stairway

ECHO PARK — The Crosby Stairs have long been a popular target for taggers, who have left their markings on the concrete steps, metal hand rails and even nearby tree trunks. But the more than 80 steps that rise up from Laguna Avenue near Echo Park Lake are now covered in something else. Words. Lots of them, including  quotes from William Mulholland and Frank Lloyd Wright; lines from Raymond Chandler and John Fante novels;  movie dialogue from Jane Fonda;  fun facts about Los Angeles and pleas to keep the city clean.  While some might find the literary and historical L.A. references preferable to the usual tagging, some neighbors are not pleased.

Said one resident:

I think it’s hideous.  Although the stairway had some tagging and is often generally pretty trashy, the person who did this is just on some ego trip, obviously.  Frankly I’d worry about their safety – if the taggers find out their identity he/she might be in for some trouble. it’s one thing to paint out tagging… This is really tagging on top of someone else’s tag.  Whoever did this is pretty naive.”

Who ever is responsible began writing on the Crosby stairs about a week ago and has been adding to more lines and details ever since.  In Silver Lake, meanwhile, more poetry has been stamped on the Micheltorena Stairway in Silver Lake.  Will more stairway verses keep cropping up or will graffiti clean up crews have the last word?


  1. I think the person who did this thinks that this is somehow better than tagging. It is not. It shows the same lack of respect for others that taggers do.

    Want to be an artist? Do it on your OWN property!

    • the quotes are historical, insightful, literary. the eastsider chose to quote only the jerks who don’t want to engage and just want everything in echo park to turn into this: http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2014/03/the-new-look-of-echo-park-neighborhood-council-endorses-214-unit-residential-development/. i don’t know if the person who did this was the person who cleaned up the steps but all the crap is gone. these stairs were kind of gross before. i live near the stairs and everyone walking by lately has said how great they are (and how clean it is). pull it together, eastsider.

      • Right on, Jim!

      • jim,
        So, being against defacing of public property means that you are FOR mass development? Man get your head checked. Defacing public property is narcissistic behavior. It is anti-community and anti-social. It is assuming that everyone that comes in contact with it will like it or even worse that they should like it.

        We are in trouble as a society when ONE feels entitled to do what THEY want to do with OUR public space.

  2. Echo Park resident

    Vandalism is still vandalism! If you don’t have permission to paint your “art,” your mural, your tag on a piece of property, then you’re breaking the law!

    Also, this is pretty unsightly. I’m all for public art, but this is plain bad and inconsiderate.

  3. longtime echo park resident

    i think it’s beautiful. the quotes are great. it IS better than tagging. someone is contributing. are you?

    • @longtime

      Yes I am contributing. I pick up trash from my local stairs and Echo Park Lake every day. I am REMOVING BLIGHT not ADDING TO THE PROBLEM!

      This is contributing the same way taggers contribute. STOP DEFACING PUBLIC PROPERTY!!!

  4. I love it!!

    You people are no fun.

  5. all true, but they’re still cleaner than they’ve been in years. no longer walking my dog through piles of trash. gotta give the vandal some credit for that.

    • If they took a lettering class it would be more atheistically pleasing. Words of wisdom written in a sloppy manner cancels out any beauty trying to be conveyed here. I say, step it up on those stairs!

      • In horrifying pastel pink and blue as well, and far, far too much of it. This definitely crosses the line between charming guerrilla art and just plain poor taste.

        • I couldn’t agree more with EP4ME and atomZ.. I have mixed feelings about marking up public property and I can see both sides of the argument. But if you are inclined to mark public space, for goodness sake, do it with style! As a sign painter, I find the sloppiness of the text totally unattractive. If the mark-maker had simply spent more time and produced something beautiful, I wouldn’t be writing this comment. .

  6. I live near the Crosby Stairs and have lived here for 15 years. Periodically over the years, myself as well as other neighbors and groups (like the Dream Center folks) have tackled the stairway – picking up trash, removing homeless encampments, sweeping, watering the wildflowers, taking away errant palm fronds. While the person painting may have cleaned some and perhaps the “art” is well intentioned, the fact that there is just MORE graffitti is unfortunate. It’s only a matter of time until taggers strike back and then what will we have – a big mess. Plus, the paint doesn’t even look like it’s quality paint and in a rainstorm will likely turn to a muddled mess. For those of you who think it’s nice, can you leave your address because I’d like to come and paint on the sidewalk outside your house.. I’m getting my chartreuse and vermillion paint cans out now!

  7. The quotes are food for thought. Stimulating ideas, not low-brained tagging.

  8. i am in the middle: I agree that while preferable to gang tags, it is still vandalism. it’s a public space and the public is divided on the issue, so it’s for the best if they don’t continue. gotta respect everyone, right?

    as for the art: I like it, like the concept and think it looks pretty cool. EXCEPT they did too much of it. overkill. would have been much more potent if there was only one phrase.

    • Exactly why it shouldn’t be done without permission on public property. At least if it were sanctioned there would be perimeters such as NO PAINT ON TREES. This should be obvious to everyone. Sad that it isn’t.

  9. I like the quotes but I would prefer they had been written in chalk; then they would be temporary.

  10. Those quotes are so bland.

  11. Echo Park native

    Leave me some room I want to tag !

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