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Old 01-13-2011, 09:19 PM
 
Location: W Hartford, CT
1,317 posts, read 2,022,946 times
Reputation: 739

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering, is anyone familiar with Echo Park, both the actual park and the neighborhood? I saw a movie where a few scenes were filmed in the park itself and it looked like a beautiful place. I could not belive how pristine it looked. Mind you, this was set in the 1930s when LA had about 500 people , but I was curious as to how this place is now. I have family in the SF Valley and thought next time I'm out there this might be a nice place to visit, providing it's safe. I told oneof my cousins I wanted to visit Griffith Park and he said not to cause he said it isn't the safest place. I don't know the area well, but isn't Echo Park near Dodger Stadium? I've been there before a few times and it seemed fine - at least during the day. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:53 PM
 
Location: USA
2,364 posts, read 1,576,869 times
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Echo Park has improved a lot the past 5-10 years. The hipsters started moving here when Silver Lake became too expensive for their trust funds. Now they are starting to gentrify Higland Park and nearby districts in NE LA.

I like Echo Park. There's some cool homes with lovely architecture, and some good mom & pop bars and restaurants. Some blocks are sketchy, but you can say that about almost every district in LA.

The "lake" is pretty cool too. I used to work production on quite a few films that were shot there.

Echo Park is very close to Dodger Stadium.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
749 posts, read 1,005,251 times
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Echo Park has ALWAYS attracted the creative, underground, and artistic types. In the early 1900's when the film business was just getting started in LA, there were MANY movies made in the area. Mack Sennett, the famous silent film pioneer, had a studio in Echo Park. Many silent comedies were filmed there including Laurel and Hardy films and Charlie Chaplin films.

Around the time of World War I the area was nicknamed "red hill" because of the concentration of political radicals that lived in the area. Woody Guthrie lived there in the 1930's for a while too. There was always a lot of political (left-leaning) activism in the community. Back in those days , despite the radical residents, it was pretty much a middle class community.

The area went into decline during the 1970's, 1980's, and into the early 1990's. However, there were still pockets of Echo Park that were still considered decent or good. But no question the area in those decades declined and gained a rep for gang activity. Granted, it was NEVER the epicenter of gang activity in LA. There was a movie called "Mi Vida Loca" released in the early 1990's that is quite a good movie and showcased the gang issues that were going on in Echo Park circa the early 1990's. [There was also a 1986 movie called "Echo Park" starring Tom Hulce (Amadeus fame) which documents Echo Park's more seedy days in the 1980's as a low rent district for struggling actors.]

By the very late 1990's, the LA economy was doing quite well and crime began to drop. Silverlake, a neighborhood next door, became a very popular area for musicians (famous and not so famous), artists, and evetually even young professionals. Echo Park began to change around 2000 as people got priced out of Silverlake. Moreover, the housing boom and the recognition that Echo Park has a charming housing stock attracted more and more people to the area.

I highly recommend you check out the "Angelino Heights" part of Echo Park next time you are in town. It is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you'll find in tact Victorian homes. Very beautifully restored over the past 20 years by urban pioneers, it is now a very desirable area. LA used to have more Victorians...but the wrecking balls laid them all to waste by the late 1960's. But Echo Park has really cleaned up in the last decade.....

Granted parts of Echo Park are still SOMEWHAT sketchy. But overall I would say it is pretty safe, esp. the parts "north" of the 101 Freeway (where the Echo Park lake is located). However, Angelino Heights is actually south of the 101 Freeway.

The Echo Park lake itself is a nice amenity but nothing really that special. Griffith Park is quite spectacular (and safe), esp on a clear day. Take a hike from the Griffith Observatory and see a beautiful view of the LA skyline, the Hollywood sign, and on a really clear day the Pacific Ocean. Griffith Observatory is also where "Rebel Without a Cause" was filmed and quite an interesting place to visit in its own right.

Last edited by BluSpark; 01-13-2011 at 11:02 PM..
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Mt Washington: NELA
1,156 posts, read 2,048,178 times
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Excellent recommendation to visit- the L.A. Conservancy conducts a walking tour that is well worth taking. I especially like the hitching posts in front of some houses.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:48 AM
 
1,881 posts, read 2,523,911 times
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Echo Park is the new Eagle Rock, with hipster gentrification taking root block by block. Which is really amazing considering the sad state of the local economy. I think a lot has to do with the huge decrease in gang violence that had previously marred the neighborhood & surrounding environs. Even 5 years ago I wouldn't walk alone at night.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:45 PM
 
Location: W Hartford, CT
1,317 posts, read 2,022,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokingGun View Post
Echo Park is the new Eagle Rock, with hipster gentrification taking root block by block. Which is really amazing considering the sad state of the local economy. I think a lot has to do with the huge decrease in gang violence that had previously marred the neighborhood & surrounding environs. Even 5 years ago I wouldn't walk alone at night.
Well, remember it's part of a major city. Same thing is happening in New York. In neighborhoods that only 5 years ago were no-go zones you're seeing it become yuppified. On the one hand that means a reduction in crime but on the other it sort of sterilizes and takes the soul of the area. Example: in lower Manhattan there's an area known as the Bowery that for decades was the hangout for drunks and bums (and street dealing). But it was also where you had this intellectual bohemain atmosphere that gave birth to people like beat poet Allen Ginsberg and was the site of CBGB, where the east coast punk scene thrived for over 30 years. Across the street from CBGB there used to be bars where they had open mic guitarists and poetry reading. Now thanks to gentrification you have Whole Foods and gourmet restaurants coming in where these other places used to be. And look, I like Whole Foods but I also like the fact that there's a place where there's a beatnik vibe, which they've lost sadly. IMO we shouldn't compromise the character of a neighborhood just to accommodate young rich people.

Anyway, I would love to visit the Echo Park area next time I'm in SoCal, as long as I don't have to worry about gettin' jumped or harassed by gangbangers. Looks like a beautiful place.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:54 PM
 
Location: West Hollywood
229 posts, read 341,437 times
Reputation: 174
If you're familiar with the Charmed TV series, the Halliwell Manor is also located in Echo Park. Pretty nice neighborhood to enjoy a walk in.
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