Friends and neighbors, better get out to Echo Park Lake this weekend, eat a churro and feed the ducks, as the gates are going up. Our neighborhoods smelliest, prettiest spot is getting locked up on July 11th. The City is gonna shut the lake down for the next two years, which by city standards, is short for five years. Built in the 1890’s, the lake was originally intended as a reservoir for drinking water. Just the thought of it makes me want to crawl into a Banta for shelter in the desert. Clearly, pun intended, the water is not suitable for drinking, and I too have heard the urban legends of bodies being dumped in the lake, but plenty of life is living there.

There are hundreds if not thousands of red eared sliders in the lake. Just look at this little guy gettin’ his sun on, does he look upset that occasionally when you’re downwind it smells like ass? Nah, he’s busy being stoked on the lake. If you go at sunset, it looks like there are hundreds of twigs sticking one inch out of the water, but they’re actually turtles catching the final rays. On Sundays families come out to BBQ and old folks sit on the edge of the lake fishing. Much like the turtles, they ain’t miffed by smells. I know the joggers will find their way to the Silverlake Reservoir, but what about the churro guy? Where’s he gonna go?

Spring got sprung and the summer babes have arrived. As I’ve been feeding these guys for a year, I feel a sense of kinship. They feel it too and were eager to show off the kids. I promised I’d bring a print for their fridge. But seriously, the lake has been on the migratory path for over a century, what are the ducks gonna do when they come through next winter and the lake’s drained? Beyond my concern for the residents and animals, I’m flaberghastted that the Echo Park Lake renovation has a $64,000,000 price tag. Seriously? Call me crazy but, before you sweat a perfectly good, yet smelly public park, how ’bout you help out the perfectly good, yet smelly, homeless men and women of Echo Park? Just a thought.

Get your final laps in. Lock down starts next week. The Lake will not be drained until spring, so I’ll be looking for a few good men and women to break in and feed the ducks ’til then. After that I will be hosting a turtle adoption party on Echo Park Boulevard. Send lettuce, salt licks, and cash. See you at the park!

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