By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The inner-city serenity of Echo Park Lake — the quietness, the slowness, the shy lotus blooms — begs for disruption. And there’s one disturbance rightfully linked with the park: love. This is the place to seize a smooching partner and make out like a high-schooler. After all, the lake has had a history of canoodling since 1895. In 1912 residents near the park voiced complaints about couples “spooning.”
These days the park is still cuddle-worthy. Where is the best spot to make your move? Settle down toward the boat house and lay out a blanket on the cushiony grass. It’s far enough away from the lake that the panhandling, monster-sized ducks won’t kill the mood. But if feathers get you going, walk across the footbridge to Echo Park’s island, where the birds rule the land. You can also take out a paddleboat and cruise past the lotus beds and sprays from the three-tiered fountain.
If the paddleboats are all rented out, you can still make it to third base. Head toward the gold-and-red-flowered lantana bushes near Bellevue Avenue and you’ll find privacy amid stone walls and three levels of greenery. Before getting horizontal, pluck one of the white-and-pink hibiscus flowers nearby and tuck it behind your beloved’s ear. If your make-out buddy prefers roses, you’ll find lovely scented bushes at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue, guarded by a monument to José Martí — poet, patriot and martyr of the Cuban independence movement. Don’t be scared by Martí’s frowning mustache: Sculptor Sergio López Mesa won’t mind if you steal one bud. Before you leave, spend a few moments at the playground where you can hit the big-kid swings and pump up and up, then fall forward into the luminous horizon of downtown’s skyscrapers.
751 Echo Park Ave., L.A., (213) 847-3281. Paddleboats available Sat.-Sun., noon-6 p.m., $10 per hour.
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