Locks of Love in Los Feliz

I guess you could say I’m pretty much in love. My significant other and I text each other frequent reminders of our affection, leave love notes in strategic spots around the apartment, and employ amusing pet names such as “Stinky” and “Stinky Pudd’n.” What we have yet failed to do, however, is commemorate our more-than-just-friends-ness by applying padlocks to the fence that blocks the under-street passageway crossing Hollywood Boulevard just east of its intersection with Vermont.

These can be found right at the corner of Hollywood and New Hampshire.
These can be found right at the corner of Hollywood and New Hampshire.

Walking east into Los Feliz Village on Hollywood, it’s hard to miss this particular bit of artistic commons, right at the corner of Hollywood an New Hampshire. Even harder is figuring out just what in the world is going on. Is it a forgotten art installation? A weirdly cryptic ad for the locksmith around the corner? No, no: It’s love. Sweet, sweet love. Hey, it’s cheaper than a ring.

Apparently love padlocks, as they’re called, have their start in the waning days of Eastern Bloc communisim, where young Hungarian couples in the city of Pecs would scratch their consonant-heavy names onto padlocks, then clamp them onto a fence in the city square. When the fence filled up — by which time the city’s locksmiths were presumably puzzled at their sudden good fortune — lovers began attaching padlocks to other public structures: Fences, statues, lampposts, what-have-you. The practice spread across eastern Europe and into Italy, then across the sea to cities like Toronto and LA.

Because of the practice’s eastern European origins, the fact that LA’s seemingly most heavily-padlocked fence is smack dab in the middle of one of the most Armenian parts of town may not be a coincidence. But then, it just might. Has anyone else seen this sort of thing elsewhere in town?

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