Thursday, November 30, 2017

photo of the week: King Block alley

The other day I was downtown for a meeting at AAMLO, and after some lunch, I happened by this bit of juxtaposition off Harrison Street, the Tribune Tower and Clorox building against a bright blue sky, and the wildness of the graffiti-covered brick alleyway.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Oakland Urban Paths: Lake Merritt

courtesy Alan Forkosh
Saturday we had near-perfect weather for an Oakland Urban Paths walk around Lake Merritt. Unfortunately the sound system died, but the group wasn't too large, so hopefully everyone could hear me OK. My cellphone battery had died, but regular OUP walker Alan Forkosh was there and took some great photos. See Alan's website for lots more photos from the walk.

Alan's photos include some amazing panoramas of the lake, like this one:
courtesy Alan Forkosh

Starting with Lake Merritt not being a lake but a tidal slough, up through some of the Measure DD work still going on, we covered a wide variety of topics about the lake over its history.

Monday, June 26, 2017

photo of the week: angles

I've been laid up with a nasty summer cold, so you get a photo from last month. The Plaza Building, city hall, the "Vitality" sculpture by long-time local artist Bruce Beasley, and the Dalziel Building all add their own angles and stories.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

UCB: downtown history + city planning

Friday morning I led a group of two dozen UCB city planning students on a brief walking tour of downtown, City Center, Chinatown, Old Oakland and Preservation Park. A lot to pack into 90 minutes, but the group was enthusiastic and small enough to travel quickly, so we managed to fit it all in. We started in front of city hall, and finished 90 minutes later at the Federal Building.

Some of the topics we touched on and things we saw:
City Hall | Frank Ogawa | Japanese internment | 1989 Earthquake | Alignment of San Pablo Ave. | Telegraph Ave. | Annexations | Kahn's Department Store | Latham Square realignment | Latham Fountain | Cathedral Building | City Center | Gertrude Stein | "There" Sculpture | SRO Housing | 99 Dragons murals | Pacific Renaissance Plaza | Oakland Asian Cultural Center | Chinese family associations | Chinatown "scrambles" | informal vendors | Old Oakland | Old Oakland Farmers Market | Oakland Convention Center | Warriors | repair of earthquake damage to historical buildings | Lafayette Square Park | mosaic trash cans | new development | I-980 freeway | Pardee Home Museum | Preservation Park | Federal Building | Ron Dellums | C.L. Dellums | Pullman Porters

More photos here.
A map of our route here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oakland Urban Paths: Highland Hospital area steps

Saturday a group of about 30 people gathered for an Oakland Urban Paths walk exploring some of the stairways and pathways near Highland Hospital and the Central Reservoir.

We started at Highland Hospital, where Paul told us a bit about the hospital (built 1927, designed by Henry Meyers; grounds designed by Howard Gilkey) which was built as part of a countywide plan for health care. After a look at the old Key System stop in front of the hospital, we crossed 14th Avenue to our first set of steps.

Our route took us up and down the hills, and past numerous beautiful Victorians, including the Whitaker House, designed by prolific architect Charles Mau, and the John C. McMullen House.

The next stops were the Central Reservoir and then William Wood Park, which are strangely linked. The reservoir was built by the People's Water Company (one of the predecessors of EBMUD) back in 1910. Seepage from the reservoir and undercutting from nearby Sausal Creek led to a major landslide in the 1950s. That destroyed some homes and closed McKillop Road, and eventually the land was turned into Wood Park. More recently, undercutting from Sausal Creek has led to more slides in the area, but it appears to have come through the rainy 2016-2017 winter OK.

A quick trip across 580 to the Altenheim and then back across 580 took us down the other side of the Central Reservoir, then past the Manzanita Recreation Center and back to our start near the hospital.

A long but great walk. Thanks to Paul for leading us and Charlie for being the sweeper. Next up is a special walk in conjunction with the Oakland Walking Tours program. This Saturday, May 20th, we'll be doing an extended version of the Chinatown tour in honor of Asian Heritage month. More info here.

More photos from the walk can be seen here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

photo of the week: study in blue

Last week I was doing a test walk in Golden Gate for next month's Oakland Urban Paths walk. The brightly colored house didn't look so out of place given the bright blue skies.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lake Temescal

The other day between storms I was treated to this lovely view of Lake Temescal on my bike ride home.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Oakland Urban Paths: Women's History walk

Saturday, March 18th, Oakland Urban Paths and the Oakland Walking Tours program led the 4th annual Women's History walk. About 60 people (and 3 dogs) joined us for a walk to learn about a few of the women who have shaped Oakland.

We had some special stops and some bonuses. Thanks to Tom at First Unitarian Church for telling us a bit about the church; Luan at Laurel Bookstore for the book display and pass-through; Alfred at the Oakland Business and Professional Women's Club for showing us around mid-remodel; and Ann at Camron-Stanford House, for coming in and opening up on a Saturday for us.

The following have links to the Oakland Wiki for more information. Some of the women, organizations, and places we talked about (more or less in order):

See more photos here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Print Public 2016-2017

Thursday night was an opening reception for Print Public 2016-2017 at Kala Art Institute. The current artists that are part of Print Public are:
  • Drew Cameron
  • Ramekon O’Arwisters
  • Mildred Howard
  • Marksearch (Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas)
  • Kelly Ording and Jet Martinez
  • Jenifer K. Wofford
Although Kala is in Berkeley, a number of the artists are from Oakland. The exhibit runs through March 25, so check it out when you get a chance.

See more photos here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Oakland Restaurant Week

Like many others, I've been a bit distracted by current events, and by the weather. One of my few outings was to do bike parking for the Women's March in Oakland with Bike East Bay. Other than a few drops of rain, the march was thankfully dry and peaceful, and pretty awesome to see the huge turnout, not just in Oakland, but all over the country.

But we're in the midst of the 7th annual Oakland Restaurant Week, which runs until January 29th. Which I'd sort of forgotten about, until I received an email that caught my eye: The Vegan's Guide to Oakland. Also check out Explore Oakland’s bustling food scene during Oakland Restaurant Week on SFGate.

Whatever your dining tastes, Oakland Restaurant Week is a great chance to check out some the over 100 restaurants taking part, and get some nice deals with $20, $30 and $40 prix-fixe lunch or dinner options. Some restaurants are even donating some of their proceeds to support the Alameda County Community Food Bank. What restaurant week specials have you tried this year?