Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dimond Park--a creek flows through it

This couple is enjoying Sausal Creek burble at their feet as it runs through Dimond Park.  Most of Oakland's creeks were put underground years ago.  The creek's riparian community is being restored by volunteers.  The park itself, situated in the Dimond District, offers various play activities and is situated on the ancestral land of the Dimond family who settled in 1867.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nature undeterred

When walking to my car near Chinatown, a flash of red caught my eye.  This ivy clings to the wall of a freeway on-ramp, persisting though never tended to.  How does it survive all that carbon monoxide?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chinatown restaurant

This restaurant is located in Chinatown at 7th and Franklin just east of Broadway. The core of this community is about eight blocks square.  This building has been here for ages as its sagging balcony attests to.  In the nearby markets you can buy the most unusual produce that you won't find anywhere else.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

Best regards to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa's on his way

It looks like Santa was taking a break while making his rounds.  Here he's just taking off again.  This holiday display is in Mt. View Cemetary at the top of Piedmont Avenue.  Hope he brings you what you wished for.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cathedral of Christ the Light

This striking structure is a new addition to the architecture of Oakland.  It opened this year and is situated directly across from Lake Merritt.  The interior of the church feels like the hull of a ship.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SF bay at dusk

Downtown Oakland is in the foreground with SF in the background.  You can see one span of the Golden Gate Bridge on the right.  This photo was taken from the Mormon Temple.  The low slung cloud cover  in the background is actually the fog coming in from the ocean.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas lights on Picardy Drive

For 30 years homes on two blocks of Picardy Drive have decorated profusely for the holiday season.  This residential street often has traffic jams due to those driving by to see the display.  There's added charm because most of the houses are designed in the "storybook" style which enhances the fairyland feel.  Picardy Dr. is in east Oakland near Mills College.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Street altar in Jingletown

This sidewalk altar is in Jingletown, until recently a primarily Latino neighborhood.  Although the display is kitschy, it remains respectful of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Her feast day is celebrated in Mexico on December 12.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rust in Peace

Window security bars at Automania in Jingletown.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jingletown lizard

Jingletown, an east Oakland neighborhood bordering on the estuary, is home to many artist studios.  You'll find them tucked in between factories, warehouses, and turn of the century housing.  A walk in the neighborhood reveals artistry and wit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mormon Temple

The Mormon temple is in the Oakland hills on Lincoln Avenue.  Its Christmas lights draw folks from all over.  Its location also offers beautiful views of the bay.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Uptown graffiti

The Uptown area is being revitalized by all the new housing.  It is filling up with new restaurants, cafes, and a large and very active art scene.  Even the graffiti has real flair. This is a utility box that controls traffic lights (19th & Broadway).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Port of Oakland

These container cranes line the estuary and its opening onto the bay. They always remind me of Starwars creatures.  You can see the SF skyline peeking up from the horizon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

freeway mural

Oakland has tons of public murals. This 32-foot tall giraffe by Dan Fontes is on a support pier of the 580 freeway at the Harrison Street on-ramp. The city contracted with Dan in 1983 to create seven (!) giraffe designs for spaces under the freeway. In 1994, after piers were wrapped in steel sheeting for earthquake safety retrofitting, the highway department contracted with Dan to repaint the now hidden original. Who says vast State bureaucracies don't have an aesthetic heart? Anyway, this knock-kneed giant always makes me smile. And an attitude adjustment prior to entering the traffic crawl is always a good thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mountain View Cemetery

This is Millionaire's Row, where the movers and shakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries built impressive burial monuments to themselves. I like the way the stones glow just before sunset. Mountain View Cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame) and opened in 1863. Like Oakland today, it welcomed people of all faiths and races, which was unusual for the period. It's located at the end of Piedmont Avenue. There are over 200 acres of beautiful landscaping which invite walkers and joggers.  The cemetery offers incredible views of the SF bay and four of its bridges.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lake Merritt at sunset

All Oaklanders love Lake Merritt--The Jewel of Oakland. Located just east of downtown, it is a large tidal pool (155 acres) that flows from the estuary. The lake is situated in an area populated with apartment buildings, private homes, government buildings, and retail businesses. The lake draws large numbers of people every day who walk, run, bike, sail, and row.  A weekly Farmer's Market is nearby and we even have a gondola for hire! My favorite feature is the Necklace of Lights that circles the lake. Inaugurated in 1925, the lights were turned off during WWII. The necklace began to glow again in 1985.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The official Oakland oak tree

This symbol of Oakland can be found on all city and public school vehicles, websites, and stationary. This large, old tree is in front of City Hall in Frank Ogawa Plaza. The oak tree symbol refers back more than 150 years when the East Bay was covered in oak forests and Oakland was the local vacation spot and rural getaway for San Francisco citizens. Oakland's population grew significantly after the 1906 earthquake.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Welcome to Oakland, California--the sunny side of the Bay

The cupola of our City Hall reflected in the the windows of an adjacent building.  This is a beautiful Beaux-Arts building dating to 1914 and now facing on Frank Ogawa Plaza.