Tag Archives: New

Hmph! The New York Times is Digging Oakland

It might be expected that the New York Times would pick up on such high profile stories as the murder of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, or the murder of four Oakland police officers in March.  But Oakland the tourist destination for Times readers?  I have to admit it was a bit unexpected.  About a month ago the Times published “36 Hours in Oakland California,” which sells Oakland as a sort of multi-culti-city-of-the-future-hidden-gem-artists’ haven.  Since then there has been a relative spate of Oakland-based reporting in the times that might challenge the old Gertrude Stein adage that “there is no there there.”

“36 Hours in Oakland California,” gives New Yorkers some great tips such as the Grand Lake Theater–my hands-down favorite place to see a movie by myself (or with anyone else for that matter), the Washington Hotel (my mother’s personal favorite hideaway),  and the Morcom Rose Garden, which truly is a hidden gem.

grand lakeGrand Lake’s Auditorium 3 (picture from their website)

03venue_morcomrosegarden1_395Marcom Rose Garden, photo by Eros Hoagland for The New York Times

Then, just a few days ago, the Times gave us the popular “Neighbor, Can You Spare a Plum?” about fruit foraging, beginning with a profile of Asiya Wadud, a Chez Panisse alum who pioneered Forage Oakland, an organization/movement aimed at viewing urban fruit as collective wealth, with potential for community building.  While Wadud and Forage Oakland seem laudable, the Times article leaves a lot to be desired.  If anything it brought on the painful memory of someone harvesting my “collective wealth”–the roses in my front yard, by simply lopping off the top of all the bushes–and convinced me not to plant that plum tree in front of my house.  All fruit isn’t everyone’s fruit–the law and I believe Wadud agrees–but Kim Severson, the author of the article, glosses over this point a little too much for my taste.  What would Randy Cohen say???

10fruit500.2Asiya Wadud by Noah Berger for The New York Times

But no need to get too serious, Oakland knows how to party, the Times’ bastion of style T Magazine reminded us yesterday, June 10, 2009 on their blog “The Moment.”  What is a forlorn Williamsburg hipster refugee to do after the Sonic Youth show at the Fox TheaterThe Moment says hit Cafe Van Kleef!  The Moment’s description of the place hits the nail on the head.  Van Kleef is kind of Brooklyn meets Nawlins meets Oakland–in decor if nothing else–and they do pour excellent cocktails (they often have great fresh fruit involved) but overall the place is a little to Park Slope c. 2002 for me with their earnest burlesque and cabaret, but maybe they Williamsburg kids will come and shake it up (they do serve some purpose you know).

What the Times obviously needs is a little dose of good ole Rockridge style soothing…and I’m working on it.  In the mean time, you can consider co-housing opportunities in the Temescal neighborhood, or just keep track of Oakland news by setting up a Google news alert here.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rockridge Azalea Season 2009 in Retrospect

For some reason I have never been a huge azalea fan, but the azaleas around Rockridge this year changed my mind.  I just kept walking and driving by these bushes absolutely bursting with color, and I couldn’t resist any longer.  Unfortunately, my (former) distaste meant I waited a little too long to start photographing the blooms, so I missed my change to capture a few of my favorites (there is an amazing orange-pink one a few doors down from me that has since lost its blooms).  I did manage to catch a few though.  The orange and white at the bottom are some of my favorites.

azalea1

azalea close

azalea4

azalea5

RED!

white and orange!!

white and orange!

I learned more about azaleas (such as the fact that all azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas, similar to the fact that all daffodils are narcissus, but not all narssisus are daffodils) from the Azalea Society of America.  They have a great FAQ section.  Some azaleas are native to Japan, and azaleas, similar to cherry blossoms, are quite celebrated in Japan.  There are some great photographs of an azalea festival in Shiofune-Kannon (Ome, Tokyo) on Yumi’s flicker page.

On a related note, you should definitely look at this slideshow from the NY Times on Philadelphia gardens.  Great pictures of alliums, primroses, poppies, peonies, and of course…azaleas!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized