Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Sight


From the iPhone, forgive the repeat Twitter followers. I wanted to bring a standard, no-filters picture to Flickr just to check the comparison. This is cropped down for standard format.

People have asked me to describe where I live in Oakland, the city a series of named neighborhoods like any other major metropolitan area. Technically, I'm in the Uptown neighborhood, but I am right next to all the tall buildings of the downtown area. If the Elihu Harris State Office Building falls over anytime soon, it will probably hit my car.

Now, is downtown Oakland the greatest place in the world to live? No, it's not. Don't let me paint too rosy of a picture. It is a big city with its big city problems; crime, grime, graffiti, grifters, homelessness, expensive convenience stores. You best be on your toes, like any other place where the masses congregate. I've had my car window smashed in, I've been pepper-sprayed in a demonstration, I'm hassled constantly for change and/or cigarettes. Rites of passage around here, and I understand why it's not for everyone.

It's been a location of fortune though. 5 minute walk to the BART, downtown SF a ten minute ride away. Same with the Coliseum to the south; two stops and I'm there. Lake Merritt is a 10-15 minute walk away, Jack London, Chinatown probably 20 or so. And there's a free shuttle that goes down there too. Berkeley is only a couple BART stops to the north, and the hills, with their expansive parks and beautiful views of the Bay, a 20 minute drive at most.

I like it. I got in under the wire too. Rentals in the East Bay have soared in price in the past year as the housing crunch in SF forces people over here - and, since Oakland has rent control policies (3% a year at most) - I could keep this relatively cheap for years.

Makes me very reluctant to leave, because I'm not going to find this again...

Lucky and I know it.

Enjoy the St. Patty's weekend...