Living in My Neighborhood

10 Sep

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my neighborhood. Partly, I’m trying to drive less and walk more, but I also just like North Oakland and all that it offers.

The streets are really beautiful and filled with trees, gardens, and whimsical public art created by Rockridge and Temescal residents…


bike.jpg North Oakland Garage Mural

Every Sunday morning, I walk to the Temescal Farmer’s Market. When I go out to dinner, I walk to restaurants in Rockridge, like Flavors of India, Great Wall (the first Oakland restaurant I ever ate at, many years ago), Somerset, or, if I’m feeling lazy, I walk a few steps to Addis Ethiopian Cuisine. For an incredible chai and a relaxing place to read, I hang out at A Cuppa Tea. And if I want to grab a drink, I head down to the White Horse and never have to worry about who’s the designated driver.

On my many walks, I’ve realized that my definition of neighborhood is pretty expansive. Mine stretches from Shattuck to at least College, and from 50th to Ashby. Yes, my neighborhood even includes some of South Berkeley, mainly because of Whole Foods and Ici (mmm, local, organic ice cream). I’ve defined my neighborhood based on places I walk frequently. And it seems so huge to me because after eighteen years of living in LA, a part of me still thinks of neighborhoods based on how far I would walk when I was a teenager (I really used to drive to a friend’s house who lived four blocks from me!).

So what about you? How big is your neighborhood? Am I crazy for defining my neighborhood so largely? Or is this a completely normal part of Oakland living?

6 Responses to “Living in My Neighborhood”

  1. V Smoothe September 11, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    I consider all of downtown to be my neighborhood. In my mind, that stretches from Jack London Square to West Grand, and from Lake Merritt to the freeway. So it’s a pretty large area. I also frequently walk up to Grand and Lakeshore, or Eastlake, or Koreatown, but even though they’re within walking distance, I consider them other neighborhoods.

    I’m from Houston, so your memories of growing up in LA strike a familiar chord. Between the street layout and the oppressive heat, we never walked anywhere (unless I was “going for a walk,” which I would do in a loop every night after dinner with my dad). Now the idea of “going for a walk” sounds so odd to me. Of course, back then I didn’t blink an eye at the thought of driving for 45 minutes or more to go to dinner or to a movie. It really is a different world out here.

  2. justanothersnarkystudentblog September 11, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    I define my neighborhood similarly. If I can walk there without getting extremely overheated, then I’m well within my neighborhood. But, if the distance is long enough that I take off my sweatshirt or long sleeved shirt, that defines leaving my neighborhood.

    When I walk from home in Rockridge to UC Berkeley, I pass through a couple neighborhoods, and by the time I get to my destination, I’m taking off all the clothes I can without turning any heads. That’s how I know how far my neighborhood stretches.

  3. m September 26, 2007 at 11:50 am #

    I define my neighborhood a little less broadly, but I consider the areas you describe to all be pretty much part of my home city, if that makes sense, as opposed to my neighborhood.

    I consider pretty much from albany to downtown oakland/jack london square area to be part of “where I live.” My neighborhood though for now is in Berkeley near downtown and includes north berkeley and areas by campus.

    Where you seem to live now is my old neighborhood, which I typically saw as extending from the rockridge/elmwood areas to piedmont, downtown oakland/jack london square area, to part of emeryville (near san pablo and 40th), and to maybe to as for north as alcatraz and telegraph or so. Ashby/WF didn’t quite feel “in the neighborhood” to me when I lived there. Driving to Berkely always felt like a long trek to me.

    There are so many things I loved about living in Temescal (for some reason the Longs on 51st and Broadway is one of them. Also the art store up there near CCAC) but Berkeley has its good (and bad) points too. If I could live anywhere around here, I think it would be . . . Huh, I’m surprised I’m having a hard time answering that question for myself.

    Anyway great description of your neighborhood. Despite living there for years, in 3 different apartments, I actually never made it to the farmer’s market there!

  4. Becks September 26, 2007 at 10:21 pm #

    That description makes complete sense.

    Your story in the East Bay is like mine flipped. I lived in Berkeley for several years and now live in Oakland. The choice though is easy for me. Oakland wins hands down, but I guess you’ve probably figured that out already.

  5. meera mathew October 13, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    well i happened to google search on living in neighbourbood for the coming up assingment due out in 2 weeks and this is result webpage i got!!!

    n suprise ….. its bit intresting how each describe there neighbourhood.
    to me my neihbourhood would be were i can get by jump hop n skip n know d shortcuts n wayouts like back of my hand,the familarity of being at home n sense of warmth n happiness wen u tak a stride down d road!


  1. dogtown commons » The city as ecosystem - September 17, 2007

    […] their feet would be a good place to start. Not only is walking around a city one of life’s great pleasures, but it’s good for the city, good for the environment, and good for one’s health. […]

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