The Fox Theater & downtown Oakland’s future

3 Feb

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling a bit down about Oakland during the past few days. It’s sometimes easy to forget about the beautiful parts of this city when you get mired in city politics. But sometimes the beauty just won’t be ignored.

Last night, as I left downtown Oakland, I just about screamed when I saw the Fox Theater’s marquee all lit up:

fox-theater1

After years of watching construction progress on the Fox, keeping track of the sign that estimated days until opening (it was more than 500 days when I first started paying attention), it’s almost hard to believe that the Fox will finally open once again on Thursday night. Eric wrote a detailed history of the Fox at Transbay Blog, in which he reminded me that there is hope for Oakland:

To be sure, fully revitalizing Downtown is a multidisciplinary task that exceeds city planners alone, and it is bigger than any single development project. But the restoration of the Fox Theater exemplifies what creative minds and committed civic pride can accomplish. Oakland could use more of both these days, as some of the current crop of city politicians (starting with the chief executive and his poorly-chosen appointment to the City Administrator post) do little to inspire confidence in the future. Indeed, it can sometimes be tempting to reminisce on decades long gone — when Broadway and Telegraph were vibrant, lined with theaters and active retail uses, and the streets were crowded with both people and streetcars — as opposed to the somewhat forlorn feeling Downtown sometimes still exudes today. But why should we fixate exclusively on the past? We’re sure of it: Downtown’s best days lie ahead, and it is both exciting and somehow comforting that the Fox Theater will play a key role in ushering in the renaissance.

Even as our city struggles, I agree with Eric. I’m glad he reminded me that there’s so much to look forward to in Oakland’s future.

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