Editor’s Note: The biggest news this month is the start of a brand New Year. May it continue to be filled with good times, great food and the sense of community that makes the Grand Lake district such a wonderful place to call “home”. And yes, less violence and more justice worldwide would be welcomed as well.
GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
The biggest story last month was the closure of Grand Fare Market. Unfortunately, the only update I can provide is that I did speak briefly with Doug Washington when they had a “Fire Sale” on December 14. I took that opportunity to express our dismay over Grand Fare’s closure and our hope that they could make whatever changes were necessary and re-open as soon as possible. Doug responded that they love the neighborhood; we’re hopeful but, at that point, not sure it was possible. The only subsequent development that I’m aware of is a sign in the window that merely says, “STAY TUNED”. I’m taking that as a positive sign – literally and figuratively.
“Grand Lake, All About Pets” opened a couple of weeks ago with little fanfare. As I reported last month, it’s an annex of the Grand Lake veterinary hospital next door operated by Dr. Knobel and Dr. Dunn. The latter will be available by appointment to discuss nutritional supplements and there’s a room at “All About Pets” set aside for that purpose.
According to Kyle and Sarah Jane, the two sales associates I talked to this week, what makes the shop special is that they are licensed to sell prescription foods, shampoos, treats, etc. They also carry Evermore Frozen Foods – meat and fish (suitable for human consumption) cooked sous vide to maximize vitamin content.
“All About Pets” is also making an effort to buy locally. One such example is the collar and leash modeled by Kohana (Sarah Jane’s dog) which is handcrafted by a San Francisco firefighter.
Studio Grand’s January event calendar includes its usual array of wonderful concerts with ten evenings devoted mostly to jazz and soul with a bit of whimsy thrown in courtesy of the “Wiener Kids” and “Similar Fashion” on January 22. On the 26th, Crossroads presents an evening of poetry readings followed by an open mic.
You can view their current exhibit of photographs by Chose entitled, “Where I’m From” as part of the First Thursdays art walk from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. with a meet and greet for the artist until 7:00 p.m.
Alchemy Bottle Shop will be hosting an Opening Night Reception on Saturday January 23, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. for show of “botanical illustrations” in watercolor and pastel by artist Sally Petru.
Next time you’re on Grand Avenue, be sure to check out the new mural at Sole Space that street artist, Jet Martinez is working on this weekend. As mentioned in a previous newsletter, owner Jeff Perlstein’s plan is to recycle the space every three months featuring a different Bay Area artist each time.
Seven years ago when the Grand Lake Retail Advisory Group did an extensive survey of the neighborhood commercial district, there were approximately fifteen vacancies and a great many spaces that were seriously underutilized. Today, I’m only aware of one – the two-story home converted to a restaurant next door to Camino. We do, however, have five spaces where improvements are in the works – several of which are close to opening with new tenants while others are many, many months from fruition:
- The Grand Avenue Smoke Shop which, as reported last month, will become a coffee/baked goods emporium. This is a very small space but it will need new plumbing, maybe electrical and a health permit. Months away!
- The Better Homes Realty office which is slated to become a pub called “E. W. Trapp’s, Jenny Wren”. This is a huge space with ambitious plans. Many, many months away.
- A very small space next to Le Visage Salon which is rumored to be the future home of a tattoo parlor. The windows are covered but, whatever the actual use, should open soon.
- One Medical Clinic in the Silver Screen Video space. This is another huge project and, although the contractors are making good progress, it won’t be completed for many, many months.
- La Parisiene Cafe and Boulangerie in the Boniere Bakery space. Looks quite close to opening but, ostensibly, nothing much has changed in the past month. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to a fresh-baked croissant in the very near future.
Last month, I reported that, “all things being equal”, Lakeshore Produce might open before the end of December. It turns out that, a month later, their electrical contractor is just now putting the finishing touches on a new breaker box. I hate to say this, but “all things being equal”, they should be open by the end of January.
Down the block, there’s still no definitive word about new tenants for the burrito shop space or the one vacated by Lakeshore Produce. Paul Gordon captured this photo of the latter’s sign being removed and, in the process, revealing the old sign underneath. As an aside, I’m hoping the owners or new tenants take this opportunity to restore the clerestory windows. The building has a great facade.
Slice of Hollywood pizza, which had been closed for several months, won’t be returning to the storefront at 3306 Lakeshore. The new tenant is an Asian fast food franchise called Quickly. They specialize in slushes, bubble tea and popcorn chicken. I’m not too thrilled about another fast food franchise on Lakeshore but wasn’t excited about Yogafina either and they’ve been warmly received. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
LZ’s GRAND AVENUE – WEST OF 580 BLOG
In this month’s blog, LZ follows the lead of Janus (the ancient Roman God who looked in two directions) as she reviews the status of her previous Grand Avenue West of 580 blog subjects, while also taking a peek into the immediate future.
Previous LZ blogs are posted on this archive.
GRAND AVENUE FIRST THURSDAYS
The First Thursdays Art Walk, which takes place January 7, is the most exciting line-up we’ve seen in quite some time. Hope to see you there. Hours are 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.
San Francisco Fiber: (3711 Grand) extends an open invitation to try your hand at weaving and spinning.
Urban Furniture: Open to 8:00 p.m. 15% off all regularly priced store merchandise.
GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET
Due to the holidays over the last two weekends, there have been an unusually high number of empty spaces at the market but it could have been much worse. In past years, when Christmas and New Year’s Day fell on a Saturday, the market closed for both Saturdays which amounted to nearly three weeks of withdrawal for those of us who are heavily dependent.
K & J Orchards returned today with a big selection of Asian Pears and several vendors now have Mandarin Oranges in stock. Next benchmark in the produce calendar: asparagus in late February or early March. Coming soon, look for Ge Moua with full line of organic Asian veggies. They will be replacing Siong Farms.
Although it’s been a while since we last saw Kassenhoff Nursery at the Grand Lake Market, Helen is now marketing a beautifully illustrated Planting Calendar specifically for Bay Area as well as a seasonal vegetable recipe book. Either or both can be purchase online from Helen’s Etsy shop – but the calendar is also available at Grand Lake Kitchen and Grand Lake Ace Nursery.
SPLASH PAD PARK
The Splash Pad Grand Crew’s next 4th Sunday work day will be January 24 from 9:00 a.m. until Noon when lunch is served. RSVP’s to firstname.lastname@example.org would be appreciated.
If you live in the neighborhood, chances are you’ve occasionally seen half a dozen or more police cars parked on Lakeshore adjacent to the Mandana Green. That’s a sure-fire sign that Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church was hosting an Operation Ceasefire gathering. The program, which originated in Boston, is basically an intervention during which people known to be involved in criminal activities are given the opportunity to go straight and take advantage of job and educational opportunities. As is made clear, the other option is likely to be eventual imprisonment.
Speaking at a Grand Lake Neighbors meeting last year, Pastor Jim Hopkins (who is actively involved in the program) said his church was selected as a host, partly because it’s considered “neutral territory” by gang members. It’s also the appropriate location for an “Operation Ceasefire Summit on Public Safety” sponsored by “Make Oakland Better Now” scheduled for next Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Panelists include the police chief and much of the OPD brass.
On Saturday, January 9, in lieu of their monthly volunteer day, the Morcom Rose Garden “Deadheaders” will be joined by the East Bay Rose Society for their annual rose pruning demonstration. Bring pruning shears and gloves if you have them. Hours are 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
ODDS AND ENDS
Subscriber Gary Meyer kindly alerted members of the Grand Lake Neighbors Yahoo Group to a report on Channel 7 that anointed the Grand Lake Theatre as the best place to view the new Star Wars film. In addition to it being a classic movie palace, they also noted that it is one of the few theaters in the entire country that are screening it in 3D using not one, but two projectors. Word has obviously spread as witnessed by long lines every day since the film opened.
Last month, I reported that Recycle for Change had sued the City of Oakland to stop implementation of the new ordinance that would regulate collection/donation bins. DonateOakland.org has since published a summary of the process that led to passage of the ordinance as well as a blog entitled, “The Only Thing Recycle for Change, Changed is its Name“.
The next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, January 20 in the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Family Room beginning at 7 p.m. The agenda should include a police crime report and most likely, a follow-up to the discussion at the October meeting about a 4-bedroom home on Winsor that’s being used as an Airbnb hotel.
I’ve previously shared photos that I’ve seen on the Oakland History Facebook page and was especially pleased, this past week, to find a post by Neil Parrish about an Oakland Map resource that opens Oakland maps dating from 1877 up to the present day. The segments from the 1877, 1912 and 1950’s map pictured above are focused on the area around Splash Pad Park.
For reference sake, in the two earlier maps, Mandana Avenue is named “Cottage”. Please also note that, in the 1912 map, the Key System Railroad line is delineated in red. On the 195o’s map, I’ve marked the diagonal section of roadway that traverses Splash Pad Park in yellow. “X” marks the spot where three small palm trees had to be transplanted when construction on the new park began in 2002. Much to everyone’s surprise, they were planted in only three feet of soil covering the asphalt roadway that was used by the Key System.
If, like me, you’re grateful to be living in a temperate climate where virtually everything grows with abandon, you won’t be surprised to learn that, when the postal authority in Australia went looking for a photo of a “Rose Coneflower”, that photo was taken in my yard – not in Western Australia where the Isopogon formosus is native. I’m pleased to say that my macro photo was used on the packaging for a stamp and medallion.
- Thursday, January 7, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Saturday, January 9, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m: Operation Ceasefire Summit at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
- Wednesday, January 20, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church
- Saturday, January 23, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m: Alchemy Bottle Shop Opening Night Reception for “Botanical Illustrations” by artist Sally Petru
- Sunday, January 24, 9:00 a.m. – Noon: Splash Pad Park Volunteer Work Day