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Editor’s Note: The August edition of the Splash Pad News is more than a day late and several dollars short of substance due to a confluence of events around the end of the month – not to mention the departure of Grand Avenue, West of 580 blogger, Liane Zimny and further complicated by summer vacations for most of our new contributors. I hope we’re back up to speed next month.
LAKESHORE AND LAKE PARK AVENUES
Last month, I reported that the Peter Lee mural adjacent to the Trader Joe’s parking lot was slated for removal and predicted that Peter wouldn’t be interested in painting the replacement – which was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the building owners, Barry and Elaine Gilbert. A muralist who calls himself Stefen is already hard at work and I’m told that the finished product will be a scenic view of Lake Merritt. The lake’s signature colonnades and pergola are also depicted in a prominently-located mural Stefen painted for the Broadway Pet Hospital – but that one is populated with animals – not people. He expects to complete this project in the next month or so. Either way, I look forward to documenting his progress on the Splash Pad Facebook page. More information about the artist is available on his website.
As an aside, I should note that anybody who took me literally when I wrote last month that “I had a vested interest” in protecting the original since I was depicted in it, didn’t get the joke. That image (all two square inches of it) was Peter’s way of repaying me for the loan of a very tall extension ladder. Stefen will have no such obligation since he’s working off a power lift which is much more efficient and far safer than a ladder.
There’s another unrelated issue that I became aware of fairly recently. Individuals (particularly, the elderly with restricted vision) have been falling off the raised concrete platform just to the right of the Burrito Shop space (3256 Lakeshore) on an almost weekly basis. A woman I saw, just after she had fallen, was in her nineties and she had sustained deep cuts in both legs that required stitches. I raised this issue at the Lakeshore BID’s annual meeting and Eric Hughes followed up with an email to Sansome-Pacific, the property manager for Trader Joe’s and Walgreen’s. They responded by saying they were “looking into this” and reviewing options.
Eric and I agreed that this was an issue that required a more immediate response and one Sunday, just after he had completed his graffiti abatement rounds, the two of us painted the edge of the platform and the ramp a bright red. This is a temporary – not a permanent, long-term fix but it does seem to be helping. In terms of the long-term, many months ago, we met with folks from Cholita Linda on site to talk about converting this area into an outdoor patio that would include railings and/or raised planters. We’re now hoping that, as part of their expansion, Peet’s decides to do much the same. I’d add that either way, the width of the ramp and the walkway at the base of the mural needs to be widened. It’s problematic for those of us who are fully mobile but, for the disabled, it’s almost totally inaccessible and in violation of ADA requirements.
More on the subject of trip and fall incidents: Back in June, Tim Nugent at Shakewell hosted a Lakeshore business owners meeting organized by Councilmember Abel Guillen. Virtually all city departments were represented including most importantly, the Acting Director of the Public Works Department. After the meeting adjourned, Abel took her on a quick tour pointing out the blight created by trash receptacles in the street and some of the multiple locations where the sidewalks were displaced. As a direct result, the sidewalks up and down the avenue have been hand ground to greatly reduce the tripping hazards. Unfortunately, nothing has yet been done about the ubiquitous trash cans. This is particularly glaring alongside the newly installed bike share station in front of Noah’s and Starbucks. The regulations (and common sense) require that the cans be placed curbside at the close of business the night before pick-up and that they be brought inside immediately after they have been emptied. Thus far, too many businesses aren’t complying and Code Enforcement has been totally lacking.
Sarahjane Bernhisel, who has been working at Adventure Toys for the past couple of years, just signed a lease for the storefront at 3295 Lakeshore previously occupied by Rose Quartz. Sarah is an accomplished graphic artist and her new shop (called Bay-Made.com) will feature some of her own artwork, but primarily hand-crafted objects by other fine artists, illustrators, jewelry makers, ceramicists and craftspeople working in leather, metal and wood.
Work in the Proposition Chicken space (3260 Lakeshore) is nearing completion. An article in Hoodline about their operations and imminent opening is very informative.
Freya Prowe at the Brother and Sisters Flower Shop had an opossum that was so enamored by the patio garden, it showed up one night and stayed for an entire day but fortunately, was gone by the next morning. I also asked Freya about the bike station directly in front of her shop and she said it’s getting lots of use from commuters to downtown Oakland. She added that she actually checked out one of the bikes herself for a ride to her new, second location at Xolo Tacqueria where she’s offering a 15% discount on a first purchase and where she’ll be open late this Friday as part of the Art Murmur.
Monday afternoon, I also had a brief conversation with Chris Pankow, whose plans for a take-out cafe featuring pastries and coffee in what us old-timers called Charlie’s Smoke Shop, are at long last about to come to fruition. The tile is up on the walls and the service counter is about to come next. What was most surprising is the extent to which the space has been transpired. What appeared to be a tiny hole in the wall not much bigger than a wardrobe closet now appears well-lit, airy and spacious.
The “Friday Night Boutique” is now open at 3612 Grand Avenue – the former, long-time home of Margene’s Bridal Shop. I stopped in Monday afternoon for photographs and a quick peek. The owner, Karen Monserat, has seven years experience in the lingerie industry and the shop manager described the overall concept as a lower-priced version of Victoria’s secret. In addition to the “really pretty, sexy things” originally listed on their storefront window, they also stock massage oils and candles. Open seven days a week.
A hat tip to Tracey Weaver, Urban Furniture’s Director, for telling me about La Parisienne Bakery. It has new owners and managers but, I’m told the same baker and what looks like the same line-up of gorgeous French pastries.
Cycle for Lyfe is poised to open on August 14 at 3241 Grand Avenue. Going back a couple of decades, it was also the home of Cycle Sports which helps explain the three bicycle racks on the sidewalk out front. Long before that, it was a topless bar which exemplifies the extent to which the neighborhood has undergone major changes over the past several decades. Earlier today, I introduced myself to Cycle for Lyfe’s owner. He said to look for a website within the next several days and also a Groupon coupon just before opening offering a very substantial discount.
I‘ve been hankering for a steak from The Alley for more months than I can remember and am happy to report that they have a brand new, bright and shiny kitchen and they’re again serving dinners. Although the price of the Alley Special Steak” has increased significantly to $16.50, it’s still a bargain considering that it includes a salad, fresh veggies, a baked potato and garlic bread. The menu also includes burgers, fried chicken and sandwiches.
The big news about Grand Bakery has been widely reported but I’m still not clear on all the details. The new business owner, Sam Tobis, gave me a courtesy phone call and confirmed that he has employed Bob’s baker and they’ve already begun to bake bread using the facilities at the Food Mill. The eventual fate of the Grand Avenue storefront is, however, still in question as Tobis is (probably wisely) hedging his bets while figuring out what’s feasible and what isn’t.
Alchemy Bottle Shop is hosting an artist reception for a new show of painting by Therese Chevedden on Saturday, August 19th from 5 – 7 PM. Earlier that afternoon, from 3 – 5 PM, they’ll be pouring samples of Compass Box Scotch – the real deal from Edinburg Scotland. In the meantime, the show of photos by Kerry Higuera remain on exhibit.
The current show at Studio Grand is entitled, “Time Piece: Simultaneous Contemplations on the Femme Frequency for a Lost and Fertile Planet”. It’s a solo exhibition of artwork by Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski – a very talented young woman who has recently been accepted into the graduate program at Yale University.
One highlight of this month’s calendar is an Opening Night Fandango on Saturday, August 19 that I’d highly recommend based on the Fandangos that I attended last year. In addition, thanks to a grant from the Akonadi Foundation, Studio Grand is providing free Zapateado dance classes (for adults and children) beginning Sunday, August 13 and free Jarana classes beginning Thursday, August 17. Studio Grand’s event calendar for August hasn’t been fully updated as we go to press, but do watch for their monthly, high energy, 4th Friday Balkan Night Concerts .
For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the…
Two weeks ago, half a dozen members of the “Friends of the Grand Lake Farmers Market” met with Councilmember Guillen to underscore our call for an RFP that would allow additional market management teams to compete for the right to manage the Grand Lake Farmers Market. We also emphasized the importance of codifying market guidelines to ensure that the park infrastructure is protected; that off-site parking is provided for vendors; that the market footprint is scaled back to relieve unacceptable levels of congestion and much more.
We felt that it was an extremely productive meeting but we’re not sure that it was enough to convince Abel that an RFP is warranted. Accordingly, we’re launching a petition campaign and should have print copies available around the farmers market and on Lakeshore over the next several weeks but we’ve also just gone online with a Change.org petition that you can access and sign via THIS LINK. For the record, the leading proponents of an RFP and operational guidelines include Caroline Kim, who chaired the group that saved Splash Pad Park from developers and originated the farmers market. Jerry Barclay, who was appointed by Pat Kernighan to serve as Chair of the Splash Pad Farmers Market Advisory Committe. As for myself, I chaired the group that lobbied for a new park; served as community liaison to the City; and used to be the farmers market most outspoken advocate.
In addition to signing the petition, you can also email Abel Guillen directly (email@example.com) or call his office (510) 238-7002.
SPLASH PAD PARK
I‘ve used this forum over the past many months to decry a number of serious infrastructure problems in Splash Pad Park including rats, sunken wood decking in the plaza and a custom-made light pole that was destroyed last year when a car skidded out of control on Lake Park. Last month, I urged readers to file SeeClickFix complaints. For those of you who did so, I extend my personal thanks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the city has the will and/or the resources to address these issues. This is one more reason it would be great to negotiate a stronger contract for use of the park for the farmers market with at least some of the income being plowed into repairs.
The Grand Crew’s next volunteer work day is Sunday, August 27 beginning at 9 AM and ending with lunch at Noon. New volunteers are always welcome – experienced gardeners or not. Tools and gloves are provided.
GRAND AVENUE FIRST THURSDAYS
There’s two new artists represented in this month’s First Thursdays event. The first is the fabulous artwork of Amaryllis Dejesus Moleski at Studio Grand – but I’m not 100% sure they’ll be open. If not, make a point of checking the show out at a future Studio Grand event. Tracey Weaver at Urban Furniture tells me that she’ll celebrating her birthday tonight with a show of her own work. Refreshments are typically served. Also of note: paintings by Zach Cotham are on display at Ruth Stroup Insurance. “Signs of Resistance” at Panorama Framing should continue to be a major draw. The show features selections of contemporary political propaganda from the Lighthouse Collection. Also make sure to see the dazzling applied metal tapes on display at Jau Jou and photos by Christina Mauricio at Better Homes and Gardens. Details for all twelve participating galleries are on this Grand Avenue First Thursdays page.
Kyle Wiggins’ Town Biz II at Splash Pad Park on June 4 was a big success. Edition #III is scheduled for Sunday, September 10 – once again in the same location. Please come out and support our locally owned, home-grown businesses.
The annual Volunteer Fair is being held on Saturday, September 9 at Lakeview School from 10 AM – Noon.
If you’re itching to explore Fairyland but don’t have the requisite child to make it past the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and through the hallowed gates, Fairyland for Grown-ups on August 18 is geared especially for you.
The Oakland Walking Tours program continues through October. The free tours are offered Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Tour options include Old Oakland, Chinatown, Uptown to the Lake, and Preservation Park. More information, including details on the eight different tours, can be found at THIS LINK.
- Thursday, August 3: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Friday, August 4: Art Murmur Downtown
- Wednesday, August 16, 7 – 8:30 PM: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting in Lakeshore Baptist Church Family Room
- August 18: Fairyland for Grown-ups
- Sunday, August 27, 9 AM – Noon: Splash Pad “GRAND CREW” Volunteer Work Day
- Saturday, September 9, 10 AM – Noon: Volunteer Fair at Lakeview School
- Sunday, September 10: Town Biz III at Splash Pad Park
- Saturday, September 16: 22nd Annual Creek to Bay Day