Splash Pad Newsletter – December 2014


The art walk this Thursday will be the perfect opportunity to get in some holiday shopping while supporting neighborhood merchants and local artists.  Eight galleries will be participating – one of which (Alyce on Grand) will be hosting a selection of photos I’ve taken in the Lakeshore and Grand Avenue commercial districts.   The show is intended as a  tribute to all the independent, locally owned businesses that help make this such a wonderful neighborhood and which also provide much of this newsletter’s subject matter.

Studio Grand will be continuing its exhibit of instruments hand-crafted by their Artist in Residence, Sung Kim and will be open from 5  to 8 p.m. only.

Panorama Framing‘s show of paintings by Kate Leffler entitled “Sol Y Sombra” continues for a second month with refreshments and a reception for the artist.

Urban Furniture ‘s exhibit for the month of December features photos and notecards by Patricia Patterson.  Refreshments will be served and all store merchandise will be discounted 15%.

Alyce on Grand (nee: Newfangles) will be exhibiting a collection of photos by Ken Katz entitled “Grand Lake: People and Places”. An artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. will include refreshments and music by saxophonist Sahar Miller. All regularly-priced store merchandise will be discounted 15%.

Jau Jou Studio‘s current exhibit of pop-influenced mixed media works  by Danyol  continues through the month of December. All store merchandise discounted 15%.

Alchemy Bottle Shop is exhibiting paintings and ceramic, marine animal sculptures by Lorien Stern.   Closes at 8 p.m.

Baraka Gallery has a show entitled “Tuareg:  Nomadic Artisans of the Sahara” plus they are also featuring local artists Justin Marsh who does incredible things with wood and Jamie Kelty who works in a variety of media including collage.FirstThursdaysPoster11-29

San Francisco Fiber is exhibiting works by studio owner, Lou Grantham and other textile artists.

Unless otherwise specified, galleries are open 6 – 9 p.m.  Additional information, including a list of participating merchants is available on the Grand Avenue First Thursdays website.


Bomba Dance Class
Bomba Class

If you didn’t attend the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) celebration at Studio Grand,  you really missed out on a first class event – jam-packed with music and riveting dance performances plus food and arts and crafts projects.  It was so successful, next year they may need a bigger space.  By the way, a special shout-out to the Akonadi Foundation for the grant that made this free event possible.

Studio Grand currently has seven concerts on their December calendar including another opportunity to hear resident artist, Sung Kim perform on his fabulous hand-crafted instruments on December 19th.  The very popular Soca Rhythm and Bomba classes are also continuing.  Also, for your last minute holiday shopping, be sure to check out their Designer and Craft Bazaar on December 20 from Noon – 6 p.m.AlyceLogo

As forecast last month, Newfangles is now officially Alyce on Grand.  In addition, owner Alyce Preston has instituted more convenient shop hours:  Monday – Thursday 12 – 7 p.m. and Friday – Sunday 11- 6 p.m.  December’s Lady’s Night will feature a hands-on workshop  making fabric tote bags.  Ask Alyce for details.


Urban Furniture is hosting its annual Holiday Crafts Faire this Saturday (December 6) beginning at Noon.  In honor of the Fourth Anniversary of their opening Urban Boutique, they are requesting donations of shoes and clothing on December 20.

One of our newsletter subscribers alerted me to a sign for a new shop at 3512 Grand called Tea Kulture which will offer tea, tea servers, gift packs and tea etiquette lessons.   The shop isn’t open but they do have a website.  I should have more info by next month.

Quite a few spaces on Grand are currently vacant or may become so.  I’ve previously mentioned Silver Screen Video and Citibank.  I’m thinking that the former might be the perfect location for a butcher shop/specialty grocery store – especially since it’s 3,600 square feet with a good-sized parking lot.

3335 Grand
3335 Grand.

A storefront which is now partitioned into office space is also currently for lease at 3335 Grand next to Grand Lake Veterinary.  This has 2,000 square feet with potential for ground floor retail.  The lease at Better Homes and Gardens Realty office across the street is expiring in mid 2015 and they may or may not opt to renew.  Meanwhile, there’s a for lease sign discretely placed high on the facade.  The space is massive – nearly 6700 square feet including second-floor office space.

Now that the elections are over, Mayor-Elect Libby Schaaf’s campaign headquarters (next to Camino) is back on the market.


Kwik Way is still very much in the news including this article by Matt Artz and Tom Lohner from the Bay Area News Group. As you’ve probably already heard, the owner of  Merritt Bakery will be operating the restaurant on a month to month basis. Their exact plans including a menu and opening date are still unknown as Merritt Bakery owner, Charles Griffis isn’t talking.

There are, however, several positive developments that are worth noting:

1.  The Hahn’s have been very proactive over the past several months in ensuring that graffiti and trash were promptly removed which was one of  our biggest concerns when we learned that Kwik Way had closed.

2.  Now that the property has been leased, the Merritt Bakery people have been cleaning and painting the exterior and presumably, the interior as well.

3.  A couple of weeks ago, there was a drilling rig in the parking lot taking core samples of the underlying soil.  This is an especially good indication that a developer with serious intentions is waiting in the wings.

I should add that there’s another unanswered question yet to be addressed.  Everybody calls the restaurant Kwik Way – but the neon sign was changed earlier this year to Park Way.  My guess is that a tenant on a short-term lease won’t invest time and money to return the original signage.  If that’s the case, be prepared to live with the Kwik/Park Way dilemma for a year or two and, hopefully not much more.

Peggy and Carol advised Silver Lining‘s clientele of their imminent closing in a letter dated November 28.  They’re offering a 20% discount on all merchandise through Christmas.  After which, prices will be marked down still further in anticipation of tentatively closing on January 25.

Who’s replacing Silver Lining?  I’m told that the high bidder is a European Wax emporium of which I know very little other than what turned up in a Google search.  That sound you hear is one hand clapping.Heart and Dagger Planter

On the subject of neighborhood beautification, Heart and Dagger Saloon continues to spruce up their “front yard”.  To complement the wrought iron fencing they installed earlier in the year, they’ve added large galvanized planters that are tastefully planted.  Hearts and flowers to  Eric and Allison. LakeshoreTrash

Nothing but daggers for the businesses on Lakeshore  in front of Noah’s and Starbucks that can’t seem to properly manage their trash disposal.  The adjacent photo was taken on Sunday but it’s the same general scene that has been prompting complaints for month after month.

If you’d like to go on record in support of a permanent solution to this problem,  you can cast a vote and/or add your comments on SeeClickFix.com.

Last month, I noted that (based on 4 reviews online and in print) Shakewell was the “Talk of the Town”.  Now Tim and Jen have taken it literally with a lengthy interview aired on KCBS. They’ve also just announced that Shakewell will be serving lunch on Friday’s from 11:30 – 2:30 p.m. beginning December 5.

The very welcome news over at Trader Joe’s was the introduction of  express lines – a real boon for people like me who purchase relatively small quantities that I can transport in bike bags.

Weather permitting, Lakeshore will be celebrating Christmas with carriage rides, face painting and Jolly St. Nick on Friday, December 19 and Saturday, December 20.  More information is posted on the Lakeshore Facebook page.

Ballast Point BeersLast month, I reported with glee that Lin Jia restaurant had added Sculpin IPA to their menu.  Marcia tells me that it’s been outselling any beer they’ve offered previously.

Buckingham Wine and Spirits has done Lin Jia two better and is now stocking three Ballast Point brews including Sculpin, Victory at Sea and Fathom.Rose Quartz Kimonos

If you’re heading down to Buckingham, take a quick detour into Rose Quartz which is right next door.  They always have a nice selection of clothing, jewelry and accessories.  I’m especially partial to the vintage silk kimonos and also to the gorgeous silk scarves which are made in-house from less than perfect kimonos.


LZ, our ear on the West, is taking a month-long break from her blog.  Rumor has it that she’s journeyed to the North Pole where she’s negotiating a minimum wage increase for the elves.  Look for her return in the January issue.  Meanwhile, her previous blogs are available in the West of 580 Archives.


Billal from East/West foods is back from LA after a long absence and will now be at the Saturday market on a regular basis.  Sorry, ladies, but he’s no longer  the market’s most charming and eligible bachelor. Still charming, but now very happily married.

Katie Derrig, the volunteer you’re always seeing at the market’s information booth, posted an article on Facebook about a new farm bill in which Congress authorized a $100 million to provide “Double Bucks” for food stamps issued at Farmers Markets. I’m assuming this will allow AIM to continue providing two for one pricing. If you’re the farmers market shopper who found a gray stuffed bunny and fastened it securely to a Queen Palm, the mother of a distraught toddler is extremely grateful. So much so that she gave Market Manager, Chris Blackburn, a big hug when he returned it.  I can empathize as one of my kids had an unholy attachment to a mangy piece of bright yellow, fake fur.


Jerusalem CricketThe tour of Splash Pad’s California Native Garden led by Mary Jo Sutton was an unqualified success.  Half a dozen people took the tour and seven signed up as volunteers. There will be an encore sometime in the early Spring – most likely in conjunction with Eddie Dunbar from the Insects of the SF Bay Area Museum.  Eddie always draws a crowd with his hands-on collection of creepy-crawlies. That’s him with the Jerusalem Cricket.

The Splash Pad Grand Crew boasts a small group of highly motivated volunteers who show up virtually every month.  They include Victoria Barbero, Diane Hicks, Susan Elliott, Caroleen Nord and Mary Jo Sutton.  The most recent recruits include local realtor, Jack Cooper and Scott Pinckert.

The latter’s ties to the park go back ten years when he operated Orchard Farms up in Sonoma County.  His favorite market was right here at the Grand Lake.  Currently, Scott is enrolled in the UC Extension Landscape Architecture program and he’s studying how Splash Pad and other such locations have adapted over time.

In addition to the regularly scheduled fourth Sunday work day, we’re hoping to get a couple days of dry weather that will permit us to install the decomposed walkways in the areas that have already been excavated.  If you can volunteer on a week day and aren’t already on our volunteer list, please email us at info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com.

mockfrontSpeaking of volunteers, a big “Hello and thank-you  to Ray Perman for his generous donation to our Splash Pad Improvements Fund.

I still have a small quantity of t-shirts left over from our Tenth Anniversary Celebration.  They’d make great stocking stuffers, matzoh covers, night shirts or even t-shirts and all for the bargain basement price of $5.  I’ll bring a box to the farmers market in the next couple of weeks if there’s sufficient interest registered as comments below or via  email to info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com.AdamsPointTrashCan

The Adams Point Neighbors Group has recently installed mosaics on the trash can on the Embarcadero across the street from the Lakeview Library.  We have a truly ugly receptacle on the fringes of Splash Pad Park directly across the street from the Kwik/Park Way restaurant.  What will it take to get ours beautified?


The Grand Lake Neighbors’ meeting this month has a big agenda including the approval of bylaws and the election of new officers; a crime report from our Problem Solving Officers and a discussion of flexible parking rates for City of Oakland parking lots.  The big draw and the main agenda item will be a presentation by Rev. Jim Hopkins reporting on his experience hosting Cease Fire gatherings while also serving as an advocate for non-violence. Meeting is on Wednesday, December 17 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m.

As one way to encourage Oakland residents to support local businesses, the City is offering free parking (up to the maximum time allowed at any given location) every Saturday through December 27.

DonateOaklandHeaderSimilarly, DonateOakland.org is urging Oakland residents to support local non profits by donating all their salvageable goods to local charities – not to the donation bins that have proliferated throughout Oakland. Thanks to Hack the Hood, DonateOakland.org has a new and improved website that includes a list of sixteen local non profits that are highly recommended.

That list includes Urban Furniture and Urban Boutique on Grand Avenue.  While they are currently doing their best to raise $5,000 for a used delivery truck, Campus California reported $3 million in gross receipts last year.   None of those millions stay in Oakland – nor do the goods they collect. Please bookmark the DonateOakland.org website and use it as a guideline for future donations.  If you do have clothes and shoes to donate this month, how about putting Urban Boutique on the top of your list and help them fund that replacement vehicle.

In an October 6 article, the San Francisco Business Times reported that SPUR is looking to open a branch office in Oakland.  The type of issues they’d be considering include these:

1. A larger city budget for basics like policing.

2. A neighborhood-based, “inclusive” strategy for development.

3. A larger retail base that’s “authentic to Oakland” and the “doesn’t try to copy the suburbs or San Francisco.”

4. A strategy for improving streets and sidewalks for pedestrian and cyclists. If you have questions, let’s ask Sarah Karlinsky – Deputy Director of SPUR, a Grand Lake resident and a Splash Pad Newsletter subscriber.


To get email notification, email: info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com with “Subscribe” on the subject line. All newsletters from 2007 to the present are archived HERE.



13 responses to “Splash Pad Newsletter – December 2014”

  1. eve reiman Avatar

    please put me on your mailing list.
    thank you

  2. You are indeed a neighborhood treasure for all the energy you consistently put into this newsletter, and it is a pleasure to do a bit of volunteering with you. (Listen up, potential calendar updating volunteers!)

    There will be a hiatus at the North Pole in minimum wage negotiations for the elves, so I will be able to stop by your photo display at Alyce on Grand early on Thursday evening before dashing off again. It will be a double pleasure for me: (1) love your photos and will enjoy viewing more; and (2) love the clothes available from Alyce and I need a new pair of jeans (at least).

  3. We sure could use some bike stands in front of the Ace Hardware on Grand. Does anyone know how to request that?

    1. Ken Katz Avatar

      Anyone in need of bike racks on the public right of way should contact Jennifer Stanley who is in charge of the program. Her email is: JStanley@oaklandnet.com.

  4. Molly Sealund Avatar
    Molly Sealund

    Thank you for the great newsletter! I have lived in the neighborhood for 27 years and feel more connected than ever!
    I will be looking forward to learning more. I especially like the calendar!

    1. Ken Katz Avatar

      Thank you, Molly. The calendar is far less than it could and should be. At some point, I’d like to see it updated regularly throughout the month and to be far more comprehensive and interactive. Any volunteers?

  5. Thanks for this newsletter. Great to know what is happening in the neighborhood!

  6. Thank you very much for all the work you put into these newsletters.

  7. Mary Jo sutton Avatar
    Mary Jo sutton

    Hey cool newsletter ! First time I ‘ve seen it and look there I get a call out! Great newsletter, super informative and tone is nice too. MJ

  8. I had been a long time patron of Peet’s on Lakeshore, walking my dog every morning there for coffee for fifteen years. I have now fled Lakeshore businesses because of the piles of garbage on the streets, the filth on the sidewalks and the very aggressive pan handlers. I have no intention of returning to do business in the district as I find the situation disgusting and the pan handlers frightening.

  9. I have just done a quick scan of all the newsletters from July on and didn’t see any mention of Silver Screen’s closing until this one where you say you mentioned it before. Do you have any more information about it? It really bummed me out. Thanks.

    1. Ken Katz Avatar

      Bethany, my apologies as you’re absolutely right. The signs went up at least four or five weeks ago. They’re having a sale on videos and I believe, they’re planning on closing in January.

  10. I just want to thank you for doing this, Ken! You’re a treasure.