One of those “the best camera is the one you’ve got on you at the time…” shots. In this case, of course, that camera is my iPhone, and I’d ridden my bicycle past this sight (in the Fruitvale district of Oakland) on the way to work that morning, thinking it looked cool, but the light was in the wrong place, and I’d never be back in time later that day to do it when the light was in the right place — and in a day or two the flooding would be gone anyway. But I got off work early, and there it was. I go past this building almost every day, one way or another, and until recently it housed a working business; but now it’s up for sale or lease, and gentrification can’t be far off (just like much of the rest of my neighbourhood). I can’t help wondering how long it’ll be before this place ends up in another Now And Then article here….
I live in the Jingletown district of Oakland, California. Nowadays it’s basically a fairly mixed neighborhood with a bunch of artists and galleries along with the inevitable techies and others. But when I moved in all those years ago, it was still semi-industrial (hell, it still is on my side of the street), and very few people actually lived here. I started taking photos of the place immediately, since it was visually interesting — lots of tin sheds, real workshops, small-scale industrial companies, etc. Some of these are still around, but a lot of the older places have either been torn down and completely replaced, or like this place on Glascock Street, renovated in a way that seems to say “high-priced Architect”. It’s pretty typical of some of the changes around here, and in this case at least preserves some of the more interesting bits of the facade, and I kinda like the effect. But it’s also symptomatic of the fact that many of us who’ve lived here for a long time can’t afford to live here any more. But that’s Progress, right? We always get rid of the people who pioneer a place like this and make it attractive….
Tug “Richard Brusco” working the Estuary off the Dutra Yard one winter’s twilight, as seen from Union Point. I’m not really much of an obsessive tug-spotter, but I do like the atmospheric feeling in this image, and it’s such a typical sight around where I live — a large workaday tug setting off for home (Seattle) or out onto the Bay. Most tugs you see around Oakland are smaller tractor tugs; this one’s more likely to be seen pulling large barges or scows along the coast, I guess.
Jingletown’s Real Urban Wildlife I live in the Jingletown district of Oakland, a busy semi-industrial neighbourhood down by Oakland Estuary. It’s changed a lot in the fifteen or so years I’ve been living there, but one thing hasn’t changed: it’s teeming with urban wildlife. I don’t mean the inevitable raccoons, or the squirrels, or the cute deer eating rose bushes (there are no deer in Jingletown, I’m pretty damn sure of that), I mean the industrial urban wildlife: forklifts, concrete trucks, shipping containers, truck trailers, tugs, barges, homeless RVs, discarded shopping carts, couches and TVs — things like that. I see this sort of wildlife every time I’m outside in my neighborhood. It’s everywhere, if you know what you’re looking for (I think most people just filter it out). It scurries around all day (especially the forklifts, which I have to dodge or ride around almost every block down East 7th riding my bicycle to work), or lumbers up 23rd Avenue or Kennedy Street (the concrete trucks), or it appears overnight on the street (especially the couches and the shipping containers), or it slowly moves from place to place over the days and weeks. It hides in the bushes and parks, or under the freeway over crossings, or it’s penned in […]