Won’t you be our neighbor?June 23, 2010
We’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like YOU! We’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with YOU!
But really—while we’re sad that our neighbors are heading off, this means their 3BR/2BA Arts & Crafts house (which is actually two houses on one lot, with a newly built 2BR/1BA cottage in back) is for sale. And just down the street, another neighbor’s 2BR/1BA TIC unit is for sale (sorry, this one seems to be in escrow or otherwise off the market!) in an Arts & Crafts fourplex, which means we get more fun new neighbors. It’s been nearly three years since any homes on our block have turned over, so I’m excited to see who’ll be moving in.
If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I think we have a pretty awesome little block and ‘hood. But I figured this was as good a time as any to spell it all out.
TOP TEN REASONS I ♥ OUR BLOCK:
1. Walk everywhere! We can walk to:
- Upper Broadway/Auto Row shops and restaurants (3-5 minutes)
- Lake Merritt (5 minutes)
- Bus stops for the 11, 51, and 1R, which will get you to Downtown Oakland and Berkeley, Temescal, Rockridge, San Leandro, and beyond (3-10 minutes)
- Bus stop for the Transbay bus—several lines to choose from depending on which way you walk, including the NL, which runs all day long and through the weekend, unlike most Transbay lines (5-10 minutes)
- Kaiser and Pill Hill doctors (5-10 minutes)
- Piedmont Avenue shops and restaurants (10-15 minutes)
- Uptown restaurants (10-15 minutes)
- 19th Street BART (15 minutes)
- MacArthur BART and the Emery-Go-Round (15 minutes)
- Grand Lake/Lakeshore shops (15-20 minutes)
2. Bike everywhere! We ride our bikes (and take the bus) to many of the spots listed above, and also to:
- 19th Street and MacArthur BART (5-10 minutes)
- Downtown Oakland/Old Oakland (10 minutes)
- Jack London Square (10 minutes)
- Temescal (10 minutes)
- Rockridge (10 minutes)
- Emeryville (10-15 minutes)
- Berkeley (15-20 minutes)
3. Easy access to BART and the freeway—but far enough from both to be healthy and quiet, as city living goes. If you’re freeway-bound, it’s just minutes to the 580, 880, 980, and 24—how’s that for choice? And because MacArthur BART is a major transfer station, you can get to all of the East Bay lines in one spot. We hop on BART (or drive) to:
- Downtown Berkeley/UCB (15 minutes)
- Downtown San Francisco (15-20 minutes)
- Alameda (10 minutes)
4. Lots of everything nearby! Within two miles of home, we’re fortunate to have:
- Restaurants and coffee shops galore (including the brand-new Commonwealth and three new restaurants due to open this summer!)
- Grocery stores (Whole Foods, Oasis Market, Piedmont Grocery, Trader Joe’s, Grocery Outlet, and Safeway, plus lots of little produce shops on Piedmont, Grand, and Lakeshore)
- Not one or two but THREE great weekend farmer’s markets: one on Saturday (Grand Lake), two on Sunday (Temescal and Jack London)—and that’s not even counting the Friday Old Oakland market!
- Bike shops (Bay Area Bikes, Pioneer, Montano Velo, Manifesto, Tip Top, Cycle Sports, and hopefully soon Spokeland!)
- Parks and playgrounds galore, including Mosswood and Lakeside Parks (and, of course, the lake!)
- The Oakland YMCA, yoga and martial arts, gyms, Mosswood Rec Center, the Temescal Pool, your choice of library branches, and more
- Mosswood Dog Park (one half for big dogs, the other for little dogs!)
- Schools (Piedmont Avenue, Lakeview, Cleveland, Hoover, and Emerson Elementary Schools; Westlake Middle School; Oakland Tech; Oakland School for the Arts; St. Paul’s; St. Leo’s; Park Day; Archway; and Grand Lake Montessori, not to mention all the preschools)
- Theaters (Grand Lake, Piedmont, the Paramount, and the Fox)
- Children’s Fairyland, the Lake Merritt Gardens, and the Junior Center of Art and Science—all within walking distance—and the Oakland Museum, Museum of Children’s Art, and Studio One, not too much further afield
- More religious and spiritual spaces than I can list!
5. Wonderful friends
Our neighbors will fill a whole table at our wedding…’nough said! We got incredibly lucky when we landed on our street—the people we share our block with are pretty awesome, and I love that we live in a place where people still sit on their front steps and talk (okay, or drink homebrewed beer and amazing whiskey sours made with backyard lemons…) Dog-sitting? Baby-sitting? All covered!
6. Shared harvests
If you move in, we will give you bushels of persimmons! (Okay, actually we’d give you bushels of persimmons anyway, but you get the idea…) I have a lot of fun trading fruits and vegetables with our neighbors, and collectively our block has lemons, oranges, apples, figs, loquats, cherries, more lemons, pomegranates, persimmons, plums, even more lemons, tangerines, and more. There are also plans afoot for a communal chicken coop in one neighbor’s yard.
7. Active block watch
Yep, we’ve got one of these too. And because we have all sorts of different work schedules, there’s almost always someone around, keeping an eye on what’s going on. We have access to each others’ homes and cell phone numbers to call if a dog gets out or a garage door is left open. For city living, that’s hard to beat.
8. Inside the Shan Dong delivery radius!
Think you want to live in Temescal or Glenview? Well, I’m sorry to break the news, but Shan Dong won’t bring you any dumplings there! This is the place to be if your favorite late-night snack involves handmade noodles and steamed buns, since they’ll only deliver within 1.5 miles of the restaurant—and we just squeak in. Mmm!
9. Block parties
Our street hosts an annual National Night Out party every August (this year’s will be August 3rd) and we’ve been talking about trying to have block parties more regularly in the summertime, too. Come check it out and meet the neighbors!
In the time that we’ve lived on our street, I’ve learned a lot about its history (much of which is documented here) and the rich history of this neighborhood. I’m a lover of old houses to begin with, and the more I learn about the families who’ve lived on our street over the generations, the more connected I feel to it. Our neighbors are talking about having a 100th birthday party for their 1912 home, and it’s pretty cool to know that at one point, two brothers lived on our street, one in our home with his family and the other in theirs. And our next-door neighbor’s house was built by the same family that built ours, so we love to compare notes on what’s been changed or kept the same over the years. If Arts and Crafts homes are your thing, there are some great examples tucked in amidst the mid-mod buildings that abound in our neighborhood.
Have a question about our ‘hood? Feel free to send me a note, and I’m happy to answer it.
Disclaimer: I have no interest in the sale of either of these properties, other than wanting some awesome new neighbors! For specific information on the properties themselves, you should contact the respective realtors.