51st and Telegraph: One intersection, billions of stories
on June 22, 2009
This summer, four News21 reporters are reporting the heck out of one intersection in Oakland: 51st and Telegraph streets in Temescal. We’re building an interactive, 360-degree panorama of the intersection, with tons of stories about history, crime, traffic, and anything else we discover.
Today, Temescal is home to high-end yarn shops and cutesy ice cream parlors. But we’re talking to old-time residents, collecting their memories about Temescal’s many, colorful pasts. We’ve met Italian-American gentlemen who started families here in the 30s and 40s, lured by jobs at the Italian-run Oakland Scavenger trash company. Today, new cafes are opening their doors to Temescal’s latest immigrants, the thriving Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. We’re examining everything from the lamp posts to the manholes, and talking to everyone we meet in between.
This week we launched Right Now at 51st, a sort-of slideshow of people’s thoughts as they cross the intersection in real time. Here’s how it works: people text us the answer to one very simple question: “Why are you here right now?” Sometimes, they throw in a little description about who they are.
So far, we’ve gotten replies as simple as “Working,” to more detailed messages like this one.
“Why are you here right now?” has yielded some great replies, but maybe you could help us write a new question.
What should we ask our text-message correspondents? What are they thinking? Where are they headed? What’s good at Betty’s? Let us know in the comments, or blow us up elsewhere:
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