A bygone world of whimsy and magic lies beyond the gate to Oakland’s Canine Circus School for dogs. The Metcalfs, masterminds behind the school, have curated their backyard with unusual trinkets, archeological artifacts and colorful collectibles, turning the space into part sculpture garden, part creative playground for man’s best friend.
Adnan Ahmed, a Pakistani immigrant in a blue plaid shirt, looks gloomily around the 41 St Discount Store, just south of 41st Street on Telegraph Avenue in Temescal. At 10 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning, the aisles of the small grocery and liquor store are devoid of customers, and the only thing that seems to cheer Ahmed up is having somebody listen as he recounts his tale of woe.
Sacred Wheel, an unpretentious cheese shop in Temescal, offers a funky menu featuring Pabst Blue Ribbon tomato soup, pickled eggs, and a Sriracha-infused sloppy Joe on what the menu calls “the trashiest bun we could find.” The eclectic menu is mirrored in the décor (a toy dinosaur with a chunk of cheese in its jaws presides over the cheese counter), and the staff (nearly all employees have a caricature of themselves on the wall, and the staff are decorated with…
The quiet but vibrant Telegraph Avenue in the northwest side of Temescal is lined with busy coffee shops, small candlelit restaurants and thrift shops. It is a prime location for mugging — mostly cell phone snatching — in a neighborhood that is seeing robberies go up. The response to these crimes is dividing the neighborhood.
An open forum Monday night at Homeroom in North Oakland drew nearly a hundred concerned residents who packed into the restaurant and onto the surrounding sidewalks to discuss the Temescal area’s recent surge in crime.
The fourth annual event put on by the Temescal-Telegraph Business Improvement District included 27 restaurants this year. Crawl-goers ducked into restaurants or stopped at outside food stalls to sample the diverse offerings.
In the last few years, the Temescal District has been heralded as one of the most culturally diverse communities in the city. Its growing popularity has resulted in increased interest from business owners and residents who are vying for a space within the community. But over the last few months, the number of robberies and thefts that have been reported to the Temescal Telegraph Avenue Community Association and the Temescal Merchants’ Association has shown an increase, the members of those associations say, leaving local merchants frustrated and asking for more help from the police and the city.
Books weren’t the only things flying off the tables at the Temescal branch of the Oakland library on Saturday. In the backyard, boxes full of succulent plums gleamed in the sunshine at the library’s North Oakland crop swap. Gardeners bring their excess yield and set them on the table for others to take. While there, they are free to choose from items on the table that their fellow gardeners have brought to share. Meanwhile, Moms in the basement were giving and getting new ensembles for their kiddos.