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.
Extending as far as the eye could were white tents against bright sunny skies—along with Kettle Corn stands, giants slides and stages for acrobats—as Telegraph Avenue welcomed visitors during the ninth annual Temescal Street Fair on Sunday.
Residents and people from neighboring cities strolled the ten blocks to participate in rides on mini Ferris wheels, watch martial arts demonstrations, buy T-shirts from Oaklandish and eat chocolates from Hoopers and Korean barbeque made by community business owners.
Over 200 people gathered on 49th Street, just off of Telegraph Avenue, to sit down in the middle of the street and watch a documentary film screened on the side of the Bank of the West building. The weekly tradition in the summer, known as the Temescal Street Cinema, started its season last Thursday and has been a part of the community since 2008.
Take a look at Temescal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – a place where rail lines ran across Telegraph Avenue, and businesses thrived on the side – and Temescal today. What has changed? What has survived?
One of Temescal’s oldest subdivisions was once of the state’s grandest amusement parks. On the blocks of what are now Spanish stucco-styled homes bordered by Shattuck and Telegraph Avenues to the east and west and between 56th and 58th Streets, Oakland’s Idora Park at one time brought thousands of visitors from near and far for its myriad attractions. Built in 1903 by railroad baron and borax king Rodney Ingersoll, the park was open about 30 weeks a year and boasted…