Monday, March 03, 2003

There is a there there. Was checking out Stephanie Young's blog about the delightfulness of Oakland and smoking cessation. Though not originally from around here, Oakland has cast its spell on her. I've lived in Oakland all my life. Was even a product of the Oakland Unified School District. And though I've travelled around the country, I can never quite imagine myself leaving the area.

People who live in San Francisco often see Oakland as the other side of the world even though Oaklanders cross over the SF all the time, but maybe that's the snootiness of city living. Something about water and a bridge.

Though the news loves to give Oakand a bad rap: those crazy Raider nation fans, the homicide rate, ebonics, there's a lot more to Oakland than meets the eye.

When I used to go to school in Alameda, our Alameda friends weren't allowed to come visit us because we lived in "dangerous" Oakland. Grant it there are some rough neighborhoods that I wouldn't really visit during the day, much less than at night. But there are so many diverse neighborhoods to visit: Chinatown, Grand Lake/Lakeshore, Piedmont Ave, Koreatown, Fruitvale. Oakland has been a minority majority city for ages.

Then there's Lake Merritt, with concert pagoda, the garden center, Children's Fairyland, bird sanctuary, boating, rowing, and Gondolas (yes, real Italian gondolas float out there).

While everyone heads to San Francisco for the "big" city life or the suburbs for the quaint neighborhoods, Oakland has both with a bit more sun, and fabulous sunset view of SF. It's addicting really.

And hopefully there will be a new cop drama starring Danny Glover that portrays Oakland in all of its ups and downs. Check out Chip Johnson's column in the Chronicle.

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