I have finished my move (mostly) and find myself once again – you guessed it – in the suburbs. This is my cute little backyard, complete with BBQ. It is incredibly quiet, most of the time. I did hear one helicopter overhead this weekend. It could have been a medic transporting the child who was hit by a stray bullet over the weekend. Probably gang related. I haven’t had the heart to look. So many stark contrasts here. I love Oakland but it still has a ways way to go.
Years ago, the thought of moving to “East Oakland” would never have even been entertained. But, after winding up in the Dimond District several years ago I realized the description “East” is too broad. There are so many neighborhoods in Oakland, which is one of the larger cities in the Bay Area, geographically.
My new neighborhood sits to the south and yes, to the east of Lake Merritt (Sidenote: I once had a new kid in town tell me “everything this side of the Lake is “East Oakland”. He was (surprise!) from the Temescal area in Northern Oakland, near Berkeley.)
Maxwell Park is a little over a mile from Mills College, and cute as can be. A planned development, yes, but the plan was they all had to be unique. No cookie cutter homes here. The K System streetcars ran right by here before the “end of Toon Town”. Fortunately, it’s on a road to nowhere, really, so there are very few cars that go by on a given day. It also sits midway between 580 and 880, so that adds to the flavor of what I used to call “an old people’s neighborhood”. All the houses are so well kept, and have alarm signs poking out of the landscape (more on that later). However, after a couple of walks up and down to Foothill Blvd. For supplies, I saw more young families than anything. Two young woman with little ones strapped to their backs, chatting away. People pushing strollers and walking dogs. Funny old dudes plodding along the sidewalk.
There’s a pretty little bistro, bakery, too. They had decadent chocolate cupcakes and mini cakes and croissant for eating or sandwiches. The dark Ethiopian coffee was delicious, but I only came away with only a couple of cookies this time (and yes they were amazing). More on that place later.
The shopkeepers were friendly, of course, with a mini mart on almost every corner. The Mi Pueblo grocery store is less than a mile away, so I’ll be able to walk there and back, though rumor has it there’s a free shuttle that will get me back up my steep little hill. Yes, again, with the hills!

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