Unique and self-expressive communities and neighborhoods in America come and go. Some rise to fame and become emblematic of their place and time, like Greenwich Village or Haight Ashbury, only to later become co-opted by the established style-market that then sells back to the young newcomers the symbols of what were once their predecessors’ struggles and original expressions. Often when moving about these communities, you meet the few stragglers of bygone times and are told “you should have been here when...” 10, 20, or even 5 years ago. It seems that, in our world, if something appears that is too good, too rich, too exceptional, too cool, it’s just not bound to last.
But there is a community in Oakland, California that has ridden the ebbs and flows of both ocean and cultural tides with creativity and exceptional individual human character for well over 4 decades, and continues to do so today. This neighborhood, a few acres at the water’s end of 5th Avenue, skirting a small edge of the Oakland Estuary fed by the Bay of San Francisco, has been a repository of a mixed breed of industrious and creative individuals dating back to 1854 and the tenure of Horace Carpentier, Oakland’s first and colorful, however dubious mayor.
This book is a visual catalogue of this neighborhood.