Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where’s the Coffee and Bacon Factory?

Right across the street from the cereal factory is another mysterious building. It was mostly demolished, and covered in graffiti. Still visible were a lot of piping and some enormous metal tanks. My new neighborhood friend was able to clear up this mystery, as well. He says the building used to be a Carnation factory. That’s right; across the street from the cereal factory was where for many years Oakland’s milk came from.

The thing that surprised me the most about the site was the sheer size of the vacant lot left behind. Even in Oakland, a vacant lot covering more than a square block is an unusual sight. I suppose it won’t remain vacant for long, though. I am curious to see what ends up being built there. Condos would be my guess, although you could probably put a Target or a Wal-Mart there. That might not be the worst thing in the world. Honestly, in that area, the only mom-and-pop operations are check-cashing places and the kind of liquor stores where they ask you if you’d like your booze “for here or to go?” If ever there were an urban neighborhood where you could put a big-box store without anyone losing a job, this would be it.


Anonymous said...

Please keep your Wal-Mart, and your Target, and whatever other sprall you envision to yourself, and out of West Oakland. It is not a solution to the real needs of this neighborhood.

How much did you really see on your walks? Did you meet the folks at Esters, buy groceries at the 200-Mile Produce stand, help out at City Slicker Farms?

I'm sorry that we don't measure up to your standards of a good neighborhood. But maybe that means you should just stay away. Yes, this neighborhood is poor, and, yes, we have a long way to go. But we don't need your half-thought-out remedies, and we really do not need your condescension.

Nicole said...


I can see that I made you angry and I'm sorry. I'm also sorry that my tone came off as condescending. I didn't mean that, either.

You're right, of course, that a big-box store is a half-thought out remedy. Obviously it's not the best answer. (And I know that half-million dollar condos aren't either.) I apologize for my flippancy.

Oh, in answer to your question, no, I haven't met the folks at Esther's yet. As it happens, though, I'll be walking Seventh Street very soon, probably this week. Also no on 200-Mile Produce. I was planning on pushing further west before exploring the area south of Seventh Street where the stand is, but I may reverse that plan now.

Thanks for the reality check. You raise some really good points and I'll address them in the blog.