~Last night in Uptown~

This is a report onThursday  June 18th’s “Uptown Unveiled” street festival. Better posted late than never. Life gets busy. 🙂 -Ed.

Skateboarding contest

Skateboarding contest (Photo: Stephen Loewinsohn) http://www.stephenloewinsohn.com/

Last night’s street festival in Uptown was beautiful.

Fire truck

Nearly beyond words. Here are a few money quotes:

“Tonight’s event wasn’t publicized very well or in publicized in advance at all but it was a smashing success.” –Tom Murphy, D1 resident

“This is called traveling in style… I feel rich!” –passengers in my pedicab (the blue one)

Oh, the pedicab. I ferried more entertaining drunk single women last night than the NYMTA. Everyone seems to like mua because it’s super hip. I had a good time at Ozumo myself. Luka’s was also off the hook. I’m sure Somar had a good night and Van Cleef looked happening as usual.

Speaking of pedicabs/rickshaws whatever you want to call them, there were two others out last evening: a green one owned by a long-time resident (he was here in the 80s before Jerry Brown’s dto redev plans happened, named Jengis(?)) with a cool name I can’t remember and cute kids in tow, and a yellow Oakstercab from the Oaksterdam guys. These two pedicabs worked more of the “early shift” while I took the night shift.

Oakland blogger Becks posted some photos here.

Scenester Report:

  • Every bar and restaurant in the area was packed on a Thursday night
  • Pulse-raising bmx and skateboard competitions featuring local kids
  • V Smoothe and crew doing the pub crawl
  • Nancy Nadel enjoying the main musician stand
  • tons and tons of people… literally!! 🙂
  • light shows
  • kettle corn people
  • Crucible’s fireball flare-off special (using their “fire” truck)
  • Mike & Allison & “baby betty”
  • my old neighbors from Temescal
  • people on stilts and skates in funky costumes
  • Samba dancers. Yay!
  • people trying out a Segue (why are there so many Segue enthusiasts in uptown? 🙂

According to one city staffer I spoke with, putting on the event cost around 60k and change. This means that unfortunately the city can’t afford to do it every month. I think if the city did do it every month during the summer, Oakland’s downtown resurgence would happen faster. The local BID and businesses chipped in too, though not sure how much. I’d say the latter put in at least 400 man hours preparing for Uptown Unveiled, extending  hours or increasing staffing.

(Photo: Stephen Loewinsohn)

A big thank you is much deserved for City of Oakland staff, DTOA and LMUA business association staff, including street sweepers and security (hey, Kevin!); OPD/ACS; Phil Tagami of FOX Oakland redev fame, The Uptown apartment’s staff, performers and community members who put on a neat show; The Crucible’s burrningmanish peeps; local media for helping advertise from the early morning hours; and everyone who came for having a great time and starting no brawls and enjoying Oakland. It’s been a long time coming.

As it is, many happy out of towners will probably be coming back for more. I know, because as a rickshaw driver I had the opportunity to ask folks where they were from. Alameda, Oakland, East Bay (over the hills), Fremont… definitely a regional “East Bay” event, not sure if any SF bridge-and-tunnel people made it. Is DTO the new Walnut Creek or San Ramon? Haha. I guess we don’t have our own Santana Row yet — not that I like the place much. (Wonder how they are doing now, with luxury no longer “in.”)

Everyone I talked to after the event was too exhausted to send out thanks yous or write up reports like this. That includes me. Ultimately thought it was worth it!!

Upon a later retelling of the event, someone was amused by there being a “giant cotton plant” in the middle of Oakland. Oh geez 😉

Suggestion for next time: post route signs for “cable car” and pedicab shuttle stops and a map beforehand, not during the event

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