In Dave Newhouse’s Sunday, March 29th, 2009 Good Neighbors article answers THE QUESTION “Oakland's wonderful despite warts”
Excerpts from that article:
THE QUESTION, of course: How can you live in a place like Oakland?
I quickly grew to like Oakland because of this cultural diversity, which has increased over the years. More than any other Bay Area city, Oakland resembles a pocket-size United Nations in its citizenry. Fascinating, indeed.
A fact that's often lost because of Oakland's crime figures, but its residents do get along as a rule. And you can have a good time in Oakland because it's hospitable, not haughty.
People eat well here, too. Oakland has the best soul food and — sorry, San Jose — the best Mexican food. Oakland has the Bay Area's premier ice cream parlor in Fentons, the best pizza at Pizzaiolo, the best bakery at Bake Sale Betty's, and the funkiest watering hole (now that the Kingfish is closed) in Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon.
Yoshi's of Oakland is the best local jazz club, intimate with great acoustics. However, Oakland is a phantasmagoria of international music in its wide-ranging sound. While the Oakland East Bay Symphony isn't as wealthy as the San Francisco Symphony, it isn't as staid either. OEBS director/conductor Michael Morgan is willing to experiment with new composers, and successfully.
And Oakland has restored — count them — two classic vintage theaters in the Paramount and Fox. Name another town where you've seen this happen.
When it comes to sports, Oakland tops San Francisco in world championships with eight (A's four, Raiders three, Warriors one) to five (all 49ers). No major-league city has anyone like Al Davis, who has been a coach, general manager, owner and commissioner, plus he moved his franchise out of town and then, uniquely, moved it back. Only in Oakland.
Oakland has much to offer, including fantastic hiking trails in its hills. And College Avenue, as I've stated before, is the greatest street in America — even before it hits the Berkeley city line — because of its incredible diversity.
Add the quaint European village-like atmosphere of the Montclair district, and that's yet another reason THE QUESTION doesn't bother me quite like it does some outsiders.