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2006-05-11 16:02:46.236798+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

This article about the troubles of telegraph avenue whines about the usual suspects:

But some believe that an increasing number of people are avoiding the neighborhood because of the homeless who frequent the area -- especially the youth. And one city official said the merchants of Telegraph Avenue simply have not kept up with the times.

I used to enjoy wandering along Telegraph, all the Berkeley characters, spending time in Moe's and Cody's, picking up the vibe, but last time Charlene[Wiki] and I went up that direction it wasn't the homeless youth who turned us off to the area... it was the lack of them.

Telegraph Avenue used to have culture. It was punks and hippies and downright weirdos and edgy culture and cheap eats and... well... I don't remember if there actually was a Starbucks there, but there may as well have been. The police presence was more obvious, there were various signs warning of dire consequences for drug posession, and the boutiques on Fourth Street have more character.

I haven't been back to Telegraph since, and, given that Cody's is closing their original location, if I ever head back up that direction it'll only be to park for an event on campus.

There was a big push to "clean Telegraph up". Telegraph had been one place where wandering through the drug dealers and the raving naked people and the street vendors wasn't a "am I going to get knifed?" experience, like even the Tenderloin can be, it was a place where all of those cultures could mix. Then there was a big push to "clean the place up", and... well... there's nothing left.

Be careful what you wish for.

[ related topics: Bay Area Nudity Sociology Law Enforcement California Culture ]

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