With this installation of Road Trips, we’re taking a bit more of a bohemian angle. Fittingly, we’ll be going just to the fringe of Berkeley, to the little town of Albany. It’s not for a park, or a theater, or anything like that. I’m actually recommending a visit to a landfill with a wild history and a ton of unique art.
In the late 1930’s, the creation of the Albany “Bulb” began. Land was leveled and moved around and pushed into the Albany peninsula for the creation of the racetrack at Golden Gate Fields. Over time, the land was protected by Save The Bay, and became somewhat of a lost project. For many years, the peninsula served as an occasional hiking and dog-walking spot, as well as being home to many local species of plants and animals.
Eventually, the Bulb became a homeless haven, with as many as 60 squatters living there before being evicted (some forcibly) by local authorities. While that population was on the Bulb, they created sculptures, and paintings, and even a makeshift library that has since been burned to the ground. But, today, it is still a sight to see: views of the Bay, art everywhere, unique traces of generations past.
For those who aren’t into the graffiti, wooden art or macabre feel (kinda feels like a scene from The Walking Dead), there is a beach nearby that dogs can be on without a leash. The Albany Bulb is a weird, exciting, confusing display of East Bay history.
You can easily spend half a day wandering its pathways and finding strange art from decades ago. Try going out there on a nice day, and you can always go back into Berkeley for a nice lunch or dinner on your way home!
My team and I recently coordinated a local coat drive to donate clothing to One Warm Coat, an organization that gives clothing to the homeless and others in need during winter.
I’m proud to say that we had so many contributions, we had to use two cars just to haul all the bags of coats to One Warm Coat! I really enjoyed meeting everyone when I stopped by to pick up the coats and for those who dropped them off on my doorstep or left them on their porch for me to grab, I am shouting out a big THANK YOU ALL so much!
Your contributions will go a long way in keeping people warm this winter who otherwise might not have been. Keep an eye out for another One Warm Coat drive next year!
Walnut Creek is now home to a temporary winter homeless shelter at The Armory sponsored by Trinity Center. It houses up to 30 homeless families while providing transition assistance in an effort to place them back in homes after their stays at the shelter.
As many of you know, I did a One Warm Coat drive that was featured in my latest newsletter. Trinity Center was the beneficiary of those coats, blankets and sweaters, along with a few of the Trader Joe’s gift cards I was giving out to the first 10 respondents. I want to thank all who donated. We ended up with about five large-sized trash bags full of warm goodies.
If you have never stopped by to drop off food or clothing, I highly recommend it. It is an eye-opening and rewarding experience. We were greeted by a group of men sitting in the living room staying warm and eating chips and dip. They kindly offered to carry in our bags of clothes. The staff is kind and grateful.
The Trinity Center is a non-profit based in town here on Trinity. It provides basic human services such as food, showers, laundry, clothing, mail and telephone access.
The City Council of Walnut Creek passed the proposal earlier in the year, to use The Armory on Carmel temporarily through the winter and now it’s officially in operation.
I first heard of the program when it was called Fresh Start and a neighborhood boy asked his mom how he could help the homeless. As a result, Creek Kids Care was born with local kids of all ages having art parties and creating note cards to sell. The money raised was donated to what is now the Trinity Center. What a great story that shows what one small child can set into motion.