Central Station

The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Is Oakland the Next Brooklyn? The Tale of Two Bridges

I see billboards stating "Oakland Is. San Francisco Was." I hear "San Francisco talks about diversity. Oakland is Diversity." I hear the more and more frequent shock of "Now my friends actually want to visit me instead of me having to go to them in SF." Even San Francisco Magazine features an entire issue to the fact that It's Oakland's Turn - with new restaurants, art, movies, location, and housing for half the cost of San Francisco, they say Oakland is set to take off faster than SOMA did 10 years ago. Last week a couple I know in their fifties was overjoyed at their recent decision to trade out of Pacific Heights to experience everything that the East Bay has to offer.

So what's the scoop? I certainly won't take any shots at San Francisco...I lived there for years and loved every minute of it. To be honest, I was a little sad and a little worried about leaving too. I have East Bay roots that would cause me to drag my friends across the bridge every now and then, but otherwise most people I knew had no reason and no interest in seeing what the other side of the bridge offered.

3 weeks ago I moved to Oakland, and I've gone through a very quick transition...at first, I was okay leaving San Francisco only because I knew I was still so close to being back there. As long as I could be back in SF in 15 minutes, then I really wasn't leaving (or losing) all the things that I loved so much in the city. What I've quickly found, however, is that Oakland has everything I needed from SF right here. The restaurants, bars, galleries, hiking trails, running trails, cycling routes....no shortage of them in Oakland. That certainly isn't to say that I don't still head back to SF, but I learned that I wasn't 15 minutes away from everything I needed - instead, I have everthing I need at home but am only 15 minutes away from any SF urges, friends, or shows that I need....simply said, I have more options, not less. And when it comes to value, I turn to my old friend Homer Simpson:

So with 5 miles creating hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, I'm certainly not complaining about my decision. There came a turning point when New Yorkers wanted to head into Brooklyn, not out of it, and I think Oakland may have come to the same crossroads with San Francisco.

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