Berkeley Hills

Photo by Joe Reifer

The contrast between the hills and the flatlands of Berkeley comes up often in historical accounts of Berkeley and in current-day conversations about Berkeley. I have talked to a number of people who own homes in the flatlands of Berkeley but hope someday to “trade up” to a house in the hills. I have also encountered some envy and even a few disparaging remarks about the “hill people.” For the most part, though, people seem to appreciate the variety offered by the different parts of town. After a number of walks in the hills, I began to notice that the Berkeley hills are somewhat different from the affluent hilly neighborhoods that I have encountered in other parts of the Bay Area and beyond. There are plenty of large homes with sweeping views of the Bay, but there are also some modest homes mixed in. The photo here (taken earlier this year — I just remembered it after a recent and surprisingly difficult search for a notary) shows a view of a small, one-story ranch house up in the hills. The other houses on the street were much larger, but this one sat amongst them appearing to be untouched by any remodeling.

Another characteristic of the hills is very apparent to a walker is the lack of businesses. Most other neighborhoods have a commercial strip of some sort in the vicinity. It would definitely present a challenge to the walker or cyclist, but I have not doubt there are at least a few people who live in the hills without a car and find ways to haul their groceries up the streets and stairways. One day on a Sunday morning walk on a street bordering Tilden Park, a woman walking out of a house asked me if I knew where she might get some cigarettes around there. It appeared as though she had been at a party up there and stayed the night. I had to break the news to her that she was a long way from a corner store.


1 Comment »

  1. Spike said

    There are plenty of large homes with sweeping views of the Bay, but there are also some modest homes mixed in

    That mix is very much a characteristic of Woy Woy I’m glad to say.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: