Well, let’s admit it: Dolores Park is fucked. As if the bulldozing wasn’t enough, buzz-kill narcs are actually busting people for drinking. Before you waste your breath arguing for your non-existent right to booze in public, take a little jaunt with me, just over the Bay, to a place I like to call Dolores Beach.
On the briney shores of Lake Merritt, there’s a strip of grass right under the Fairyland sign that 20-somethings have colonized in the name of aimlessly chilling about. Trust me: this should serve as a more-than-adequate substitute for Dolores Park.
- 10 minute walk from 19th Street BART
- Lake Merritt is usually about 5-7 degrees warmer than SF, and often sunnier.
- Oakland PD is currently understaffed (but growing) and too worried about real crime to bust you for drinking.
- Look how pretty Lake Merritt is!
- Actual wildlife in the form of a ton of geese, ducks, cormorants, night herons, egrets, and the occasional pelican.
- Less crowds=less shitty people
- You can rent a paddle boat
- No piss smell
- Lakeside Park is now “dog friendly”
- There’s this one dude that sells ice-cream, sometimes
- If it gets crowded, there are other places in lakeside park to chill, like Dolores Beach 2 on Lake Merritt Boulevard
- Fuck Geese
- Also fuck paddle boats
- Real people exercising might make you feel self-conscious about your beer-filled muffin-top
- Sometimes the algae blooms create a sulphury smell
- Shit, where’s the bathroom? I’m like three beers deep bro
- No one is selling weed brownies
- Goose shit everywhere
- It’s harder to look cool and anonymous with less centralized chilling locations
- Gotta buy your booze from Whole Foods instead of Bi-Rite
- You can’t get into Fairyland without a child, which is total bullshit
- Seriously, does like Fairyland have a bathroom I can use?
- Don’t whip your dick out to pee, there’s kids around
- You might be speeding up gentrification
In fact, that last point is very nearly a lost cause. Oakland’s rents are rising fast, with tons of competition in hip neighborhoods—sound familiar? And just this week, early-rising Oakland residents were treated to a true, lasting image of the SF Tech Culture Imperialist Blitzkrieg: this dude and his goddamn pontoon bike (if we want to get technical, isn’t that really more of a catamaran bike?). Somehow I don’t think he would have gotten away with this 10 years ago.
So with temperatures slated to be in the 80s this weekend, forgo your usual Dolores Park afternoon and familiarize yourself with Lake Merritt. After all, there’s a good chance we’ll all be living in Oakland in a few years. #bikelyfe