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The People's Guide: Gaby Kupfer Shows Us Around Oakland's Temescal Neighborhood

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, lead by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This week, we welcome Gaby Kupfer; friend of Curbed SF

[Photo courtesy Gaby Kupfer]

Neighborhood: Temescal, Oakland

Tell us something we don't know about the Temescal? It's become a lot better in recent years. Mosswood Park has almost completely shed it's moniker "Dead Hooker Park," and become a place for birthday parties and athletic practices again. There are a number of new businesses opening nearby, which has given our neighborhood its own identity beyond "laundromat-gas station-toilet sales."

Local Customs of note: Scraper bikes, the occasional muffler whistle. There are often yard and cocktail parties on our block. Bike Church on Sundays at Manifesto is a great way to get in my allotment of street food and a bit of essential unique music. Lots of porch sitting and neighbor-greeting.

Hidden Gems in the Temescal: Geo Kay's on 41st and Broadway sometimes has pretzels and a cute boxer hanging out. Homeroom is opening across the street from the bike-coffee-records trifecta of Manifesto, Sub Rosa and 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on 40th and Shafter, which is quickly gaining its own identity separate from the hub bub of the Temescal commercial district. We're also a pretty crafty neighborhood - I often find myself checking the East Bay Creative Reuse Center on Telegraph for miscellaneous craft supplies, and Article Pract on 50th and Telegraph for all my making needs. Mama's Royal Cafe at 40th and Broadway has the best organic, local diner food I've ever had in the Bay Area, and the service is really great, even if the wait is long.

Are your neighbors "Rotten Neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not ... well, why not? Right next door is a lumberyard, which is thankfully on the living room side of the house, not the bedroom side. On the other side is a live-work warehouse compound, and they have a lot of children's parties in their adjacent backyard. Across the street is another crazy derby girl (my roommates and I all skate for the Bay Area Derby Girls), as well as an old folk's retirement home. There used to be a weed dispensary across the street, which was fun to watch when people would get into fights in front of it, though I'm kind of relieved to say they moved somewhere else.

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's not-so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? If your nabe is an underdog, what's being overlooked? My rent is inexpensive - we are paying less for a three bedroom with a yard here than I was for a tiny one-bedroom in SoMa last year. We do live a couple of blocks from the hoe stroll, and the laundromat on the corner is pretty sketchy. My neighborhood is up and coming, so you have to know how to keep your head down and play nice around here. Then you get to live within the closest proximity to the best crafting and snacking joints in the Bay.

The final word on the Temescal: Oakland really is a fabulous wonderland on the other side of the bridge, but don't move here, I don't want my rent to go up.