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Neighborhood Stories- 3 Houses

At some point every day, I go for a walk in my neighborhood in Berkeley. It is a modest neighborhood of mostly one-story bungalows , an occasional apartment building, and a scrappy commercial district . But every few blocks, there is a larger house or building that isn’t part of the pattern. And I am fascinated with these exceptions to the rule. The Fish-Clark House … Continue reading Neighborhood Stories- 3 Houses

The Tiny Shops of The Tendernob

This is an update to a post from last year

We live on the backside Nob Hill. When you stand up at the top , near Grace Cathedral, and look south, your eye follows the canyon of the street down towards Market and the Tenderloin. Between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill, is the Tendernob. The Tendernob is one of the densest neighborhoods in the country outside of Manhattan. In fact, it feels to me like a slice of Manhattan right here, lined with 6-story apartment buildings end to end.

Its a neighborhood populated with a mish mash of working professionals, art students, seniors, and, as always, assorted characters. There is an eclectic mix of buildings in the neighborhood. More interesting perhaps,  a fascinating collection of   tiny mom and pop shops . Many of the apartment buildings have tiny spaces, sometimes almost closets really, on the ground floor available for lease. In the parlance of the industry, these shops are known as micro-retail, tiny business incubators. The shops reflect the neighborhood; hair salons, tiny clothing stores, and assorted tchotchke emporiums, selling everything from paperclips to paper dragons.  What’s been interesting over the past couple of years is to watch them . Some are stable and thriving, other spaces have hosted new tenants every 6 months. And in one sad case, a fire has brought the demise of another, in that case, the very spot where I get my haircut. Here’s a look around:

Leftover Spaces

As mentioned above, many of these spaces are at the base of apartment buildings. Often , a result of the sharply sloping streets, small leftover spaces are created, and  turned into leasable space. Here are a few just down the street. 

Each of these spaces is no more than 10 feet wide, and maybe 25 feet deep. This particular group includes a small graphic designer and a accupunturist. Here’s a close-up of the accupuncturist, this space can’t be more than 8 feet wide, the waiting room a single chair:

Continue reading “The Tiny Shops of The Tendernob”

Syracuse Rising- A Rust Belt Love Story

Like many, I went home for the holidays to be with family. While home , I took a walk in my old “hometown downtown”- Syracuse, New York. It conjured up a lot of memories walking for a few miles along the Creekwalk, a newly opened path through the heart of the old city. Here’s my diary: Getting Re-Acquainted- The Mall At some point , a … Continue reading Syracuse Rising- A Rust Belt Love Story