The old main drag

The Times almost lost me in fewer than 25 words with today’s “36 hours in Berkeley, Calif.” feature:

ANYONE who thinks that Berkeley is just a hotbed of political radicalism is in for a surprise. College Avenue, the town’s main drag…

“The town’s main drag”? I guess that’s defensible, as long as you don’t count Shattuck or Telegraph or University or Solano or San Pablo or MLK or Bancroft or Durant or — you get the idea. Not a single place mentioned in the article is on College Avenue except Cole Coffee, which is deep into Oakland.

Despite that dubious claim, I plowed on. If you ever want confirmation of the fact that the more you know about a subject, the less accurate newspapers seem, then read a travel article about a place you know well. This was particularly glaring:

5 p.m.

The best views on campus aren’t from the 10-story Evans Hall, but from Indian Rock Park. Wedged in a residential neighborhood along the city’s northeast, the park has large rock outcroppings that offer 360-degree views across Berkeley and Oakland, and over the Bay into San Francisco. For more spectacular sunset views, bring some rope and carabiners: the main outcropping, Indian Rock, is a practice site for rock climbers.

Hm. This may be an editor’s clumsiness, but it’s not clear how the best views on campus can be from a park that’s a mile away. Maybe we need one of the topologists inside Evans Hall to explain this — assuming they’re not too busy looking out their windows at the nice view.

Oh, well. I have to admit that I’d never heard of the East Bay Vivarium. And at least the important stuff — Moe’s and Berkeley Bowl — was spot on. Also, we now know how long it takes the New York Times to cycle through its list of places where the Times’ prized demographic might want to spend a weekend: the last 36 hours in Berkeley feature was about four and a half years ago. The Pacific Film Archive, the Botanical Garden, and Tilden Park were must-sees back then, too. Moe’s was recommended for book-lovers, but Berkeley Bowl was as yet undiscovered. Check back in late 2012 or so for another status report.


5 responses to “The old main drag

  1. the place's fault

    My moniker doesn’t quite fit, but I couldn’t think of one that did. Anyway, if the most glaring error in the piece is that “on campus”, the piece must have been pretty good. That the rocks were in a “residential area” was specified, after all… I like the word “vivarium”–sounds like a little oasis in a cemetery world. I want to weekend there (how do I make that “there” italicized? [Editor’s note: Done!]).

  2. I think you need to know a little html: <i> before the stuff you want to italicize, then </i> after the stuff you want to italicize. So writing <i>there</i> in your comment will make it appear as there.

    It’s true that the article wasn’t so bad. The usual cliches about ex-hippies on Telegraph Ave and so on, but that just goes with the genre.

  3. #2 on the most e-mailed list! The top of those rock outcroppings are going to be jammed.

  4. But still beat out by apocalyptic physics. Probably just means there are a lot of NYT readers in Berkeley, not that a lot of people want to visit. You can gauge the crowd level at Berkeley Bowl when you come.

  5. It gets worse! Today’s article analogizing Brooklyn and the East Bay seems pretty confused about where San Fransisco is…

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