Saturday, July 22, 2006

Visiting Dimond Park:

We decided to make our way to Dimond Park; we figured the creek there would offer a cool and relaxing spot to hang out for awhile. We were hoping that there would be lots of kids there to talk to.

We rode off of MacArthur down on to Canon Street, a small and winding road banked with lots of trees. As we pulled up into the park’s entrance, we were greeted by a group of excited three and four year-olds—they had never seen a tandem bike before. The two adults with the kids were very curious about our signs. They definitely agreed that we were not in East Oakland but in Central Oakland. They said that East Oakland started after Fruitvale. It is interesting that not too many folks have talked about Central Oakland. The two bus drivers we spoke to in West Oakland (May 31st ride) told us that downtown was actually Central Oakland. The term ‘Central’ seems to imply a kind of neutrality.

Dimond Park is a pocket of green idyllic calm. Nestled in the Sausal Creek canyon, the park is mostly rolling green hills. Centrally situated is a lovely swimming pool and near to that is a newly renovated playground. The park is named after Hugh Dimond, a Gold Rusher. Read here for a history of the park’s development and some information about Sausal Creek: “When one visits the park today, there is a small, difficult-to-read plaque that sets forth a bit of local history. According to the plaque, the utility building across from the restrooms has incorporated adobe bricks from the 1897 Dimond cottage, described as a "playhouse" for the Dimond children, although a brief history on an Oakland Parks Department map references the adobe bricks as being from the Peralta home.” Up until very recently, the park was graced by an ancient oak tree. The tree was unfortunately cut down since its core was fairly rotten; the city was worried about being sued.

The park was welcomingly full of people for a Friday afternoon. Most of the parks that we have visited so far have been surprisingly empty. Not so here: there were kids everywhere, engaged in summer camp games. Young moms and dads were strolling babies around. Yet with all of this activity, no one wanted to talk to us. A lot of the kids were curious about the bike, but camp counselors and parents alike hurried them along and told them not to touch anything. We were pretty tired ourselves from the ride and the heat.


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