Arts and Culture

A.A. Cohen was a transportation man. He built the San Francisco & Alameda Railroad (SF&A) in 1864. By 1868, Cohen had also acquired interest in the Oakland Railroad and Ferry Company. He sold both. The sale made Cohen a wealthy man who could afford the best. In 1872, He and his wife, Emilie, hired the architectural firm of Wright and Sanders to help them express their affluence.

Spring has sprung on the Island, making this great time to get out and ride a bike or take a leisurely stroll down our lovely tree-lined streets and picturesque avenues. It’s no secret Alameda offers an incredible variety of architecture and beachfront vistas to enjoy, but next time you’re out and about, slow down a bit and take a closer look at the amazing art that is all around us.

Vigilante James Farwell, consul Frederik O’Hara Taaffe, steamboat captain Robert R. Thompson and their families once lived on an estate that today’s Alamedans know as Lincoln Park.

Park Street lacked a brewery where hops lovers could enjoy some high quality suds. But that space is now being ably filled by the brand-new Alameda Island Brewing Company, a welcome addition to Park Street and the Island that sits on the old Cavanaugh Motors spot just a stone’s throw from the Park Street Bridge.

Gone are the days when our sleepy Island rolled up the sidewalks at sundown and the only action to be found on Park Street was the jukebox at the Buckhorn. Nights in Alameda are now alive and buzzing with unique events and creative gatherings all over town, just waiting for folks to venture out and join in on some good ol’ fashioned fun.

The following seven weekly happenings – one for each night of the week – are examples of just a few of the wonderful, homegrown activities taking place in an Alameda neighborhood near you.

Alameda’s Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach was renamed in 1973 for the state Assemblyman who championed its state public park status and use – preservation for all Alamedans to enjoy year-round. Crown died at the age of 51 after being struck by a car while jogging. But his memory and accomplishments for our city are kept alive here.

Writer and Bay Farm Islander Steve Hockensmith is a busy guy. A prolific author, husband, father of two and some-time dog wrangler, Hockensmith published four books in the last year – no easy feat when you’re also holding down a nine-to-five day job.

This April, he’ll be undertaking an additional task: traveling to New York City as a finalist for a prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, his second nomination since he was up for Best First Novel in 2007.

Cinema Grill, on the corner of Central Avenue and Oak Street, isn’t your average restaurant. Co-owner Elgina Conner said her vision for Cinema Grill, which opened quietly late last year, was to create a place that is hip but fun and accessible for your whole family.

Tensions run high when feuding neighbors lie, cheat and sneak around to get what they want, leading to bitter betrayals with tragic consequences. No, it’s not an episode of Real Housewives. It’s the breathtaking story of Lucia di Lammermoor, by Gaetano Donizetti, and the next exciting performance presented by the newly formed and locally grown Island City Opera.

Really? Opera here in little ol’ Alameda? The answer is yes!

I was excited when I heard there was a new BBQ place opening up here in Alameda. Being from the South, I crave the slow-cooked smoked meats of my youth and have had a hard time finding good places that do it right. So, last Sunday my family and I ventured out to Alameda South Shore Center to give the Best Lil’ Porkhouse a try.