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Why First Friday Should Relocate To International Boulevard

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Do you ever get bored? It happens to me, and First Friday, while fun, is also conceptually kind of stale. It’s on Telegraph Avenue, which is fine, but if anywhere in Oakland could be described as touristy, the street that inspired a popular novel by Michael Chabon and a song by Childish Gambino is definitely it. 

And while I love the thoroughfare that connects Downtown Oakland to UC Berkeley as much as anyone else, it doesn’t really benefit the communities in Oakland that need help the most. Also Downtown Oakland and much of North Oakland is hipster Oakland. It’s the place where people who went to college move to in order to pretend they don’t like white people despite the fact that they’re never in the hood.

Why aren’t they ever in the hood? Because they hate white people. That’s why they spend more money to live by them. You know, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Or something.

International Boulevard, or as it used to be known, E. 14th is not only ungentrified, it’s ungentrifiable.  It’s East Oakland’s principal street. It stretches from Lake Merritt to San Leandro, and it’s a better representation of Oakland’s reality than Telegraph Avenue ever will be. International is the type of street that you could make a Vice Documentary about back when Vice was cool.

Those were the days. 

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All shade aside, East Oakland needs money, and First Friday would allow small businesses in the area to benefit from the economic activity that neighborhoods like Temescal take for granted. San Francisco took the Warriors, and Las Vegas took everything else. These sports teams were really the only reason people from outside of the area came into East Oakland other than to illegally dump. 

And that’s fucked. 

Could you imagine how fun a First Friday would be in Funktown? They could set up shop at Clinton Park. Not only could I walk to it, but people could spend their hard earned money at restaurants owned by immigrants instead of a pop up owned by a 27 year old from Minnesota who pretended to be a chef because they swore they saw a silhouette that vaguely looked  like Anthony Bourdain during their Ayahuasca trip. 

These people are fine. Follow your dreams, but vegan corn dogs shouldn’t cost $12. This is something I’ve actually experienced. If you’re in Oakland from Minnesota and you’re not a Somali serving me pancakes, don’t even fucking look at me. Also shout out to Abdul and his pancakes. You’re a gentleman and I’m glad you’re here. 

I’m being an edge lord, but I have a point. We need to create opportunities for people to spend money in economically depressed areas without gentrification. East Oakland is 7 miles of economic stagnation, and the people of East Oakland deserve better.

And it doesn’t have to be Funktown, it could be anywhere in East Oakland. How great would Friday Friday be at the intersection of 73rd Ave and International? 

So great. 

You can’t go around repping Oakland if you only spend time in Rockridge. 

Help me help you… 

This article is clearly tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, East Oakland needs something to fill the void left by professional sports, and I think relocating First Friday is a step in the right direction. 






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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is an Oakland-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground is available now!