By Janice Davis
It is the early afternoon of June 27, 2014 when I decide to visit the Eastmont Town Center on 73rd Ave and MacArthur. The weather is sunny and breezy.
The Wellness Center offers numerous medical services, a lot of which are free. A lot of people come in for the resources. For example, when I asked for a dentist appointment, the administrative assistant said that they were booked until early September. There is also a lot of medical and social support for the elderly and the disabled. The Wellness Center has made Eastmont a familiar place for community members, families, nurses, doctors, seniors, youth, and public health workers.
Upstairs is the Oakland Public Library Eastmont Branch. You are likely to see people using the computers there. On the right side of the library is a PrimeNutrition Market – a place for fresh produce, snacks and bottled drinks. On the left of the library is the Senior Center, provided by the United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County. One of the signs in the office window says “Senator Feinstein’s ‘Stand Up for Social Security.’” The Social Security Office next to the office was filled with people, which added more meaning to that statement.
The Bancroft side of Eastmont Town Center has most of what’s really left of the retail stores that used to occupy Eastmont Mall. There are typically a lot more people here, mainly families, who come to shop. Rainbo is a relatively cheap clothing store that appeals to a lot of young women and some of my peers. The store has a lot of trendy clothing choices that fit today’s definition of “urban chic.”
There is the Gazzalli’s Supermarket, which has both preserved and fresh foods at affordable prices for residents in the area. There are also a Taco Bell and a Burger King, which go against the healthy vibe of the rest of the Town Center.
There were little flyers promoting the Lyric Performing Arts Academy 2014 Summer Camps located on Franklin St on one of 57 AC Transit Buses to Foothill Square. I think it’s interesting how buses not only transport people but information as well.
The main thing I notice about driving towards Foothill Square on MacArthur Boulevard are the many liquor stores. There are other businesses, such as beauty salons, barbershops, and tax services.
Most of the buildings on this street look under-maintained from the outside. For example, one of the buildings has small, mostly curtained windows, chipped paint, and graffiti littered on its walls. However the sign on the building says Elmhurst Pharmacy and there are cars in the parking lot, which may signify business. Buildings in bad condition have become a norm in areas in East Oakland. It makes it seem like certain parts of town seem abandoned. In my experience, this environment makes me feel uncomfortable – as if I don’t really belong here, nor does anyone else. But the fact is people are here, and are forced to live and work in this environment.