7.1 out of 10

Longfellow

37.830917068445 -122.272681362584
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Safe & Sound
  • Clean & Green
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
May 22, 2012

"Up and Coming Longfellow"

We've lived in Longfellow since 2003 and have watched the neighborhood change tremendously over the years (including the name Longfellow being re-instituted; when we moved here this was simply "North Oakland"). The recent housing bust has allowed more folks from SF to buy houses in the area, which has had such a positive impact.

We now have a Facebook page where people easily organize park cleanups, seed-bombings, and ask each other advice. The streets are starting to fill out with the trees we've all been planting. The bike lanes on Market and West are filled, all day, with commuters and joy-riders. And most importantly, we are all getting to know each other better - we talk to each other, compare notes on crime and blight issues, and work *together* in order to make our neighborhood great.

While Longfellow doesn't have it's own commercial strip (though I would give money to any Kickstarter campaign that went towards opening a coffee shop on Market) we are but three long blocks to Telegraph, with its restaurants, coffee shops, yarn store, bike store, gaming store... closer than some spots in Temescal. And should you need to make that Target/Home Depot/Ikea run, the wonder that is Emeryville is but a block away.

The F bus runs down Market. The Macarthur BART is a quick 10 minute walk away (and if you commute, more and more people are walking West from Macarthur to get home at the end of the day). The bike ride to the ferry is a near straight shot down Telegraph/Broadway. I regularly ride my Xtracycle to Berkeley Bowl West through the Emeryville Greenway to go shopping.

To be fair, there are things we don't like about Longfellow. There is crime, in the form of break-ins and stolen cars, but no more than in Rockridge or Temescal. And there are shootings, which seem to take place in spurts depending in if there is some turf war happening. The shootings are a real drag - the fact that we are no longer shocked when we hear of a shooting is sad - it it the thing we like the least about Longfellow. They tend to take place late at night, and seem to be personal beefs rather than robberies gone awry.

But the positive energy of the neighbors is what sustains us. The folks walking their dogs, and more and more, their kids, down the block. Beautiful gardens popping up. Block parties, organized greening events, neighbors offering to help neighbors. Truly wonderful stuff happening here.

If you want a decent sized house with a fairly big yard, with great, eclectic neighbors, amenities all around, and lots of public transportation options, Longfellow is for you.
Pros
  • Proactive Neighbors
  • Affordable Rents
  • Close to Freeway
Cons
  • Occasional Street Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
juliobrz
juliobrz This review seems to be the most updated review. The editor's choice seems outdated and loses sight of all the transformations taking place in the area.
May 23, 2012
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2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Nov 25, 2010

"Trapped Circa 1939"

Longfellow is a working class neighborhood stretching to the northwest of the junction between Highway 25 and 580. This is a neighborhood frozen in time since WWII. Less than one in ten of the homes here were built in my lifetime. That means that you can get a real sense of what this area of the Bay looked like at the mid point in the previous century. The majority of homes in this neighborhood are walk-ups with bay windows. Some of them are Victorians—though not really of the same style as those in most neighborhoods across the Bay as far as I can tell.

Many of the homes are really unusual in terms of architecture. I am really not sure what these types of homes are called. For example, some of them have a pointy front roofed façade at a sharp angle and then give way to a more gently sloping roof behind that. Many of the homes are also brightly painted in greens or blues. They are mostly built on tiny lots of the kind popular during and before the War; and many have unkept front lawns or thick bushes that curtain passersby from seeing to the front door.

Six thousand plus people live here. There have been four murders so far this year, three shootings and one stabbing. (There have been 124 murders in Oakland to this point this year.) The four victims were young persons of color, two young men and two young women. A sad state of affairs. Other kinds of crime are also high in this neighborhood, especially at its southern edge.

In many ways, the neighborhood suffers from urban blight. You can see the signs of this as you pass by on the freeway. The homes closest to the freeway tend to have boarded up windows and missing roofing. The southwest corner of the neighborhood seems definitely to have the worst of it. The housing is particularly ramshackle in this section.

That said, there are a few signs of hope that go beyond the liquor stores and the tattered asphalt of the streets. Back when our new governor, Mr. Brown was mayor of Oakland, he helped to inaugurate the Oakland Military Institute. The idea behind the school is to take middle schoolers from the Oakland area and insert them into a rigorous military school style education program that will teach them discipline and leadership skills that will help them to better themselves, their families and their neighborhoods. The charter program did come under some criticism as most such programs do, but when Brown finished his tenure as mayor it was touted as one of his successes.

Despite these more sobering facts about living in Longfellow, the neighborhood also has at least one compelling draw on the watering hole front. Café Biere is one odd little place that outsiders love to visit—it offers a French Bistro style beer hall where the beer slinging wait staff wear low cut French village pub type attire while serving California cuisine and German draft beers in tall glasses. Quite the sloshy experience.
Pros
  • Affordable Rents
  • Cool Pub
  • Close to Freeway
Cons
  • Ugly, Flat Streets
  • Dangerous
  • Rundown Homes
Recommended for
  • Hipsters
juliobrz
juliobrz This review is outdated. Information no longer reflects the nature of this neighborhood.
May 23, 2012
AdamS
AdamS hi juliobrz - what has changed in the neighborhood to make you say that?
May 24, 2012
juliobrz
juliobrz Many modern buildings have been built recently and more is under construction at the moment. The new Macarthur Station BART Village and the new Kaiser Hospital are also adding to the attractiveness of the area. There's an influx of young professionals and diverse families into the neighborhood, as many older residents are now moving to assisted living in the suburbs, like Orinda, where the elderly like to retire. Trees are being planted everywhere and there's a well-organized community effort to green the whole area. It's happening on a daily basis. Pixar and Emeryville is just a hop away. Houses are being renovated and more and more homes show pride of ownership. No, it's not your cookie-cutter blah suburb. It's lively and urban--so you have to have a certain appreciation for city life and everything this neighborhood has to offer. It is truly in the heart of the Bay Area.
May 24, 2012
NightOwlnOrinda
NightOwlnOrinda I sort see what you mean. There are some newer buildings along Adaline (sp?) and Yerba Buena and I can see the attraction if you are fresh out of college of living near Emeryville and that area. My review is a couple of years old and I may simply not have noticed many changes going on back then.

I would probably have been one those types attracted to this area back when I got out of Berkeley--I must have gotten soft in my middle age. A bit too much crime and urban hassles for my taste now.

Orinda, btw, does have an old folks home but I would say the average resident is roughly middle aged and raising families. Point taken though, Julio; I will keep an eye out for Longfellow. Apologies if I was overly harsh in my assessment.
May 24, 2012
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4/5
Jul 20, 2009

"Great neighborhood and lots to do"

One of my streets reviewed really reviews the great pool they have in this area. Good restaurants and transportation is readily available with BART. Also the great park and rec center.

And of course it boarders Temescal Creek, parts of which are great to visit and scenic though a lot of it also has been built over so you may be better off taking a trip to the lake.

There is also the large Paramount Theater. Aside from the entertainment there is great art inside as well. There is some interesting local culture with the University in the area as well which also makes for some great coffee places. I love Aunt Mary's Cafe‎.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees