Berkeley street parties celebrate neighborhood safety

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Neighbors met over watermelon in the 1700 block of 10th Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

More than 50 Berkeley neighborhood and business groups came out Tuesday night to meet, mingle, eat together and get to know each other during the 30th annual National Night Out celebration. The festivities included visits from police and fire department staffers, as well as local officials and other municipal representatives. Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso rode along with Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan and Capt. Andy Greenwood as they visited some of the parties around town. See photographs from the event, including several submitted by Berkeleyside readers, below.

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The Downtown Berkeley Association held an ice cream social featuring treats from Almare Gelato. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Kids and their pets were in on the fun during the 10th Street Neighbors celebration. A resident from Ninth Street who sat in the sun watching the party, Mary Barnes (not pictured here), said a recent homicide nearby made building community connections especially important: “People are working long hours and often just see each other in passing. Events like this help break down barriers.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Pizza time with the 10th Street Neighbors. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Authorities said they appreciated the chance to connect with members of the public socially, rather than during an emergency. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Bodyworker Hulda Nystrom offered free chair massages during her neighborhood’s block party on 10th Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley Police Capt. Andy Greenwood gets to know some of the neighborhood kids on 10th Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The block party at Oregon and Dohr streets in South Berkeley. Photo: Laralynn Rapoza

The block party at Oregon and Dohr streets in South Berkeley. Photo: Laralynn Rapoza

Neighbors met at Shattuck Avenue near Los Angeles Avenue. Photo: Colleen Neff

Neighbors met at Shattuck Avenue near Los Angeles Avenue. Photo: Colleen Neff

Traditional banjo – banjo – tambourine – synthesizer group for National Night Out. Photo: Kester Allen

Traditional banjo – banjo – tambourine – synthesizer group for National Night Out. Photo: Kester Allen

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

At 10th and Channing Way, neighbors enjoyed live music and a potluck. Michael Anthony (left), who one attendee called the equivalent of the neighborhood’s “anchor store” for community building, said: “When we stand out visible in unity and association with one another, criminals are less inclined to look at this as a place to operate.” He pointed to the “high degree of interaction” in the area, with residents helping with mail, pets and property matters during vacation and other times of need. “Humans are social animals so, if we socialize, that’s healthy.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan spoke with city residents throughout the night. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Neighbors hang out on 10th and Channing. Some (nearby) discussed getting a call from a neighbor when her smoke alarm went off, and another said she’d gotten a call when she left her gate open. “People are watching, and it’s nice.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, photo Linda Maio's office

Councilwoman Linda Maio (left) said National Night Out is a great time to hear about problems and concerns, as well as neighborhood successes, that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily come to her attention. Here, she visits residents on 10th Street. Photo: Lars Skjerping

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Suzann Hagan said her neighborhood has been holding the annual potluck for decades: “You just never know who’s going to show up. We take care of each other on this block. It’s a matter of being a community, not building a community.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

A social call by the Berkeley firefighters is always a highlight. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A social call by Berkeley firefighters is always a highlight. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Little ones in the 1600 block of Belvedere Avenue take note of recently arrived Berkeley firefighters. Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Kristen Zuidema (center, with cookies) helped organized the event on 63rd and Adeline streets. Her partner Matt Woll said events like National Night Out can have lasting impacts: “When we have fun together, we owe each other additional civility later on down the road. It’s harder not to acknowledge people on the street when you walk past them.” Added Zuidema: “It leads to more kindness.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, at 63rd and Adeline streets, helped organize a movie screening of Ratatouille for National Night Out. About 80 neighbors of all ages attended the screening. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Related:
National Night Out comes to Berkeley on Tuesday (08.02.13)
Fighting crime in Berkeley one potluck at a time (08.08.12)
Company of neighbors, good food at local block parties (08.03.11)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

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  • Truth Sayer

    Great looking photos. Now that is a community!

  • Pwll

    In all these pictures I see only one African American. It’s been my observation that these block parties often neglect to spread the word to the African Americans in their communities.

  • http://www.caviarcommunism.com/ West Bezerkeley

    Great photos Emilie

  • Suzanne

    Certainly NOT at ours. We looked like the United Nations. Every race was included, and we had a blast. Tons of food from every culture. These are only a few pictures, with none from ours.
    Suzanne
    Oakland Hills area.

  • emraguso

    thanks! it was a great night!

  • emraguso

    We only made it to a fraction of the events but we welcome reader photos via email at tips@berkeleyside.com if anyone has any they would like to share.

  • rusure

    try recounting, I think your math is off

  • Igor Tregub

    Our block party on 10th Street (first one featured in the photos) grew more diverse as the night wore on. A number of people joined us after returning from work. It was wonderful to meet neighbors who have looked out for one another for as long as four decades in some cases! Thanks for covering, Emilie!

  • The_Sharkey

    Why go straight to the racism angle? I only see two Asian Americans and no Native Americans. Is that the result of racism too? Or are the groups seen in the photos just reflective of the demographics of their specific block?

    While Berkeley is overall a very diverse city that doesn’t always carry over all the way down to the block level.

  • Juanito Curlazo

    That traditional banjo-banjo-tambourine-synthesizer band looks a lot like a traditional ukelele-bass ukelele-snare drum-synthesizer band to me.

  • dogscat

    “Why go straight to the racism angle?”

    Because that’s what we do in Berkeley .. we love celebrating the oppressed. Other explanations need not be discussed, especially ones that assert expectations on the protected classes.

  • the art of living

    ” It’s been my observation that these block parties often neglect to
    spread the word to the African Americans in their communities.”

    Yes. This year our apartment on a black street got one flyer. It was folded up and stuck in the building manager’s box so nobody saw it until after. This is a lot more notice than we got in years past. It’s fine. We have low crime. The kids are playing outside all the time. Everyone’s friendly. We don’t need to make a big production out of it, invite the police, and get a story in the paper just to be able to say hi to a neighbor.

  • TN

    National Night Out happens annually at the same time of year. All the events are organized and publicized by neighborhood volunteers. The next time there’s a call for volunteers, raise your hand.

  • Pwll

    As I look through the pictures I see many people of color,
    but only one I can really identify as African American. I see many asians, many whites, many whose ethnicity I can’t identify. I did indeed get involved in a neighborhood
    get together — not National Night Out — but something similar and when I said
    I was going to pass out leaflets to the people in the apartment buildings I was
    “discouraged” by one of the organizers. I did it anyway. This same organizer suggested that people in the apartment buildings should not be included in earthquake safety plans — “the owners, perhaps,” he said, could be included. There have been other incidents, but I don’t want to get to detailed because my intent is not to dump on the people involved, but to point out that a subtle racism is going on here and we need to all be aware of it.

  • Just Sayin

    Shakers don’t get no respect…

  • SW in the house

    Pwll is accurately describing my Berkeley neighborhood. Maybe it makes people upset that he/she’s saying it out loud but that’s interesting too. Pwll’s describing the objective truth and some people want to argue why it must not be true.

  • Pwll

    Thank you, SW. I felt a little uncomfortable saying this, but I really felt it was important that we take note.

  • TN

    I’m not arguing that what Pwll is saying is not true. I don’t live in the same neighborhood. I am saying that because these events are self organized activities, that Pwll as a volunteer can take it upon themselves to do the publicity in whatever way seems appropriate regardless of what other people think. Xerox copies of flyers don’t cost much. $5 will get a lot copies. If there are internet social networks where there are many neighbors are members, that publicity is essentially cost free.

    National Night Out events are open to all neighbors.

  • SW in the house

    I appreciate that TN and I don’t think many or maybe even any of the people involved think of themselves as or in any way intend to be racist. Maybe there’s a few that are exceptions but that isn’t what this is about.

    National Night Out seems pretty unintentionally funny to me. “We gonna bring out some food, talk to the neighbors, and the kids will be playing in the street.” Oh yeah, really? And you need flyers and police and local politicians before you can do all that? My goodness.

  • TN

    It sure is easy to call people “unintentionally” racist.

    In our neighborhood in West Berkeley the person who started our annual event so many years ago is an African American woman. The current main organizer is African American man.

  • SW in the house

    “In our neighborhood in West Berkeley the person who started our annual event so many years ago is an African American woman. The current main organizer is African American man.”

    What’s your point?

  • guest

    Unless you see many multiples of 50 photographs, these photos are representative and not documentary. See what I’m sayin’?

  • feeling_left_out_too

    Well I was just thinking “WHY do I never hear about these events?! How did I miss this?!! Why isn’t my block/neighborhood organized?” I happen to be a caucasian in the gourmet ghetto neighborhood. You’re entitled to feel hurt, but it’s possible that nothing sinister is the cause.

  • guest

    Block parties are supposed to be for the residents of the specific blocks they happen on so that neighbors on that block can get to know each other. If everybody on your street is black then it was a black person who didn’t put flyers in your apartment boxes.

  • Objectivity Doesn’t Exist

    >”truth”
    >objective

    lol

  • classaware

    I think what you’re getting at here is classism, not racism.

  • NOT_Emilie

    Here is an appeal to Pwll and all of his or her ilk to PLEASE STOP making these pathetic posts about who is or isn’t in photos included with B-Side articles. Had Emilie (an excellent reporter) written an article on this subject, that would be one thing. However, she did NOT report ON THE SUBJECT OF RACE.

    Rather, she wrote an article about some of the reportedly fifty gatherings, a few of which she attended, presumably for a fairly short time at each. Some of that time she was at a given location, she also took photos. Some of those photos are included with her text. She DOES NOT claim that her photos document everyone who attended every event.

    It’s fine to comment on the actual article. It is ignorant and offensive to claim to respond to something that has nothing to do with the subject of the report.

    Thanks.