Most Endangered East Bay Landmark: Paradise lost?
The Albany Bulb
Park in the dirt lot next to Golden Gate Fields off Gilman Street in Albany. Bring your dog, your camera, and a good set of walking shoes. When you head up one of the trails, you'll soon notice there's a lot more to see here than in most small parks in the Bay Area. It's not just the native plants and wildlife, which have returned to reclaim this former city landfill since its closure in the 1980s, or the beautiful view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. An unexpected outdoor gallery of art awaits you at just about every turn around this bulb-shaped piece of land. It just may not be here for long. After the closing of the landfill, the City of Albany has lobbied hard to turn the Albany Bulb into anything but what it's become. Since 1999, it has bulldozed twelve homeless encampments, cleared out other settlements and "debris," worked to enforce leash laws, and tried to remove the art installations. Artists, activists, nature lovers, pet owners, and other free-thinking troublemakers continue to protest these plans. So far, with the exception of protecting space for the homeless, these groups have had their way, but who knows how long that will last. So get there quick currently, spectacular wildflowers congregate on the hillsides and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere.