The best place to watch Oakland's fireworks is not in Oakland. It's
from the opposite side of the water, in Alameda. (Don't worry —
the back of fireworks look just as good as the front.) However, before
you head for the Webster Street Tube, let's talk about its absolutely
worst place to watch the fireworks: the shoreline next to the former
Alameda Naval Air Station — too far away from the official
fireworks, too close to an injurious array of illegal fireworks set off
by drunken pyromaniacs heedless of life and limb (especially yours).
Another too-popular viewing spot is the Wind River corporate grounds
— tamer surroundings, but still too far away. Instead, from the
Tube, make an immediate right at the first exit (Mariner Square Drive)
and follow it as it curves to the right. Three hundred yards past the
Mariner Square Athletic Club, look for a guardhouse onto an unmarked
road. If nobody's there — or if you can talk your way past the
rent-a-guard — drive in toward the estuary and you're home free.
Otherwise, make a U-turn and park near the athletic club or beyond.
Join the milling crowds in Mariner Square, but don't join them. Turn
left and slide through a narrow opening just left of the Beery Yacht
dealership. You'll find yourself on a huge, sparsely populated parking
lot of a former military base. Look for the barge anchored in the
middle of the estuary, and you'll be right below the exploding