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Best Homeless Encampment 

The Shanties of the Albany Bulb

Just a stone's throw from Interstate 80 and Golden Gate Fields racetrack, the Albany Bulb open space plays host to any number of transients who've set up improvised wickiups among the foliage of the bluff for years. These guys are homeless, yes, but they kind of have it made. With a gorgeous view of the expansive bay and Marin, and a popular beach dog park just down the hill, it's not a bad spot to hang your hat, and hell, it beats most Bay Area rents. Perhaps the best-kept secret of the encampment is the bizarre public-contributed art in the area: a mermaid painted to a beached concrete tube, an amphitheater built from trash remnants, and graffiti of all kinds. Many an outdoorsy pot smoker has likely been spooked by the evidence of these Bulb dwellers, who are said to be friendly enough in a don't-bother-us-we-won't-bother-you kind of way. And if you lose your shirt at the track, it may even be worth asking your broker about.

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