Berkeley’s Avenue of Thrills

by Steed Dropout
Dec. 23, 2014


Doris Moskowitz cleans up Moe's after recent protests. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Tienda Ho, formerly a few doors from Berkeley’s oldest espresso, was a classy womens’ clothes shop with a branch in Santa Barbara. “Our Berkeley customers were intimidated by the neighborhood,” a Ho owner told espresso, explaining Ho’s decision to close its Berkeley location on a block of Telegraph Ave. swollen with transients.

The Ho Location recently opened as an artsy tea purveyor. Trouble followed, last week, when an unstable Telegraph habitué harassed a tea-shop customer and followed her to the Caffe Mediterraneum.

Tea Shop Crime-Scene. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The customer told me she had permitted the man to join her at the Med, but realized she had made a mistake. Within a few minutes he had angrily denounced her and stormed out of the Med, nearly colliding with a customer at the door.

[Up-date: harassed customer adds: I smelled alcohol on him in the tea store. At my table he said “the rich are evil,” and I disagreed, saying that “not all rich people are evil, and he flew into a rage.”]


A new street girl in town stole the Med’s chocolate shaker off the counter. She grabbed it off in seconds and was out the door.

Med owner Craig Becker is a man who rarely suffers a burglary without fighting back. He has chased many a petty larcenist for blocks. When informed of the snatch, he flew out the doors of his cafe and pursued the alleged thief a half-block away, where they struggled for possession of the shaker and, as usual, Becker won.

After struggle with street-person, in red, Becker retrieves purloined chocolate. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Later, back behind the counter, Becker thoroughly washed the shaker and shined it until it glowed. “It might have been infected with germs or worse,” Becker joked, putting the finishing shine on the stolen chocolate powder container.

Stolen shaker restored. Photo by Ted Friedman.

In his fighting career at the Med, Becker has fought to save his cafe’s tip jar, and a few years ago, fought a street kid over a stolen plate of food. “I reported this [shaker-theft] to police,” Becker told me.

Two police cars parked near the shaker struggle. Becker went out to see if officers were responding to his report. But the officers could not be found near their flashing lights.

Med-heads have seen all sorts of atrocious behavior over the years. Several years ago, a Med Zine, entitled “Meditrocity,” tried to capture the sometimes zany, sometimes scary, atmosphere in the Med. Students, who may be glad to get away from their loony dorm friends, don’t seem offended.

More Telegraph Shots, and some of recent student protests:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.