Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave. Center Now

by Steed Dropout
April 23, 2014


TeleHaste (Telegraph Avenue at Haste) was first identified as Berkeley’s true Center by Ted Friedman in the Berkeley Daily Planet, then in print, in 2008. Other writers had picked the North side Gourmet Ghetto or downtown Center Street.

Recently, Friedman returned to the scene of his South side meme where he continues to cover the urban-blighted void developers avoid.


Is that all there is? asks a song. Maybe you’ve heard the Peggy Lee version.

Successive stanzas from the song depict fires, love, and death; each stanza ends with, “is that all there is?” Here at TeleHaste, we could write our own version of “Is That All There Is?”

As we await two TeleHaste apartment houses and a grand opening (a night club at Cody’s) our disappointments at delays mount; we might feel that the way it is now (forlorn) is all there is.

Is that all all there is after TeleHaste’s Sequoia Apartments burned down?

“I’ll never forget the look on the [fire] victim’s faces, as I stood there shivering, and when it was over, I said to myself, Is that all there is to a fire?”–from the song.


Teley street fairs brought out circus clowns. “I had the feeling something was missing Is that all there is to a circus?”–from the song.

On the Grid, high-end food trucks has been driven away. The foodie-fare didn’t survive a move to across the avenue from itself. So that’s what food trucks are. Is that all there is?

Death or suicide are final “disappointments.”–from the song. The song is not cheerful.

But there’s more than disappointments at TeleHaste; at least we’re not dead and suicide is uncalled for.


There’s a subtle rebirth underway at TeleHaste.

Bunnies, representing rebirth, are birthing at TeleHaste near the site of the burned-down Berkeley Inn. Animal welfare workers raiding the vacant lot that had been the Berkeley Inn told the bunny-keeper the bunnies were disturbing the next-door student dorm, according to complaints they’d gotten. The workers failed to find the fur-balls.

Recently, the bunnies proliferated. “What did they look like?” I asked.

“Pink,” said Ray.

The bunnies live.

Talking about re-birth and bunnies, part of a thorough Teley wash-down included a power hosing alongside the People’s Park mural at TeleHaste where some miscreant had side-walk painted “Running Mouth Out of People’s Park.” The Running Mouth motto is based on criticisms of Zachary Running-Wolf Brown’s tree-sits in the park.

Like the bunny-hunt that failed, the hosing also failed and the side-walk editorial stands, clean…re-born.

Running Wolf often posts his own editorials–banners, flags, and slogans–at TeleHaste.

Slogans live. TeleHaste hosts.

Throngs of students are flocking to Pieology, a TeleHaste pizzeria which is gambling on TeleHaste’s future. Some business fronts have been re-painted, near TeleHaste.

“Miss Hollywood,” a People’s Park legend, featured in an early Tale, is back from a convalescence in Palm Springs.

A student filmmaker recently shot a short film outside the Caffe Mediterraneum, close-by TeleHaste, the first filming since Mike Nichols’ the Graduate a half century ago. The student’s film is also a love story.

If that’s all there is, we’d better get used to it.

TeleHaste NOW!

The Scoop. Photo by Ted Friedman.
The Door to Nowhere. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Cody's. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Ground Zero City Planners. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Usual Suspects. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Running Wolf Lives. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A different version of this yarn ran, recently, in print only at Berkeley Times

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