More correctly – artistic depictions of palm trees!
I wish that these signs were in Berkeley. They aren’t, but aren’t they something? They illustrate the point I am trying to make here.
This post is as big a stretch as I have made. It requires a nearly complete suspension of the Quirky Berkeley rules of engagement. Breaking the rules is nothing new but must be acknowledged.
The Webster Poolside Apartments and the palms on the wall around the pool were the genesis for this post. It is built around them. Most of the photos are from businesses – only one from a residence.
But – the palm is magical. We it know we aren’t in Philadelphia when we see a palm. I saw my first palms in Clearwater, Florida, in March 1966.
I took the Champion, operated by the Atlantic Coast Railroad, from Philadelphia to Clearwater with the Duesing family. It was a long day and a long night sleeping in my seat and a second long day to get there. It was my first experience cleaning up with just a small sink.
In Clearwater stayed at the Jack Tar Hotel. There were lots of palms. I can remember – sort of – my sense of wonder. I certainly remember the date palms of the Coachella Valley – but I digress.
Back to Berkeley.
The one residence with palm-themed material culture is on Ashby:
When I drive by this house on Ashby my eye tells me that these are artificial palms. A tad kitschy, but – quirky.
Speaking of artificial palms, this photo from September 2013 is of a temporary (violation of QB protocols) installation celebrating kitsch:
My notes on the photo tell me: “Marin Circle.” It doesn’t look like Marin Circle to me. Oh bother, said Pooh. Oh bother indeed.
Now for some commercial palms.
Also on San Pablo Avenue:
The one-block section of Euclid just north of campus is as charming and collegiate as anywhere in Berkeley. And – it has palms, both the real kind visible on Scenic and the painted depiction in the sign for the 7 Palms Food Center:
Check out the palm on the Food Center sign on the right of the photo – how perfect! Wish it were still there. Wish!
This lovely fake coconut palm was seen at Urban Ore. Coconuts too!
This brings us to the grand prize, the palms around which this post is built – the Webster Poolside Apartments, 2321 Webster Street. My scouting photo:
And then a few better photos:
Is this not the all-time record, peak, top-point, pinnacle, apex, zenith, crowning point of quirky? The idea of poolside living is antithetical to Berkeley and our climate and lifestyle, and so the fact that there are are least two “poolside” apartment complexes (Webster and Channing) is in and of itself quirky. Throw in the decorative cinder block wall and the cheesy potted palms and the wonderful perfect best palms on the cinder block wall – perfect quirkiness!
I showed my friend the photos. He was engrossed in a 1976 Australian record by Robin Workman. Moog synthesizers are cool. Abba was big. Why not combine them?
Jesus. What next?
I tore him away from his Abba/moog bliss and asked for his thoughts on the palm art photos. “I dig palms” he said. And the photos?