"Albany - "Home of the Albany Bulb"" Albany by Karnubawax

Albany Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 31 photos

Albany is technically a town, but in truth it's a neighborhood - just north of Berkeley, it's another piece in the puzzle known collectively as the "East Bay." Albany itself is pleasant enough; it's a little cleaner than neighboring areas, and has as it's main street Solano Blvd, which contains many great places to eat. But Albany's real claim to fame is the truly unique Albany Bulb.

The "Bulb" was originally a dump, and after several attempts to make it viable as development property, was finally preserved as open space, fenced off, and left for nature to take its' course. In the 90's, the Bulb became a place where some hearty, unconventional folk squatted, built little shacks, and blended into the scenery with little problem.

Later, some homeless encampments in nearby areas were rousted, forcing these homeless onto the Bulb. These new arrivals were different from the counterculture squatters - many having severe drug and alcohol problems and some being seriously mentally ill. After a rash of police activity, the Bulb was finally cleared of its' residents in 1999.

Following these evictions, artwork started sprouting around the Bulb. Most of it was "junk art" - sculptures or paintings using the materials of which the Bulb itself was made out of. Lots of it is still here, but, unfortunately, the City of Albany is trying to remove it. They are also apparently trying to prevent another "infestation" of homeless people by eliminating places they can hide - meaning the indigenous vegetation. In short, Albany wants to destroy the Bulb in order to save it.

I'll post some gallries of pictures of the art. One of the most well known spots on the Bulb is Mad Mark's Castle - a 2-story house, complete with spiral staircase, overlooking the squared-off pond in hte picture above.

You'll have many Blair Witch moments on a hike through the Bulb. Most of the artwork is pretty raw, and some of it is seriously creepy. But it sure is unique. After all, they wanted "wild" space, right?

I've just filled up the tarvelogues below with lots of pictures from the Bulb. Since VT won't let you rate anything other than tips, please go to the "Things to do" tip and give me a good rating if you like what you see! Thanks!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Bulb - a truly one-of-a-kind place
  • Cons:May soon be gone :(
  • Intro Updated Aug 29, 2006
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Karnubawax

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