Haves and Have-Nots on Telegraph Ave

Tonight, I took my youth group on a stroll down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. We’re having an all-church retreat this weekend, but we’re not really ‘retreating’ anywhere. The economy is hurting folks, and schedules are tight, so we’re having our programs at the church itself. It’s pretty fun, actually. There’s a different feel to gathering at night for worship and fellowship than there is when gathering in the morning, like usual.

So, what’d we do on Telegraph? First of all, I let the kids know that we have a budget as a youth group, but I wanted them to think about what they would do with money at their disposal. Some usual stuff was shouted out (going to see “Watchmen,” buying a new pair of converses, etc.), but then I we tried to think more constructively. How do we help those who are in need?

After all, Telegraph doesn’t really look like this anymore:

An old postcard of the intersection of Telegragh Ave and Bancroft Way. Where's the American Apparel store?

An old postcard of the intersection of Telegragh Ave and Bancroft Way. Is that the American Apparel store on the corner?

Today, it looks a bit more like this:

Telegraph Ave during a street fair.

Telegraph Avenue during a street fair. Vendors are usually parked on the sidewalks instead of in the street (and mostly during weekends).

However, the above picture is from during the day, and I can’t find any good photos of the night scene. There’s a great book by Richard Misrach called Telegraph 3 A.M.: The Street People of Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California, which came out in 1974. (Used copies run for hundreds of bucks.) This next picture is from that book (I think), and some of the same kind of folks (but a little grungier—gutter punks) still hang out on the sidewalks, sitting on the ground, eating Blondie’s pizza and playing their guitars. Some of the youth talked to these kids, gave them a couple bucks, and bought one girl’s self-published zine. Afterwards, we bought some cheap postcards at this same corner (Haste and Telegraph, in front of the old Cody’s Books), and then we got Yogurt Park and pizza before heading back to the church. A good time was had by all.

Street Musicians on Telegraph Avenue in 1974. Photo by Richard Misrach.

Street Musicians on Telegraph Avenue in 1974. Photo by Richard Misrach.

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5 thoughts on “Haves and Have-Nots on Telegraph Ave

  1. That picture was taken right after we finished a set on the street. We used to play for money over in San Francisco at lunch time downtown, but, in the evenings we would go up to Telegraph to play for fun. The dark haired fellow, Steve Carraway, was my friend of many years until he passed away about ten years ago. Obviously I’m still alive living in southern Oregon. I still play music but not on the street. I’m employed so I can afford to play music for fun now. Then, busking was my life.

    • Wow. Thank you, JD, for given context to the picture. I think it’s such a great photo.

      Peace to you and all your endeavors.

      Thanks for commenting,

      B

  2. Hi!

    My name is Tiffany and I’m with the Gunn High School student newspaper The Oracle. We are featuring Berkeley and we would love to include photos. We love that picture of Telegraph Avenue street fair and we were wondering if we could get your permission to use it? We will accredit the photo to you. Let me know as soon as you can please!

    Thanks so much,
    Tiffany

    • Hey Tiffany,
      To be clear, I did not take any of those pictures on my post. All of them were found on a Google search. The photo on the bottom was from a book by Richard Misrach called Telegraph 3 A.M.: The Street People of Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California.

      Since it’s a high school newspaper, I think you can use the photo, as long as you give credit. Your faculty editor should know the details of that kind of usage.

      Best of luck with all your high school and journalism adventures!

      Brad

  3. JD and I were recently told that this photo of him and Steve Carraway, taken by Richard Misrach, and featured in the book Telegraph 3 AM, is also painted as a mural on the wall of a Trader Joe’s in Berkeley. Pretty cool stuff!

    Deborah Berlingeri

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