Missing the old Parkway

I had to get an oil change today, and was walking around the neighborhood around the closed Parkway Theater on Park Boulevard. I have a lot of fond memories of the “old” Parkway from when I lived in Oakland about 15 years ago … It was such a cool, funky place with its couches and the chance to order beer, BEER! at the movies and pizza long before that became an option at some of the trendier places now. It was fun, cheap, and kind of dirty, but therein lay its charm.

I forget where I was when I heard the Parkway had closed because of a dispute with the landlords over rent — sounds almost like a cliché in the Bay Area, the cool places eventually get kicked out — and so the “old” Parkway relocated to the Uptown district and reopened last year. I had the chance to see a movie there a few months ago, and the place is very nice, very clean, new, and offers wine, beer, and all kinds of food. … It’s not the “old” Parkway, it’s different, and it’s not the same, it’s more mature. Such is life, you adapt and change, move on after crises pass, and make new friends and supporters as you enter new phases.

What’s interesting to me is how empty that corner is where the old Parkway used to be at the corner of Park and E. 18th. The cafes, bars and restaurants that probably got a few extra dollars from the theater patrons back in the day, haven’t really adjusted well. I walked over to Woody’s Café for a salad, and observed what was going on, or not going on, inside the café, outside on Park Boulevard, and across the street near the former Parkway. The streets are littered with debris that blows around – almost like a ghost town.

And there’s still nothing in the old movie theater!

The outside of the theater now has this very colorful mural, that says on one side: “Spiritual” and on the other side, “Reality.” The marquis reads, “Thank You.”

Spiritual mural

Here’s a link for the New Parkway and movie showings and times: http://thenewparkway.com/wp/