The Artist Forest Beach “Albany Bulb”

As I prepare for my trip to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for other places to check out locally. After doing some research, I found a park not too far from me called, “Albany Bulb” which is located in the Albany Waterfront next to the Golden Gate Fields race track. The Bulb was known to be a landfill for construction materials until 1987, when it went through a series of legal issues. The park later became a homeless encampment, a place for teenagers to wild out, and a perfect place for dog owners to let their pets run about. So I bet you’re wondering why a woman like me with no dogs would be interested in seeing this piece of land, let alone an old construction dump! 

Even though I consider myself a newbie when it comes to travel and photography, I always tend to find beauty in almost everything, including landfills. 😂 Albany Bulb just isn’t a place for hikers and dog walkers, this oasis is surrounded by sculptures and graffiti art painted on concrete slabs. It’s an art lovers haven. The further you hike, the more you see. 

I took my son with me to check this out. I made a huge mistake by pulling up directions from my Yelp App (travelers beware! Do not use Yelp to navigate. It gave me the wrong directions.) I ended up parking my car at Point Isabel, which is a huge dog park next to the water. There were dogs everywhere! 

TIP: Point Isabel is a Dog Park. 🐶 And parking is very limited, especially on a weekend. On a happier note, they have restrooms 😂

Anyway, my son and I took the San Francisco Bay Trail from Point Isabel which is a mile away from Albany Bulb. The trail’s path ran parallel between Interstate 80 and the water. The walk wasn’t pleasant since the freeway is literally next to the trail. We arrived about 45 minutes later. And yes, it took us 45 minutes to walk a mile and a half. Mind you, my son is 6 and gets easily distracted.

Another TIP: If you’re with little ones, unless you own a bicycle with multiple seats, do NOT park at Point Isabel if you don’t want to walk a mile and a half!

We walked towards the sandy area where we came across more dogs running about. From that area, you can either hang out on the beach (watch out for poop) or catch a distant glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. There wasn’t much to see. After that, we took another trail towards the south end of the Bulb where we came across a castle made out of scavenged rebar, plaster, and concrete. 

“Mad Mark’s Castle” was completed in 2000 however, it deteriorated through the years. This is a before and after pic of the castle.

The before pic was taken by a photographer named Peter Merts. The second photo was captured from my camera. 

My son and I hung out at the castle for the most part. The castle offers a panoramic view of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t get to explore the rest of the Bulb since we had a long walk back to Point Isabel, however, I do plan on returning so I can check out the sculptures and the rest of the art work. 

Here is a video from our short visit to the Bulb. 
Discover the Bay | Albany Bulb

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Balmy Alley

Balmy Alley is a block long alley filled with a collection of colorful murals located in the Mission District between 24th street and Garfield Square. The alley includes a current painting of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, a mural describing gentrification in the Mission, and human rights. The earliest mural in the alley date to 1972 painted by  a woman named Maria Galivez and children in a local child care center.

TIP: Balmy Alley is best viewed by foot or on a guided tour through Precita Eyes Muralists.

Here is a video from my recent visit to Balmy Alley (dated March 2017). Please note that if you plan on visiting the alley in the future, the murals constantly change so some of the artwork that you see in my video may not be there when you do decide to go.