We didn’t know how it would turn out, but Berkeleyside’s inaugural Open Office Wednesday evening was an unqualified success — thanks to the many readers and fans who came out to say hello, share in great conversation and partake in some delicious pizza.

Left to right, standing: Nancy Rubin, Jeanne Pimentel, John Gordon (right) and daughter. Photos: Tracey Taylor

An estimated 80-100 people dropped by Italian café PIQ in downtown Berkeley between 5:00pm and 7:00pm and joined the lively, informal forum. PIQ served batches of pizza, and the customers on the first floor who had come to spend a quiet evening working on their laptops had to contend with quite a noisy crowd (apologies for that — everyone was very stoic and plowed on regardless of the boisterousness around them).

Foreground: Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel.

We met grad students and young professionals, Berkeley veterans and new arrivals, potential contributors and avid walkers — several members of the fabulous Berkeley Path Wanderers came by. We met UC Berkeley’s new social media whiz and the owner of Berkeley’s only free chocolate shop (a story we will no doubt regale you with soon). There were even some under 10-year-olds who we assume were only there for the margherita slices, but we appreciated their presence nonetheless

Tracey Taylor, Frances Dinkelspiel, and Wendy Cohen were there as Berkeleyside hosts, while Lance Knobel hosted a live webchat while on a non-Berkeleyside related assignment in New York City. We were also delighted to have Berkeleyside’s designer, Doug Ng, there, regular contributors Kim Aronson, Andrew Gilbert and Anna Mindess, as well as KimberLeigh Schartz who’s been doing some work for us too.

Left to right: Caley Concannon, Emunah Hauser, Frances Dinkelspiel, Wendy Cohen and Rodney Brooks, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Keith Carson

The photos here give you a flavor of the event. Apologies if we can’t identify everyone in the pictures. Let us know if you’re in the photos and we’ll add your name to the captions.

Left to right: Kim Aronson, Anna Mindess and Doug Ng

We very much enjoyed meeting readers face to face and intend to make Open Offices a regular occurrence. Hope to see you at the next one.

Andrew Gilbert makes a badge for his 19-month-year-old daughter

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Now, now…  Let’s be civil.  I was just quoting (and not even quoting out of context…) your own reporter who, in extremis, remains a loyal foot soldier, not maligning.
    But I am trying to picture myself as a loyal, core supporter of your enterprise who turned out brimming with good will for one of your afternoon reader parties and now finding myself characterized here as little more than one among many “alter cockers and schnorrers” (which terms, I presume, are carefully selected to show off your excellent command of Yiddish phraseology  — if so, let me be the first to welcome you to the Tribe).

  2.  I would love to have attended but, alas, my wife and I had to be down in Santa Barbara for her to give a talk at the College of Creative Studies.  Well, I suppose I could have not gone to Santa Barbara but who could resist.  Berkeleyside is the best site for Berkeley news and events!

  3. We soon learned that afternoon parties attracted a disproportionately large number of alter cockers and schnorrers, including presumably Underwood, whose name I’ve seen signed to a number of nasty letters. Younger people in general have day jobs and can’t make afternoon parties, even to get free food.  I hope readers will click through to read all of Richard Brenneman’s post for an astute window on some of the reasons Berkeley finally has the news it deserves.

  4. I’m an early-years Baby Boomer and I share your view ” …value the past but not be so wedded to it that change is resisted at every turn.” Although it is crucial that all voices and views be heard, Berkeleyside is providing views in a new light, a welcome respite, much needed in Berkeley.
    A Like Reply

  5. Hell hath no fury like someone who paid half a million dollars for a bungalow.

    Hmmm… looks I missed the photo of BL and Sharkey reconciling over a slice of pizza. Perhaps next time.

  6. Astute observation. I also noticed the relatively younger crowd gathered than some Berkeley gatherings. In fact, for point of comparison, a former news reporter for the Berkeley Daily Planet, on his own blog once observed:

    While Becky wanted the paper to focus on land use issues, I had hoped to see the paper reach out to a broader audience. Yes, development has always been the central issue of California politics, but a newspaper needs a broader audience, especially the younger readers so coveted by advertisers.

    The Daily Planet’s readership is, like me, older; but unlike me, most are homeowners. I remember the shock I felt on attending the first reader party in 2003, where I found myself at 57 the youngest or next-to-youngest person there for most of the afternoon.


  7. Here’s a shout-out to PIQ: what a great place! So much closer to an authentic Italian cafe than most other spots. PIQ, I shall return.

  8. I was sorry to miss this gathering and am looking forward to the next one. I’m also glad to see some v. young faces at a Berkeleyside gathering. It’s an important reminder that many readers have young kids (many in BUSD), are paying post-Prop 13 property taxes and are going to be active residents of Berkeley for 20+ years to come. Many of us are Gen-Xers and younger who are interested in being part of a city that can be pragmatic, value the past but not be so wedded to it that change is resisted at every turn.

  9. thank you, berkeleyside. this has rapidly gone from a random curiosity a friend sent me to an essential page for me to read each day!

  10. Thanks for hosting the event. It was great to meet you and put faces to the bylines I have been reading for so long!