Watermelon on offer at one of the many neighborhood block parties that took place last night. All photos: Michael Davidson

Last night, hundreds of people stepped out of their homes and joined their neighbors at block parties, community BBQs and potlucks. In Berkeley, the police department issued 52 street closure permits to enable block gatherings.

The casual socializing was all part of National Night Out, an initiative supported by cities and their police and fire departments, to encourage neighborhoods to become closer in an effort to reduce crime.

After reading about National Night Out on Berkeleyside, Michael Davidson took a tour of some of the local block parties in Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland and shot these photographs. As befits our food-loving communities, the fare on offer looks top-notch.

Do you have stories or photos to share of the neighborhood block party you attended? If so, let us know about them in the Comments.

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...

Join the Conversation


  1. BSNC is in disarray, due to lack of city support.  The website used to be linked to the police dept page that changed that two years ago under Chief Hambleton.

    rblock is a local resource some neighborhoods are using. Others have a yahoo or google groups, and a few have websites.  West Berkeley resident Vivek created rblock.

    Maybe if Berkeleyside made a request to city council members you might get some information.

  2. It does sound like a story. 

    But we can do more than that. 

    Berkeleyside encourages Berkeley neighborhood associations with websites to give us their details and we will include them on our Berkeley Sites list (right-hand column on home page). We have some on there, but need to hear of others.

    We would be happy to include BSNC, Laura. Do you have a website or an online information page we can link to?

  3. How to locate your local neighborhood association?

     Well, this issue deserve a story by Berkeleyside.  I will try my best to avoid offending those who can’t take bad news about their beloved city. The city of Berkeley will not allow Berkeley Safe Neighborhood Committee, BSNC,  to post or distribute the name of neighborhood groups or contact information.  For years BSNC board has tried to remedy this situation and are told the city attorney will not allow the contact information distributed or linked to any city website. If Berkeleyside reporters want to do a story, contact me and I will provide you a list of BSNC leaders and block captions who have tried for years to get around this nonsense and make it possible for residents to connect with their local group or groups to connect with each other.

    Just for comparison sake check out the city of Portland or even Santa Cruz. http://www.santacruzneighbors.com/

    I have been active in BSNC for many years trying to build a citywide system of neighborhood councils for public safety and disaster preparedness purposes. I have come to conclusion that our city leaders would rather lose public safety benefits in order to avoid an organized citizenry engaged in land use decisions. 

    Depending on how well your council member’s office is managed you may be referred to a neighborhood group. 

    The cities of Richmond and Oakland support a citywide neighborhood council system .

  4. I would contact the City Council representative’s office to ask. Because of the nature of block or neighborhood groups, they often have frequent contacts with their city council member. They should have a list of groups in the area.

    In Lindsey’s  area, that would be Linda Maio’s office.

  5. I have searched for a neighborhood association/ yahoo group etc. for my neighborhood, but haven’t found anything. I live in a gated apartment complex in West Berkeley at University and San Pablo (NW corner). So I don’t organically mingle with my neighbors on surrounding blocks except when I take a walk. Anyone know of a neighborhood association or loose group of folks who maintain some sort of organized neighborly connection in my immediate neighborhood?