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City punches hole in Izzy's rooftop bagel display

Original post made on Dec 11, 2012

Customers are doing a double-take if they happen to look up at the roof as they enter Izzy's Bagels at 477 S. California Ave. They see a 7-foot-tall coffee cup, paired with a 5-foot-tall bagel.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 9:28 AM

Comments (71)

Posted by joanie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

i LOVE it! Leave Izzy's alone!


Posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

Love It! Please leave it alone.


Posted by TimH, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:45 am

Good riddance. Aren't street-facing signs enough? This isn't Los Angeles. Izzy's is great but need to follow the law, too.


Posted by Crescent Parker, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

For goodness sake.... NO ONE can fault Izzy's for their decoration... esp the city. After what was done to the California Avenue trees, and we all got to see how truly ugly those buildings are....

Leave Izzy's alone - it's FUN!!


Posted by Bagel Fan, a resident of Southgate
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:57 am

Can't believe Izzy's would install such a display without inquiring about city permits etc. It would be obvious to most folks that there would be likely consequences when you do not clear things with the city first. Maybe they just were trying to save some money by not going through all the processes that most businesses and residents have to endure. Take it down and apply for a permit for your next attempt to draw attention to yourselves. Izzy's has great bagels and shouldn't need to have such a display to attract customers.


Posted by Paly Parent x3, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

I immediately noticed it driving southbound on the El Camino and LOVED IT!!! I think it's fun, creative and lively! Adds fun and it does draw attention from the El Camino where MANY folks travel, which is good for business from non-locals!

Good Grief ~ Give them a break. :)

~ excuse any typos ~


Posted by Dizzy in Sactown, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

If the material they used for the giant coffee cup is the same material they use for their coffee, I doubt the giant coffee cup would be strong enough to endure a light breeze.


Posted by Think Long Term, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

OK, everyone want Izzy's to be left alone. Fine. So you'll all fully support the other businesses for doing the same thing?

Calif Ave will look lovely with all these infltato-signs on all the roof tops. And think of how great the energy consumption will be not to mention the noise pollution when all those signs are fired up and kept inflated by the constantly running generators.
If Izzy's is so wonderful (and I'm not saying it is not) then I'm sure it can survive without this mini blimp on its roof.


Posted by Chloe, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

I love Izzys and I love their bagels. I think the display is cute.


Posted by YeaYea, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

Code Enforcement is saving lives! Death by rooftop mocha? I think not!


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yes, it's really, really cute and I love it. But as other poster mentioned, imagine if all the businesses had rooftop displays. CA Ave. would look like Las Vegas. Palo Alto doesn't want to look like Las Vegas [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

House of Bagels has the superior, authentic bagels.


Posted by JA3+, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

It's an issue of equity and fairness. Adhere to the City's regulations and land use laws; if you believe it wise to do something else, do as others do: apply for a variance.


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Are you kidding!?!
With all the ugly housing and buildings to the curb going in, and some stupid idiot complains about a rooftop display, that, by the way, is NOT ugly like the curbside buildings!
Get over yourselves!


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

@ JA3+
Speaking of fairness and regulations....Explain the JCC (ugly) on the corner of Charleston and San Antonio.
Completely above so called "City Regulations"...hmmmm, some greasy palms around town!


Posted by City Admin Zzzzzs, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

If code enforcement were doing their job to begin with, it wouldn't take a citizen complaint to bring down the sign.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Stanford
on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

For God's sake. California Avenue is already boring and soporific in the extreme. That sign (cup plus bagel) is innocuous and adds a little character. Instead of banning it, check it out and see if it is securely anchored. If so, LET IT BE!


Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

This episode kind of begs the question: "Why should it be illegal for a business to use its rooftop for advertising, or some other purpose, such as displaying "public art"?


Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Wondering: Take a look at all the businesses using tacky "in your face" advertising gimmicks in San Jose around the Tully and 101 area. Talk about eye pollution . . a slippery slope indeed. There seems to be no code enforcement in that area. Is that what you want in Palo Alto?


Posted by judy, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Please let stores show some personality and fun. There is nothing offensive.


Posted by Sonny, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

P.A. uses "selective enforcement" of the rules. If citizens hadn't objected to 27 University, we would have a development that was so out of whack with the 'regulations' that would be laughable. Remember (some years ago) when the city wanted to take down the sign above
Mac's Smokeshop on Emerson? The city picks and chooses its battles. Small businesses beware.


Posted by adhere to city rules, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Izzys has great bagels but they have to adhere to city rules like everyone else..sign looks very cheesy..


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

This is a typical Palo Alto 1st World problem. Way to prioritize P.A.!


Posted by jewish, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by janet, a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

The patrons of Izzy's take up all the Bank's parking spaces and it wouldn't matter if they were Taliban or the Pope - they still take up the spaces. The issue with the SIGN is that it does not conform to zoning rules and has nothing to do with religion for crying out loud. The store sells great bagels. It would just be nice if the patrons obeyed the parking signs and the zoning rules.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

It probably wasn't a good idea for lots of reasons. But, why can't someone get the JCC to remove all their advertising banners. Surely that must be illegal also.


Posted by Sonny, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

@Resident
That is my point exactly. If you are a large, politically connected organization or a wealthy developer, then the rules don't apply to you. Let's get real about all of this nonsense. Do the powers that be think that the citizens of this city are morons? We have the most educated and politically involved populace in the country. Yet, the city thinks that no one is looking? We should all be thankful that we still have freedom of the press.


Posted by Not on the Roof, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

The JCC banners aren't on the roof, and Palo Alto city code prohibits roof signs:

16.20.090 Prohibited signs.
(a) No flashing, moving or roof signs shall be erected within the city. Flashing or moving signs for which a sign permit was issued prior to April 3, 1969, are continued to be declared nonconforming and shall be amortized in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Roof signs for which a sign permit was issued prior to November 28, 1973, are continued to be declared nonconforming and shall be amortized in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.


Posted by Signs, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I can't wait for an [fill in your own least-favorite business neighbor; how about an adult bookstore?] to arrive and put up its own rooftop signage. . .


Posted by jewish, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Floyd, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Good bagels and coffee.
Tacky, illegal.
Remove


Posted by JA3+, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Louie, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

It may be "cute" like McDonald's and In-and-out-burger, but think about spreading this kind of signage in Palo Alto. I can just imagine a gigantic cow on the roof of the Peninsula Creamery or a pastrami sandwich over Max's. How about a crippled senior citizen on the roof of Avenidas. As for the "city planning" of Palo Alto, just look at the mess they've made of Charleston Road. Take a look (gasp) at what they plan to do at University and El Camino. And yes, take a look at both the ugly architecture of the JCC and the new Mosque across the street.
While the city is screwing up traffic and approving high rise buildings I can't even get approval to build a carport.
I say throw out the old politicians and bring in the new! Sure, eventually they'll get corrupted, too. In the meantime, some of us will be able to get ordinary things done.
Oh, I wonder if any of the city council members read our responses.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

As far as I remember, there was no mention of advertising banners on the walls of the JCC before it was built. The artists impressions I saw showed lots of mature trees and setbacks with grass between the street and the buildings. The banners are huge, distracting to drivers and although they are not on the roof, I would like to know if they are legal. It is nothing to do with religion, but it has a lot to do with asthetics.

For what it is worth, I don't like the ridiculous signs on the sound wall on Bayshore either. That signs telling birds the way to the duckpond is art, is beyond me.


Posted by jewish, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I just drive from downtown to midtown and saw signs in plenty of the store windows and front walls. Why no complaints about them? Why the distant harping about the JCC? BTW ifa driver is distracted by a simple sign, maybe they should not be driving.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Jewish

We are not discussing signs in windows that are larger than life and cover several floors. Come on, you can't say that these signs are asthetically pleasing. This is not a shopping district with signs that are expected.

I love art that is pleasing, uplifting and meaningful. I love seeing Mennorahs, Creches and Christmas Trees. I love dragons for Chinese New Year. I love flags for 4th July and other celebrations. I don't mind Ronald MacDonald outside a MacDonalds, advertising bill boards beside highways, and advertising lights on Times Square. There is a place for large signs, banners, displays. I just don't think these walls are the right place for these signs. Put up a wonderful Mennorah and light up the walls, great, add to the festivities. These signs are not appropriate where they are.


Posted by John, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm

People, the city is just enforcing what elected officials have put into local law. They have low staff levels and it is impossoble for them to respond pro-actively to everything. When they see blatant illegal things I am sure they do not use "selective enforcement." The JCC to my understanding has permits for the signs, and none of them are on the top of the roof. This notice to Izzy's probably took less than 5 minutes and then they had another 100 things to do, so to comment that they should have more important things to do is ridiculous. Another post said it best. If one store get's away with it, then they will all do it. I applaud their efforts, and YeaYea said it right...imagine if it blew off the roof and injured or even killed someone. You would all be up in arms that the city never took action to have it removed. Izzy's should get a permit and put up a sign on the front and/or side wall.


Posted by Susan, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Guess they'll have to take all the steeples off the churches, too.


Posted by jewish, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Its a great idea. Maybe the Nail Spas could put ten large toes with nail polish on top of their buildings! The hair salon could put a wig on top of their building. Keeble and Shuchat could put large cameras on top of their buildings...

I miss all the kitsch that used to line the freeways. Let's make the California Ave the kitsch capital of Silicon Valley. We'll have some place to go marvel at the decorations when Christmas Tree Lane isn't Christmas Tree Lane.


Posted by Abraham, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by jewish, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Not sure why the editors removed my response to resident. As I stated there is no difference between a sign in the subway shop and the signs at the JCC! The JCC.had the permits and the signs are not on the roof. Aesthtically pleasing is not an issue. And why the harping about the JCC? Why no complaints about the cheesecake factory in downtown. I think I know why (despite the efforts of the pa weekly)


Posted by Hmm, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Route 66 or Vegas perhaps, but too tacky and gaudy for here.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I love the fact that we can get rid of rusted RV's parked on streets with their occupants that pee in yards and yet we can get rid of a blow-up bagel.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm

It is ironic that the same city that chopped down all the trees on California Avenue now wants to enforce the code. The bagel is cute.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Izzy's Bagels do not need huge signs to sell themselves, they are wonderful. I love the place ... except I have to admit, in the last year or so somewhere they started taking any fruit out of their pastries. I used to love the cherry and blueberry and apple croissants, but now they just have a smear of like jelly inside instead of any fruit at all.

This is the case with almost all retail stores these days, items getting more expensive and made with cheaper or less ingredients ... but Izzy's bagels are great.

I don't think they need a giant sign ... just make your food as good as you used to and people will come back.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

The Ca avenue sign is very tacky-in gross violation of code and a real and present risk to life and property in a storm.

Take it down- apologize and pay the costs ASAP


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

> The patrons of Izzy's take up all the Bank's parking spaces and it wouldn't matter if they were Taliban or the Pope - they still take up the spaces.

God yes .... I never have ever parked in the banks parking lot, and not just because they usually have or had a guard there to prevent it ... but the parking in this area is just brutal. Why have a big sign that says come ever here for coffee and a bagel when no parking can be found within 4 blocks of the area around lunch time!

And people are really nasty about it as well. I've seen people sit in their cars until someone they like or know comes by to take the space while they sit there with their cars idling and people are waiting. People are just getting weirder and weirder because the people who design and maintain our city are complete incompetents and they encourage poor behavior and uncivilized life.

Palo Alto is delusional about the parking problem here. We all drive cars and all will drive cars for the foreseeable future, until the cars can drive themselves and park themselves, so when people build buildings, open businesses the issue of parking needs to be addressed, not just ignored and waved on by,

The reason I do not go to Izzy's more often is that I sometimes turn onto California as an impulse and find I cannot park anywhere ... what they really need is a drive through!


Posted by Bagel Lover, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Oy Vey!


Posted by Ken, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Does the JCC have a permit for the banners? It's great that the 10 sandwich boards are gone from there after three years!

Does the new business "Beam: Suitable Tech" across the street from the JCC have a permit for their huge banner?


Posted by Oy-verreacting, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

It's a sign. It's in violation. Let the city employees do their jobs by enforcing the city codes/laws. Simple.


Posted by sorry, a resident of Community Center
on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm


Sorry Izzie's!!!! It's got to go

but memorialize it with a photo on your wall, so we can enjoy it!

not sure you get more customers and certainly cant lose any. you're the best!


Posted by No Snivelers, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

I have never NOT been able to find parking anywhere in Palo Alto. Not once, ever.
Want to know my secret? I do not insist on a parking spot right in front of the store I want to visit. I'm not lazy and I don't expect that I'm entitled to a spot in front of or directly proximate to the store I'm visiting so I don't mind parking a block or two away and walking.
There really isn't a parking problem, just a bunch of entitled Palo Altans who think having to walk a bit is unacceptable.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

Don't agree with the above poster. Many times at lunch time I have been unable to find a parking spot in any of the lots. I also don't expect to park outside the place I am going and don't bother to try, but I expect to find a spot in one of the lots.

Nowadays I have learned to park by the park or in the residential neighbourhood the other side of Alma and use the tunnel. It is much quicker to park there and then walk rather than driving around looking for a spot in the lots.


Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

While we're at it, let me agree with No Snivelers and say that I've frequented Downtown/California 2-3 times a week for years and have almost always found parking within a minute by going directly to the parking structures. (The lots can be full from time to time though.) I can probably count on my fingers how many times it took me more than 3 minutes to find parking. And those were probably on the busiest Friday night of the year. Same goes with Stanford Shopping Center. I've only had trouble on the Saturday before Christmas.

People need a bit more perspective: Palo Alto parking is among the best in the Bay. Does anyone here visit SF or Berkeley? In Berkeley, you can't even find parking in front of your own house. In SF, whenever I go to Birite Creamery or Burma Superstar, I spend up to 30 minutes circling around for parking.

Palo Alto also has great signage in our downtown areas. It's very easy to find the parking lots. This is not the case in many other downtowns.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

You have to wonder who was so angry as to actually complain about this. Is there a competing coffee house located nearby?

:-P


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Half of the houses and businesses in Palo Alto have a sign that says either "DirectTV" or "DISH Network."


Posted by bagelpro, a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

First of all the bagel and coffee cup on the roof are NOT inflatables, they are works of art that I am sure are secured on tight enough to withstand any weather. The owner is a great guy, very straight and honest, and wouldnt have put it up if it was any type of safety risk. I think it adds character. As for the bagels...THEY ARE THE BEST BAGELS EVER. When they just opened up 15 years ago, another bagel store opened up down the street, and closed down after they saw they couldn't compete!!


Posted by Missing the Point, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

You are missing the point.

Yes, Izzy's bagels and spreads are delicious. I love, love, love their raisin walnut and whitefish spreads.

But the fact is, they broke the law.

As another poster above quoted:

16.20.090 Prohibited signs.

(a) No flashing, moving or roof signs shall be erected within the city.

If Izzy's erected the roof sign and did not apply for a permit to do so, they violated a city law.

End of story.

Take it down.


Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

The sculptural bagel and cup at 477 California are works of public art by Mohamed Soumah, who did the poppies mural at Country Sun and remind me of work by Claes Oldenburg, and also the folk art "Foreign Friends" and the Greg Brown murals throughout town -- we should acquire them for our collection and not hassle the store, which has been there for 18 years, employs 20 people and serves thousands of customers.

The work also subtly recalls the 1's and 0's that are the foundation of Silicon Valley, the cup is like a 1 and the bagel is like a 0.
This is genius and practically empirical evidence of the Divine and only a philistine or cheese-eater would disagree. Can you dig it?

And just like the miracle of the Maccabess three thousand years ago and the light that burned longer than one would expect, I am picking this sign to make it through an admittedly rough week...


Posted by Love Izzy's Bagels AND the rooftop sign, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

It was really fun, while it lasted. I remember when I first saw it, and thought, "What a super idea!"

Perhaps Palo Alto should change the rules, and permit this, if the structure is safely secured.

Sometimes I think people in Palo Alto could use a good enema, and they'll feel better. That's what Grandmom always suggested.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

A little heavy on the censorship no? Just grown adults having a conversation, not a big deal really.


Posted by Mark Weiss , a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm

It also reminds me of Warhol and his soup cans, and Banksy or Shepard Fairey and their art-graffiti. It is both a sign and a comment on signs, and art.

It's perfectly sited. working with the trees, the poles, the roofline -- everything.

I think we should find a way to keep it up. I've talked to five people on Cali Ave today and we are working on a strategy to Save The Bagel.

Or so says me!

it looks to be made of hard-foam, mounted to a metal bracket, to the roof.

And if other small businesses can come up with something to that level of skill, bring it.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Personally, I like them! I hope that they stay up!


Posted by Blow Hard, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 13, 2012 at 5:46 am

The winter winds will ensure the sign will not stay up long.


Posted by Doreen, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

I think the sign is cute and fun! It adds to the staleness of downtown calif ave. I too believe that too many people here in this town have too much time on there hands but with a city that also has too much money, needs something to waste there resources on..... Unfortunately as much as I love the sign and want it to be kept.. We all know that the money behind the iron fists will win and it will come down... However, maybe Izzy's could incorporate a smaller version of the statue in front of there store. This is just a suggestion, Because due to the fact that I am a busy blue collar worker and have much to do in my life other than look up licensing codes and permits..... Maybe, the town should take a good look at what the consumers are really saying here....That we the consumers are looking for something fun and different! One more thing, I totally agree with the comment on the removal of the trees downtown. If the city would stop wasting money on tearing up all the streets around palo alto, they might have enough to put in new trees!!! (How many times have you seen a street ripped up and then fixed but then asked yourself what was the improvement???)


Posted by Jill Knuth, a resident of Nixon School
on Dec 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm

It's a lively sculpture, more interesting than the "official sculptures" on California Avenue. This icon will make California Avenue a must-see destination. How nice to have some relief from "Palo Alto Bland."


Posted by Social Butterfly, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm


If the shop places the bagel a little higher, we really could have some fun trying to throw a bean bag through the bagel and maybe get a free cup of Joe.....GET CREATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Izzy is either the sharpest guy in town or an undiscovered marketing genius.
You can't buy this kind of publicity: reached KQED radio yesterday; regular folks photographing in the cold rain today.

Yes, Izzy strayed to the wrong of side of code enforcement, but there's one thing he did that was absolutely right: engaging Mohamed Soumah.
Along our denuded strip, Mr. Soumah's works still capture the soul and spirit of California Avenue we, as a community, need to preserve.

Just as his murals at Antonio's and Country Sun, perfectly, and without words, epitomize those establishments, so does the rooftop coffee cup and bagel at Izzy's.

Each visual work in its own way adds to the avenue's special character and definition while it also helps us better understand its overall gestalt. In mere words. they are:

- Human sized and small scale
- Locally owned and locally patronized
- Low tech within a high-tech world
- Comfortable
- Home grown and tightly integrated with surrounding neighborhoods; a true neighborhood center
- Leafy
- Quirky, diverse, eclectic

As Alan Weller, of Midtown and with professional office space on the avenue, wrote after trees feel three years ago September:
"California Avenue is not the second downtown in Palo Alto and never tried to be one. Instead, it is a smaller but distinct business district and neighborhood center with its own distinct personality and function.

Although a business district, it has been far more integrated, visually and socially, with the nearby neighborhoods than University Avenue is with its adjacent neighborhoods. It evolved in symbiosis with the adjacent tree-lined neighborhoods, and its mature oak trees, variegated through age, were a reassuring reminder of this relationship. Until the trees were removed, there was no abrupt visual transition from the neighborhoods to California Avenue."


Brent Barker of College Terrace phrased it this way:
"California Avenue is a throwback to an age of more organic growth -- small businesses, small town casualness, neighborliness -- that grew up without the need for imposing a tailored look. We could describe California Avenue as 'organic, eclectic, casual, independent, neighborly, downscale, feisty, comfortable, charming' ….. The buildings are not historic but the street still carries the spirit and casualness of the eclectic small town neighborhoods that surround it. It can still be a vital economic street without becoming another faux downtown ….. We want to retain California Avenue as it has grown up mirroring the independent housing of the neighborhoods surrounding it, not impose a theme borrowed from elsewhere. '

---

As concept plans for the California Avenue "Area" (i.e, El Camino to the tracks; Cambridge to Lambert) move toward final discussion and approval for integration into a Comprehensive Plan update, we can and should rally around this "identity."

Perhaps Mr. Soumah can create it as a visual for the community, so it can wave proudly as set of completely understandable streetlight-mounted flags atop a regenerating, long-time companion.


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Izzy is either the sharpest guy in town or an undiscovered marketing genius.
You can't buy this kind of publicity: reached KQED radio yesterday; regular folks photographing in the cold rain today.

Yes, Izzy strayed to the wrong of side of code enforcement, but there's one thing he did that was absolutely right: engaging Mohamed Soumah.
Along our denuded strip, Mr. Soumah's works still capture the soul and spirit of California Avenue we, as a community, need to preserve.

Just as his murals at Antonio's and Country Sun, perfectly, and without words, epitomize those establishments, so does the rooftop coffee cup and bagel at Izzy's.

Each visual work in its own way adds to the avenue's special character and definition while it also helps us better understand its overall gestalt. In mere words. they are:

- Human sized and small scale
- Locally owned and locally patronized
- Low tech within a high-tech world
- Comfortable
- Home grown and tightly integrated with surrounding neighborhoods; a true neighborhood center
- Leafy
- Quirky, diverse, eclectic

As Alan Weller, of Midtown and with professional office space on the avenue, wrote after trees feel three years ago September:
"California Avenue is not the second downtown in Palo Alto and never tried to be one. Instead, it is a smaller but distinct business district and neighborhood center with its own distinct personality and function.

Although a business district, it has been far more integrated, visually and socially, with the nearby neighborhoods than University Avenue is with its adjacent neighborhoods. It evolved in symbiosis with the adjacent tree-lined neighborhoods, and its mature oak trees, variegated through age, were a reassuring reminder of this relationship. Until the trees were removed, there was no abrupt visual transition from the neighborhoods to California Avenue."


Brent Barker of College Terrace phrased it this way:
"California Avenue is a throwback to an age of more organic growth -- small businesses, small town casualness, neighborliness -- that grew up without the need for imposing a tailored look. We could describe California Avenue as 'organic, eclectic, casual, independent, neighborly, downscale, feisty, comfortable, charming' ….. The buildings are not historic but the street still carries the spirit and casualness of the eclectic small town neighborhoods that surround it. It can still be a vital economic street without becoming another faux downtown ….. We want to retain California Avenue as it has grown up mirroring the independent housing of the neighborhoods surrounding it, not impose a theme borrowed from elsewhere. '

---

As concept plans for the California Avenue "Area" (i.e, El Camino to the tracks; Cambridge to Lambert) move toward final discussion and approval for integration into a Comprehensive Plan update, we can and should rally around this "identity."

Perhaps Mr. Soumah can create it as a visual for the community, so it can wave proudly as set of completely understandable streetlight-mounted flags atop a regenerating, long-time companion.


Posted by Hoving, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Tacky bit of kitchy commercial signage.


Posted by Billboard lighting pollution, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm



I wonder if the Izzy cup was illegal because it was on the roof, or because it was a safety issue. And is there an ordinance against random billboard advertising?

If anyone has seen the billboard light Verizon sign at the corner of Hamilton and Cowper (the 476 Hamilton building), it does not belong to a store front. It's just positioned for pure Advertising.

It's really strong lighting, interferes with the actual signal lighting.

Is this allowed?


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