I came to San Francisco late in my life. I wish I had been here much earlier, because I am becoming too old to really enjoy what the city has to offer. Some parts of San Francisco are stunningly beautiful, some parts are horribly ugly. I have seen plenty of both. But this post doesn’t concern itself with the ugly. Above is a view of Market St. in the Castro neighborhood on a sunny day. I love the houses on the hillsides, the palm trees (although SF is actually too far north to have them natively, these were brought here.), and the antique cable cars dating from the forties. Whenever I feel down in the dumps I look around me and remind myself why I am here.
There is a magical quality to SF at night, as seen in the photo above of Coit Tower which was erected to honor the firefighters that fought the firestorm which devastated much of the city following the 1907 earthquake. The bridge and the buildings and the lights on a distant hillside give SF the feeling of a Mediterranean city, although much colder.
One of the best things about SF has to be the painted ladies, the Victorian houses which occupy almost all of the city. They date back to the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, and many of them have been maintained and look beautiful. Unfortunately, I have also seen many Victorians in poor condition. I have spent many warm sunny days just walking through neighborhoods admiring the Victorian houses, no two are alike.
San Francisco’s Mission district is full of lovely murals, this one has been marred by what is probably a gang sign. It gives the neighborhood a special quality, and brightens up what could be an otherwise dismal environment. One of the special things about my adopted city are the many cultures you find, SF is many towns stuck together.
I often walk by this splendid gargoyle on the SF School District Bldg. on Van Ness Ave. The building was built in the 1920’s and this guy has almost a Maxfield Parrish quality about him. San Francisco is a delight for fans of unique and antique architecture of all sorts.
I have walked by this sign many, many times on Valencia St. in the Mission. It is advertising a tattoo parlour, and has that funky old timey quality that I associate with SF in the Summer of Love of 1967. Every neighborhood I venture into has various delights for the eye. SF’s history stays put, unlike Las Vegas. or even LA. I spent some time in Vegas, and everything there is temporary, and phony. In San Francisco you have history right before your eyes.
Below are the famous legs of Haight St. It certainly gives the area a kitschy quality appropriate for the Haight. I don’t know if the legs were there back in the sixties, probably not. But this illustrates the slightly naughty quality of much of San Francisco, as if it hasn’t completely shed it’s original shady Barbary coast reputation.
This is my city. I needed to post this nice photo essay to remind myself when I feel down, that even if I should lose my apartment, I will still be in one of the most interesting and exciting cities in the world. I love San Francisco in all of it’s funky charm.