Friday, June 26, 2015

San Francisco 2015

Michael and I made a trip to the Emerald City on the Bay last week.  The place is full of tourists, beggars, and techies.  It's way over-priced.  All the Beats, Hippies, Punks and other communities of misfits and searchers who made the city so famous and attractive were priced out long ago.  The city that gave the world Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Jack London, Armistead Maupin, the Summer of Love, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jefferson Airplane, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, now wants to be known as the city that gave the world Google and Diane Feinstein.

Even so, this city remains the most beautiful in the USA as far as I'm concerned.  It is still just as magical and enchanting as it always was.  It still attracts the dreamers and the misfits, even if they wind up living in the East Bay and riding BART into the city.  It remains a very left leaning city even if all the techies and financial industry types moving in and driving up all the rents read Ayn Rand.

San Francisco from Sausalito

The Golden Gate Bridge

The greatest pleasure of traveling to dear old San Francisco is seeing dear old friends.

JCF, always a good friend of this blog, in front of the Bay Bridge on the Embarcadero.

Yours Truly with JCF at Giants' Park.  I think she's a Giants fan.

My oldest friend, David Giesen; we've known each other since 5th grade.  Here he is in the Adagio Hotel.

Yours Truly with Jason Young at an Ethiopian restaurant.

Michael with Susan Shepard Hedges at Peet's Coffee in El Cerito

The Golden Gate in the fog

Sailboats and wind surfers below the Golden Gate

More sailboats in the Bay; we saw many more in the Bay here than we ever do in New York's harbor.

A catamaran

Container ships lined up waiting to unload in Oakland; the ports in Oakland and around the Bay must be among the busiest.

Container ships at anchor with kayakers in the foreground

A container ship loaded with cheap stuff from China to sell in Walmarts here.

Another loaded container ship; landlubber me finds all this nautical trade fascinating.

Brown pelicans

Michael at the stern of the ferry boat to Sausalito

Our escort on the ferry boat

Alcatraz; I've visited San Francisco many times since 2001 and I've yet to visit Alcatraz.

The light house, ruins, and tourists on Alcatraz

The city from Sausalito with tourists; note the coats.  It never got above 70F the whole time we were there.

The fog clears as we arrive in Sausalito.

Sausalito and the clearing fog

The fog clearing off the Bay; the fog is always there, either blanketing the whole area, or just a few yards out to sea beyond the Golden Gate waiting.  San Francisco is the only place I've ever visited that can be foggy and windy at the same time.  It gets really cold when the fog rolls in.

Sailboats with Oakland visible in the fog in the background.

Michael in Sausalito

Drought or no drought, the flowers were bright and lush.  The local rainfall is only a little below normal.  The drought is about the very low winter snowfalls in the Sierras over the past 4 years.  Snow in the Sierras is crucial to California's water supply.

I love nasturtiums.

Did I mention that I love nasturtiums?

A small Presbyterian church in Sausalito

Palm tree in Sausalito

Another palm tree in Sausalito; San Francisco and the Bay Area is the only place I've ever been where I can see palm trees and wish I had another coat on.

The Bay Bridge

A perfect place to dump a body in a noir movie, but too close to the Embarcadero and the tourists.

Cormorants waiting on the Bay Bridge

Part of the mammoth port facilities in Oakland viewed from under the Bay Bridge.

Bay Bridge cormorants with two speeds of travel on the Bay behind them.

What was left of a really superior meal at the North Beach Cafe.

Michael in front of the legendary City Lights Bookstore.

The Transamerica Pyramid with Michael in the foreground on Columbus Avenue.

The Ferry Building, once the main entrance to San Francisco before the Bay Bridge in the background brought rail and auto traffic directly into the city.

The landmark that still forms the terminus of Market Street, the Ferry Building clock tower.

Michael stands in front of Frank Lloyd Wright's only shop front, the old VC Morris Gift Shop from 1948 on Maiden Lane near Union Square.  Today it is owned by Xanadu Gallery that specializes in Asian art.  Xanadu spent a large sum to restore the building.
While this design remains popular with architects and critics, and really is a first rate example of the elder Wright's brickwork, I can see why he was never asked to design another store front.

A detail of Wright's storefront on Maiden Lane; the store was closed when we were there, but supposedly the interior is still dominated by a spiral ramp, the precursor to the one in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The Admiral Dewey Monument in Union Square

A view from Nob Hill

All you fans of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo should recognize this building on Nob Hill.  I didn't see any green 1957 Jaguar parked out front.

The concrete cathedral, Grace Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral of San Francisco, built in the 1920s out of reinforced concrete for earthquake reasons.

The nave with the baptismal font and a copy of labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral behind that.  I attended Sunday Eucharist there where a short litany was said for the victims of the Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston, SC earlier in the week.  The cathedral was full that morning.

An aisle of Grace Cathedral

A painting on the wall of Grace Cathedral showing the destruction of the first Grace Church in the 1906 Earthquake and fire.

The tragic and still very controversial Bishop James Otis Pike painted on a wall of Grace Cathedral.

A laurel tree outside Grace Cathedral; I've never seen so many laurel trees and in such variety as I have in San Francisco.  The god Apollo would feel very at home.

A trolley car from 1940s Dallas in use in San Francisco.  Unlike most American cities, San Francisco never got rid of its trolley system and still uses it.  The local transit authority turned their system into a rolling museum using old cars from dismantled systems all over the country and from around the world.

My dad would have loved this.  He rode the trolleys (and vandalized them when he was a kid) in Dallas in the 1930s and 40s.

I'll never understand baseball; the pavement outside of AT&T Giants Park.

1 comment:

JCF said...

It's AT&T Park, Doug (I'd say more, but the Giants are on! ;-/)

Great to see you---and great you could be seen by so many "old friends" (hey, I resemble that!)