28 July, 2009

The Phenomenon of Dolores Park

I'm probably pretty late to this party, but I'm always astounded at just how insanely popular this poor place has become. I suppose it has to do with its location in The Hippest Neighborhood in America®, but Dolores Park is more than a scene. Its current habitues are probably unaware that Mission Dolores Park is the approximate site of the ancient Ohlone Indian village of Chutchui. It was later the location of a Jewish Cemetery and once served as a home to many displaced persons after the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 (top photo). Per acre (there are 14), it has to be the among most densely utilized parks in the country. There can be THOUSANDS of people here on weekends with no apparent special event or other "draw". It's a very attractive place and it seems almost anything goes. Dogs dash about, Pabst Blue Ribbon is guzzled and the scent of cannabis wafts through the air. A bit like the panhandle of Golden Gate Park during the Summer of Love but with expensive coffee. It's hard to believe, but not so long ago, you could pretty much have this place to yourself on a weekday. I wonder where the next "gathering place" will be?

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