11 October, 2009

Moody Days at the Shore

September, October and early November are statistically the warmest time of year in the San Francisco Bay Area; our Indian Summer.  Every weekend is crammed with concerts, fairs, festivals, picnics, you name it.  They are scheduled at this time because of the usually reliable heat and sunshine. Reliable, that is, until this year.  There is a lot of grumbling about the daily appearance of fog and low clouds.  It's as cold as July or August!  Still, this time of year makes for wonderfully moody walks on the cliffs above the cold, vast and very beautiful Pacific.  I'm sure it'll warm up in time for Thanksgiving.

09 October, 2009

Historic Stairs of San Francisco

Ah, the Ferry Building Stairs, or should I say the HISTORIC stairs?  I like this sign.  It's been there for quite some time and it never fails to make me smile.
I suppose someone felt that, by placing the adjective in front of stairs, incorrigible stair-sitters (and they are legion, I assure you) would be deterred because, well, the stairs are HISTORIC.  The ferry building DOES suffer from a dearth of seating (if you're not eating at a restaurant).  Perhaps they could install some non-historic benches.

08 October, 2009

Island Paradise

There's a lot of scary talk regarding the impact of the California budget crisis on our great State Parks. Most of the threatened parks just happen to be in Northern California, as they are many in number and relatively few in visitors compared to the Southland.  Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay is one such threatened place.  It really is an Island paradise, just minutes from the Ferry Building or Pier 41 via the Blue and Gold ferry.  Full of history, including the "Ellis Island of the West" and magnificent views, the island SHOULD be a wildly popular place for a weekend adventure.  Alas, it can't pay for itself (where we get the idea that parks should be profit generating enterprises, I'll never know) and is on the hit list.  The closing of any public park is a tragedy, but the shutting-down of a place like Angel Island would be a crime.

01 October, 2009


It's a very common sight in San Francisco; the "restored" home.  As gentrification enters its final stage in many neighborhoods, those drafty yet charming old Victorians or Edwardians succumb to our mania for modern comfort and convenience.  Preserved exteriors with interiors gutted to the framework.  Sure, it looks lovely from the outside and I'm sure many would find the new interior the cat's pajamas, but I can't help thinking that there's a kind of sanctioned vandalism in this phenomenon.  A hundred plus years of history wiped out by some wealthy individual's love of stainless steel appliances, sub-zero refrigeration, central heat and recessed lighting.  I've lived in many old places and I know they can be a challenge, but their idiosyncrasies  and minor discomforts were but a few of the many reasons I loved them.  These "improvements" are turning our character-ful homes into the architectural equivalents of Stepford Wives.  Pretty and bland.  No history or texture, decorated for a DWELL magazine photo shoot.  One can't help but imagine that they are a reflection of their inhabitants.