San Francisco

I started this blog after moving to SF on New Years Day 2005. Since then, when I'm not writing about politics, Wilco or Derek Jeter, I often toss in photographs or just general thoughts about San Francisco. Most probably realize that I've never been quite happy with this city as a place to live. I do feel as though it's now my home, but I have many issues that I've shared in bits and pieces from time to time.

A friend linked to this blog post on her Facebook page, and in many, many respects, I couldn't agree more. Some probably take offense to his criticisms, but I think he offers good warnings for those considering a move to this city. He's provided the impetus for me to now share my Good and Bad of San Francisco.

The Good
  • The Beauty: This is one of the prettiest cities in the world. Take a drive around the neighborhoods and you'll most likely hit the brakes numerous times to take in a view. Head south a few hours and you're at Big Sur. Head west and you're at Yosemite. Head north and you're in Mendocino.
  • The Parks: They're everywhere in the city. Take a quick stroll around a few blocks and you'll likely hit a number of well-kept lawns.
  • The Food: There really are excellent options and many at reasonable prices. And the Mexican is just outstanding.
  • Start-ups: Most can only handle the flux of this environment for a few years, but it can be incredibly thrilling and hard to find just about anywhere else in the country.
  • Hidden Streets: Many side streets throughout Hayes Valley, Noe Valley and other neighborhoods offer some of the most beautiful city blocks you'll ever see.
The Bad
  • Lack of Diversity: It's completely false to believe that SF is a hotbed for "diversity." It's not. Sure there are different kinds of folks, but SF is the most segregated city I've ever seen. Hipsters, frat boys, techies, young couples, gays, etc. generally live in their designated areas. Walk into a neighborhood and you generally know what you're going to get.
  • Manners: I really don't think I've ever been surrounded by such rude people. A 20 minute ride on a city bus can be absolutely maddening. Not only do people yell on their cell phones, bump into each other constantly and never cover their mouths when yawning, sneezing or vomiting, but there's just absolutely no civility or concern for one's neighbor. I can't tell you the number of pregnant women I've seen standing in front of some idiotic hipster who's listening to the new Dirty Projectors.
  • Bars: Awful. Nary a good jukebox and very few bars with character and soul.
  • Dolores Park: The worst piece of land in America. Hipsters are the new frat boys and this park is festering with these dolts.
  • Originality: On a recent trip to New York, I felt like I'd stepped onto another planet. As I said to a friend, "You'll see more originality on a New York street than you'll see throughout the entire city of San Francisco."
  • Money: Too many dongs have infiltrated this city in search of a big win. This is not what I imagined when I relocated here.
  • Crime/Homelessness: I'd feel more comfortable walking on Avenue D in Manhattan at 3am than walking through the Tenderloin at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Many parts of this city are deplorable and there appears to be little interest in making improvements.

There's obviously much more on both sides, but these are some general thoughts as I approach five years living here.