You know what I heard, and makes sense to me? The reason so many homosexuals live in San Francisco is this:

During WWII, this was the embarkation port for the Pacific war. When these fellows (who were inclined to love men and not women) were discovered, they were sent BACK to San Francisco to be sent home again. However, the folks back home now knew why they were not in the armed forces any longer, and said, "No, thanks. Why don't you just stay your happy ass in California, Junior."

So, what do you think? Rumor? Fact?

When you go to San Francisco, forget about the need to wear flowers in your hair. Instead, go to Max's and order one of their gargantuan chocolate eclairs. . .

Someone told me that love will find you in the City, even if you're not looking for it. And it is a wildly romantic city with an utterly unique atmosphere. Passing the Sony Metreon's capitalism arcade, my spirits flagged--we turned a corner, and saw a beautiful carousel. The windows on our hotel room were half-stuck, but when I looked across the way I saw a theater with a gorgeous Victorian facade. Later that night (it was Halloween), I perched on the windowsill still in my silver crocheted dress and butterfly wings. Theatergoers looked up at me and stopped and smiled; it was one of those magical instants that seemed to happen so many times there. I'll be happy to visit The City again, though it will take me forever to see half of its interesting places.

Actually, I work there now. I stop at Specialty's every morning. It's strange to be a part of the city, but good.

Some other places I've enjoyed in the Bay Area are under Everything Restaurant Reviews and the Museum Metanode.
  • Go to a museum, such as the Exploratorium or the California Academy of Sciences.
  • Spend some time rollerblading in one of many fun places: the marina, the embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, and many others (if you own rollerblades)
  • Go for a walk on the beach, and then head up to the Cliff House where they have a small museum of really old nickelodeons and other small toys that operate without electricity and still accept pennies and nickels to play.
  • Pick any district in town, grab a cup of coffee/tea (to go) and just walk around, talking about whatever it is that you see and/or think of
  • Take "The 49-mile drive" (there are signs posted in the city-- you are supposed to follow them, and they end up taking you to 49 miles of tourist attractions, such as Chinatown, Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, etc.)
  • A visit to Pier 39 or Fisherman's Wharf or Ghiradelli Square.
  • A day trip to Angel Island or Alcatraz (If you'd like to go to Alcatraz, it may already be booked up, but Angel Island is always free)
  • If it is a nice day, take a paddleboat out for a spin at Stow Lake.
  • If it is a cold/rainy day, celebrate the cold weather by going ice skating in the new, olympic-sized rink across from SoMa.
  • I am not even going to mention the food part here, unless you want to have fun and drive to Millbrae to eat from sushi boats. (The reason I am not even going to post any food ideas is because there will just happen to be the perfect little restaurant wherever we may find ourselves starving on the pavement).
  • Oh, wait! The above statement reminded me that we need to pay homage to "Hamburger Mary's," the absolutely most twistedly decorated bar/restaurant there is. Well, unless you feel like Mexican food. In that case, there is always El Torreador on West Portal Avenue. And how could I forget to suggest my favorite eatery: The Crepevine, serving up dinner crepes, dessert crepes, eggs, open-faced bagels, salads, sandwiches, and a lot of other goodies. (So I guess you won't go hungry on Saturday)
  • If you've made it this far through the damn long node, you're a champ! But what I didn't realize is that you never told me whether we were going to meet Saturday DAY (as in an all-day sort of adventure) and/or only Saturday NIGHT. If the answer involves any part of Saturday night, may I suggest the following:
  • A trip to a movie theater
  • An evening of laughter at a comedy club
  • A visit to the streets of North Beach. City Lights bookstore, the place that sells shrines and those odd CDs I was playing, Calzone's, etc.
  • Possibly a visit to the SoMa area as well (although I'm not as familiar)
  • A required "last stop" by a little-known "secret spot" of mine where, on a clear night, you can get an unheard of view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

    Obviously, way too many things to do in one day or one night. Hopefully something or other struck your fancy here. You can call me or email me, otherwise I will just keep all of Saturday day and night free for your romping plans in the city.

  • Name Change

    On January 30, 1847 the city of Yerba Buena, which means mint in Spanish was offically renamed the city of San Francisco.


    Offical Documentation taken from the Museum of the City of San Francisco website (http://www.sfmuseum.org):

    AN ORDINANCE WHEREAS, the local name of Yerba Buena, as applied to the settlement or town of San Francisco, is unknown beyond the district; and has been applied from the local name of the cove, on which the town is built: Therefore, to prevent confusion and mistakes in public documents, and that the town may have the advantage of the name given on the public map;

    IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED, that the name of SAN FRANCISCO shall hereafter be used in all official communications and public documents, or records appertaining to the town.

    Washington Bartlett, Chief magistrate January 30, 1847

    I live in Berkeley, which is right across the bay from San Francisco. The two cities are connected by the mass-transit system called BART through an underwater tunnel. My perspectives on San Francisco are thus somewhere midway between that of a tourist and that of a local. In this writeup I'll discuss my favorite areas of "The City", as San Francisco is known in the Bay Area.

    North Beach

    North Beach is my favorite place in America to hang out. North Beach is an Italian section of The City that has been called "The soul of San Francisco." It was home to Beat writers during the Beat Generation. At the south end of North Beach is the ultraliberal City Lights Bookstore which was a haunt of famous author Jack Kerouac and poet laureate Lawrence Ferlenghetti. The heart of North Beach is Columbus Avenue, along which dozens of outdoor cafes, bakeries, and slightly more upscale (but never snobby) restaurants are lined. Every year in late July and early August North Beach hosts a jazz festival. North Beach is adjacent to Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Financial District. The nearby Coit Tower offers panoramic views of the city and the bay.

    North Beach is very popular among locals because it offers cheap, casual places to dine, relax, read, and converse. Two of my favorite hangouts in the area are Café Puccini and Café Greco. Café Puccini is a crowded cafe with an operatic ambience that serves great espresso and Italian snacks. It's incredibly cheap--for about $1.50 you can get a plate of warm focaccia covered with delicious pesto and scallions. Next door is Café Greco, which I enjoy almost as much. One time I ordered a bagel with cream cheese there for about $1.50, and didn't expect much. I got a scrumptious bagel with cream cheese and slices of tomato that was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh oregano. All of the cafes in North Beach are of such high quality. Perhaps the best espresso is served at the quaint Caffe Trieste.

    Haight Street

    Haight Street was famous in the 60s for being the center of hippie culture. Today it still has some hippies though it has gotten trendier--there's a Gap clothing store there. The intersection of Haight Street and Fillmore Street is a great location with excellent cafes and a famous beer bar, Toronado. Toronado has some of the best beers in the world on tap and in bottles. Fillmore's Cafe is a great place in the area to get internationally-influenced snacks and drinks.

    A little ways up from Fillmore Street is Buena Vista Park, which is relatively little known. Buena Vista Park is built into a very high hill from which you can get incredible views of San Francisco and the bay. The winds up there can get very chilly so bring a jacket or sweater.

    Further up Haight Street, at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets, is the epicenter of hippie culture. There are clothing stores where one can buy tie-dyed shirts, head shops that sell drug paraphenelia, and psychedelic music shops. It's not my favorite place to hang out but it's worth seeing.

    Golden Gate Park

    At the end of Haight Street is the fabulous Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park is a lush, well-kept park with lakes, gardens, and museums. It is larger than Central Park in New York City. One highlight of the park is the Japanese Tea Garden, an area with intricate paths, ponds, sculptures, bridges, and a teahouse. There is a lovely botannical garden and a naturally-formed island in a lake which has a hill for viewing the park. Some of the other noteworthy sights in the park are the California Academy of Sciences and the deYoung Museum of Classical art. If you start from Haight Street and keep walking for miles north through the park, you'll eventually get to a beach on the Pacific Ocean side of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is quite a nice end to a walk through Golden Gate Park.

    When I moved to San Francisco, it seemed like every few weeks or so, I would learn of a new neighborhood I had never heard of before. There are some neighborhoods listed here that I still know nothing about, other than location. They are all listed on maps, though. Please /msg me if I missed one, or made an error. ASCII-art map is provided for SF residents who want to know where these neighborhoods are, or think I might be inventing them. :)

    X indicates a landmark. I also tried to indicate 101, Rt 1, Market St.

                       |Golden Gate Bridge                                SF Bay
                       |                                Fishermans Wharf
                       |\___                       _______________
                       |    \---------------------/               \___
    Pacific           /     1             |Marina    Russian Hill     \  
    Ocean             |     1             |                North Beach \_       X /
                     /      Presidio      |                 Chinatown    \__     X  
                    /       1        _ _ _|   Pacific Hts  Nob Hl  Financial\__/    
      _____________/  _ _ _ 1 _  _ _                     Downtown    /        \    
     /                     1     Laurel Hts     Japantown   Tenderloin        |     
    /                      1                                     /            | 
                 Richmond  1                      W. Addition /               | 
                           1                                /     SoMa        | 
    _______________________1_________              Duboce /                   |  
          Golden Gate Park               Haight        /        |      Mission|     
    ____________________1____________             Fillmore               Bay  |     
                Sunset  1                         /             |             | 
                        1          X         Castro               Potrero Hl  | 
                        1                                       |             | 
                        1           Twin X               Mission              \___ 
    |   Parkside        1           Peaks    Noe Vly            |          _______
    |                   1                Diamond Hts                                
    |                   1                                Bernal Heights            
    |                   1                  Glen Park            |      Bayview     
    |                   West Portal                            101                  
    |                      St. Francis Woods                    |                  
     |                                                                             
     |                                                          |                  
     |                                                                             
      |                     Ingleside           Excelsior                         |
       |                                                   Visitacion Valley      |
    
    Hmm... downtown is looking a little cramped... think I better do a closeup of the northeast, RSN.

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