A San Francisco Elegy

We're in process on our cross-country move. Robin is in Philadelphia -- in fact, she had her first day on the job at FWCC, also yesterday. And meanwhile, our children are at Camp Grandma & Grandpa while I finish packing.

Yesterday I got to spend some time in San Francisco while waiting for some car maintenance to be completed. It was a beautiful day to explore the southern Mission and lower Bernal Heights. Finally some bright Northern California sunshine, air relatively clean from all the rain, and no fog, yet still pleasantly cool.

First, I went for coffee, snack, and wireless at the Nervous Dog.

Then, I took a walk. It was getting toward lunchtime. Some friends had told us about Phat Philly, a Philadelphia-themed restaurant on 24th Street near Mission, so I decided to wander up there.

I went over to Guerrero Street, the route by which we drove our kids to school every morning. There is a relatively new "parklet" there that was created by closing off part of a little-used, diagonal intersection. It looked interesting from a moving car, so it was nice to actually partake of the walkability of the site by walk.
Along the way, I found Pi.
Open every day at 3:14 PM! And hated on Yelp:
And then, there it was: Phat Philly!
I had a pepper steak. It wasn't perhaps "authentic" in that they had gourmet steak, and they had veggie options available, which is great. They did have lots of ketchup available (as well as Tapatio hot sauce for that California touch), a Pennsylvania baseball team on TV (though it was the Pirates), and Tastykakes!! I used to bring a Tastykake krimpet in my school lunch almost every day when I was in grade school in New Jersey.
Lunch bag in hand, krimpet-less today, I went back to the parklet. The plaza there has some benches as well as a few chairs and a couple of eucalyptus logs.

I ate my lunch and finished reading David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries. It was fun reading about NYC's bold steps to make the streets more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly while sitting in a San Francisco example of a similar effort.

Across the street is the fabulous Mitchell's Ice Cream. Yum! But not this time.

After lunch I wandered aimlessly along Mission Street for a while. This stretch of street has chain stores (Safeway and Walgreens), Spanish-speaking attorneys, affordable housing, market rate housing, a gas station, car repair shops, a hardware store, little grocery and liquor stores, money-changing places, lots of taquerias of Mexican, Salvadorean, or Guatemalan persuasion, a panaderia (Mexican bakery), yuppie coffee shops (Nervous Dog), a Cambodian restaurant, a Pizza Hut and two Indian restaurants -- one of which is also a pizza joint! In short, a higgledy-piggledy, thriving, mixed-use and mixed-income urban neighborhood.

This was written into the concrete near the Nervous Dog:
An appropriate term for contemporary postindustrial capitalism, in my opinion.

From there, I chose to rise the actual heights of Bernal and walked a block up the hill. To my delight, there was a mini-park on Coleridge.
There was a small playground and a nice walkway with benches and shade:
And it all opened up on a spectacular view west, toward Noe Valley, the Castro, and Twin Peaks:
Twin Peaks has a giant red AIDS-awareness ribbon on it right now. It's hard to see with my lo-rez cell phone photo, but it's there:
Finding my way back downhill, I called the car shop and they had just finished the work. It was time to drive back to South San Francisco (the Industrial City) and resume packing for the move. I'm very much looking forward to exploring to Philadelphia, and yet will also miss San Francisco.