Street: Tower City Rises
asks, you said you'd never say Frisco but you wore a Frisco t-shirt.
to my "satire shirt," as Jeff calls it. Yes, it boldly says
Frisco, but I won't. (Still the official policy of Mister SF is, call
the City what you like but do call it, take it out, and spend some money
on it.) The question makes me want to tell you a story. One night Jeff
says, "Let's go to Starbucks." I said, "I can't go to
Starbucks. Mom and Pop would have my head." "Yes you can,"
he tells me, "it's customer appreciation night. Lattes are free.
You'll be depleting their resources without supporting them with your
dollar." I let him talk me into it. A month later, the scene replayed
itself exactly, and on we went. Once inside we found ourselves facing
a glass display case with community clippings and photos of patrons
with some snaps of smiling folks on "Customer Appreciation Night,"
including those smiles of the Laverne and Shirley of lattes, also known
as me and Jeff. Shirley distracted the barrista while Laverne picked
the lock on the case and the photo mysteriously disappeared.
asks, is Mister SF married?
Yes. As I told
Jeff on the day a court struck down the 2004 gay marriages, including
ours, "God saw you [take your vows.]" The law will follow,
asks, I was disappointed that you have not made the Examiner's list
of possible next mayors. Undoubtedly an unfortunate oversight right?
asks, are you among the Newsom-bashing bloggers and sites like gavinnewsomsucks.com?
No way! I wrote
one finger-shaking essay because I felt that Newsom is fiddling while
we burn in too many ways in a culture that shrugs everything off. When
I see Nazi effigies used to campaign against Newsom it makes me sick.
With George Bush it's okay because of the element of truth. But, I also
got a stomach ache when BART spokesperson Linton Johnson called Newsom
"the new Martin Luther King" in a documentary that aired on
KQED following the gay weddings. But to your point, no.
asks, what was the route from the Chronicle building that Herb Caen
used to stay dry on rainy days?
AJ his route from
Le Central on Bush Street to the paper at 5th and Mission no longer
exists in its entirety. (I revisited the route in a 2002 column.)
Here is Caen's trajectory: Bush to Sutter through Sutter-Stockton Garage;
Hyatt Union Square; Union Square Garage; Macy's (escalator down); O'Farrell-Ellis
Garage (elevator down); Woolworth's; BART; Emporium basement (escalator
up); rear exit; Giannini's Market (Jessie); and "arrive at Chronicle
reasonably dry." The shortcut is included in Caen's November 17,
1981 column. Have fun!
asks, Did you get a record of 555 Mission Street before the tower
Yes! It is an opportunity
to witness the City transform itself once more. San Francisco has been
compared to a female lover more times than I care to grind an old saw.
Ultimately, I think it's true and I think she's Madonna. So here we
are again with another makeover in progress. The Tower City of the West
rises around the bones of places in this district like the old M&M
cafeteria and Rockin' Robin's, among the quirky, original joints stretching
past what would become Yerba Buena Gardens
to the M&M bar and beyond the Chronicle Building. When I was a lad
I worked at the Russell's pharmacy on Mission near the Transbay terminal.
It's still there, 320 Mission Street. One night I was working during
the height of the evening commute when a customer was killed by a runaway
bus coming out of the terminal at Mission and Fremont Streets. It was
one of those tragic moments that leaves an imprint on San Francisco,
and on a young San Franciscan when the City seems so big and life so
asks, My gosh, Hank, is it true they're turning Ghirardelli Square
It's true that
upper floors have been converted into Fairmont Heritage Place, luxury
time-share condos starting at $250,000 per share. I know how you feel
Brian, but look. It's not the original Ghirardelli location (that's
417 Jackson Street) and it hasn't
been a chocolate factory for ages. Okay I'd fight to save the sign (itself
a more contemporary icon as it was added in 1923) if it ever came to
that, but... Mister SF has to strive with the stream once in a while,
and by that I mean the clock and calendar. I encourage everyone to visit
the northwestern section of Fisherman's Wharf including Aquatic
Park and on to Upper
Fort Mason. The area is rife with beauty. But if commercial tenants
can't sustain themselves in the Ghirardelli Square market on the fringe
of the tackier parts of Fisherman's Wharf that we locals tend to love
from afar, then it should be allowed to find a new life.
your question for Mister SF?