We were talking about Sonoma last week but let’s move south a few miles to that hilly peninsula between the white-capped Pacific and the chilly shark-infested waters of San Francisco Bay. Yes, the city with famous bridges and famous cable cars and famous neighborhoods with men in assless chaps, it’s San Francisco. Hey look, the comment boards are already lighting up with flaming bags of poo because my city description doesn’t also include politicians dragged into gun-running scandals and Rice-a-roni and earthquakes and hipsters with horn-rimmed glasses and keffiyehs riding fixies while smoking corncob pipes. Yes! I hit a new record for ridiculous stereotypes!
But San Francisco really IS all those things, among so many more. It has, arguably, some of the best restaurants in the world. It has incredible light that makes the art produced there unique, like Dutch realism. It has tech geeks sharing a bus stop bench with wire-haired hippies sharing space with bankers and that one guy with B.O. who yells at shrubbery and everyone is getting along. It has the coldest summers and parking is a competitive motorsport and yet people come anyway to see the Venetian red spires of the Golden Gate thrusting through the fog banks, smell sea lions and fried clams mixing on the Embarcadero, and stroll at an acute angle down streets past pastel rowhouses. On this recent trip we explored Golden Gate Park and two recent architectural additions, seen here from a grassy hillock discovered by Child Harbat. First, the DeYoung, with a tower like waking robot twisting the rust from its torso after a long slumber:
Then there’s the Academy of Sciences, looking like a clean-cut man wearing a ridiculous hat. I love the roof of this building and only wish it was reflected in the landscape design so people could experience climbing up a grassy hillock and rolling down the other side, like Jack and Jill.
How did CH absorb all this, millions of dollars and man hours devoted to architectural wonders on a grand scale in one of the world’s most beautiful cities? She took my joking request to follow a crack in the paving and walked it through to the end. If you’ve been to the DeYoung, take a tip from CH and follow the crack. Like walking meditation, you’ll find yourself at the end of the journey.