?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-09-12 07:59
Subject: [personal] The mean streets of San Francisco
Security: Public
Tags:california, personal

Yesterday I went walking a little after 6 am. There is nothing going on in downtown San Francisco at that hour. Not even cops around.

Today I went walking a little after 4 am. Very different. The weirdos haven’t gone to sleep. The hookers are still wandering around. (Well, I did see one hooker yesterday.) I passed four guys breaking into a van. One of me, four of them, me without a cell phone, so I just kept walking without making eye contact. The guy who’d been walking half a block behind me caught up and wanted to talk about it. I had a flipping encounter group on the perils of urban crime at 4:30 in the morning, for the love of Pete.

After that, no so much with the criminal element, but it made me realize what a pokey place Portland is. And Omaha, for that matter.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

Post A Comment | 13 Comments | | Flag | Link






Yasmine Galenorn
User: yasminegalenorn
Date: 2008-09-12 15:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to surreal and pretend it was a bad dream. Four guys, one van, nobody getting hurt on a physical level...things can be replaced, better to save the heroics for when somebody's in danger. :)

Yasmine
Reply | Thread | Link



España Sheriff
User: cmdrsuzdal
Date: 2008-09-12 16:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love walking through the city in the wee hours. Not in the Tenderloin, though :)

But I noticed that as well, before a certain hour the nocturnal inhabitants are all busy, but at a certain point there's a lovely lull when it's too late for drunks and criminals but too early for early risers. I always thought it felt sort of cozy during that period, with no one else about you feel like you're getting a 'behind the scenes' look.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Karen, aka Ana Lake, ska Aine inghean Cathal
User: summers_place
Date: 2008-09-12 15:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Walking at 4 AM without a cell phone: something I wouldn't do in Cleveland, I can tell you that. (Then again, I probably wouldn't do it in downtown anywhere for values of "anywhere" equal to or greater than a few thousand in population. Not even my sleepy hometown, were I still there.)

Four guys breaking into a van at 4 AM: alas, something I'd not be the least bit surprised to see in downtown Cleveland or lots of other places.

Walking to clear one's head/relax/whatever: priceless.
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-09-12 15:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was more worried about the possibility of losing my cellphone to a mugging than needing it for my own safety.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



willyumtx
User: willyumtx
Date: 2008-09-12 22:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Seems like a cell phone would not have helped you much had you been assaulted. Granted, AFTER the fact, it might be handed if you needed a ride, but having one as "protection?"

Using foresight, awareness, and caution are the best tools for staying safe.

Items are not that helpful unless you are expert at using them and prepared to do so.

My two pennies.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Dave Gallaher
User: dave_gallaher
Date: 2008-09-12 15:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, your hotel is in the Tenderloin.

On the other hand, there was a time a year or so ago when it seemed like I was seeing a new pile of shattered glass on the sidewalk around work (south of Market Area, the block bordered by Folsom, Harrison, 3rd and 4th street, and the five smaller streets within this block) most every day. The number of car break ins in the area seems to have dropped quite a bit since then.
Reply | Thread | Link



threeoutside
User: threeoutside
Date: 2008-09-12 15:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"it made me realize what a pokey place Portland is. And Omaha, for that matter."

Given the context, I'll accept that compliment to my home town. ;^>
Reply | Thread | Link



Thomas Jefferson Crowley
User: tjcrowley
Date: 2008-09-12 16:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I live up on Nob Hill, and I'm not particularly scared of walking around the Tenderloin at night - but then again I am 6'2" and 230 pounds. You're lucky in that it's about ten days after the first of the month, when the entire Tenderloin turns their SSI checks in to crack.

I would not attempt what you did in the Mission at the moment -- ever since Papa (head of the Hell's Angels here and an acquaintance) was shot, the Mission has been like a war zone.

For giggles, draw your route out on this map: http://www.sfgate.com/maps/sfhomicides/
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-09-12 16:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nice!

I'm 5'11" and 235 pounds...big enough to not look like a victim, not so big I look actively dangerous. But this morning I did use Geary intead of O'Farrell, given how skanky O'Farrell was yesterday morning.

Of course, the van incident was on Geary, so I'm not sure how much I accomplished.

Once I got up onto Gough, everything settled right down.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jo Rhett
User: jorhett
Date: 2008-09-12 18:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Once I got up onto Gough, everything settled right down.

Now, here you have stumbled on to something unique to San Francisco. I've lived in many bad cities -- Southeast D.C., New York, Boston. I've been to many others a bit too much -- Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, LA.

But frankly, only San Francisco has this bizarre "1 block difference" effect. The houses on Gough sell for 2+ Mil. The houses a block away sell for $500K. And the reason is the neighborhood. One block can make a difference.

If you were in SOMA, you could safely walk down 5th street any day. But you'd really rather avoid 6th street except during working hours. Etc and such forth all over the city. It's really bizarre how localized the problem areas are.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Jo Rhett
User: jorhett
Date: 2008-09-12 18:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yesterday I went walking a little after 6 am. There is nothing going on in downtown San Francisco at that hour. Not even cops around.

Everyone is down having a drink at the EndUp, just down the street from you ;-)
Reply | Thread | Link



thefaeway
User: thefaeway
Date: 2008-09-13 01:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have spent some time on the SF streets around 1am. It's a very unique place at that time of morning.
Reply | Thread | Link



Ruthanne Reid
User: ruthannereid
Date: 2008-09-13 20:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One does have to wonder why you went walking at such an hour without a cell phone. :) (Assuming you have one! Perhaps you don't.)
Reply | Thread | Link



browse
my journal
links
January 2014
2012 appearances