Around Nob Hill

The new year's resolution I made for 300 blog posts in 2009 weighs a little heavy on me to be honest. Do you take your digital camera with you everywhere you go? I'm starting to. I promised 300 blog posts, so I better get used to it. This is the 18th blog post for 2009, so I'm doing okay. But I can't afford to start slacking off. Not yet. Not in January.

Hence, a blog post.

Today I visited a friend who lives across town in Nob Hill. And by Nob Hill, I mean the San Francisco neighborhood, not the grocery store. Or do you not have Nob Hill grocery stores where you are?

Where am I?


I'll tell you what time it is.






Why, I'm outside the Masonic Auditorium obviously. Well, I was. Now I'm looking at it from across the street. I saw Cassandra Wilson perform there. And Caetano Veloso. And Eddie Palmieri. That may be all. I can't think of anyone else.


I love all the symbolism. I vote for more symbolism.


The society of garden bloggers should adopt such rich symbology.


Across the street from the Masonic Auditorium is Grace Cathedral. From the south:


Full-frontal, cameraman facing west:

Grace Cathedral

I learned today that it's hard to take wide shots in Nob Hill. Everything is so big, you can't back up far enough to get any all-inclusive shots.

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church, in the neo-Gothic style. It has replicas of the Ghiberti Doors.

Grace Cathedral

More symbolism.

Grace Cathedral

Bronzy symbolism.

Grace Cathedral

And there's a maze, or should I say labyrinth. Actually, there are two--the other one is indoors.

Grace Cathedral

The tall building on the right is the Mark Hopkins. There is a restaurant on the nineteenth floor called the Top of the Mark that I've never been to. According to the menu (PDF), a martini cocktail is $12, which seems like a bargain considering the view that must go with it...well, not today.

This is the building on the left in the picture above. I believe Kim Novak drives her Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in to this parking lot in the movie Vertigo. I would love to ride around San Francisco in Kim Novak's Silver Cloud. Wouldn't that be fun?


Today is not a great day for pictures. But, that's okay. This is about making 282 blog posts in the next 341 days.






There are some nice doorways


and gates


and many surprising stairways.


And some surprising street trees too.

What is more surprising?

Pollarded sycamores (Platanus x acerifolia) with Algerian Ivy (Hedera canariensis) boxes?


Or an apparently stump-sprouting Ficus elastica shrub? You tell me. I'm too close.


There are many possibilities for stylish living arrangements in San Francisco. You can live in a house like I do. You can live in a flat. An in-law unit. There are certainly lofts. In Nob Hill, I think most people live in old apartment buildings, like the one we're visiting today. The hallways look the same in all of them.


Tight, narrow stairways are common.


Coin-op laundry room in the basement. (That clock is totally off. Someone needs to change the batteries.)


The price for a load of laundry has not changed since I lived in a building like this in 1989. And the drier is still $0.75.


The elevators are non-descript.


You open the door, and pull back the gate. The elevator itself is a little bit larger than a phone booth.


Glass doorknobs are very common on apartment doors.


And the rooms tend to be small. But I think this one is uncommonly stylish.



350 sq. ft. I am told.


Clawfoot tubs are never in short supply in San Francisco. If you want a clawfoot tub, you can always find one.


A big kitchen on the other hand, good luck.




And your bedroom? It's a closet.


Instead, enjoy art. Art is abundant and affordable in San Francisco.


Everyone has art.


I think my friend might be hanging this one sideways.





And I think the most common houseplant in San Francisco must be a contorted Dracaena marginata. Who doesn't have this plant?



Les said...

What a great tour! I really liked the Masonic building. The Masonic Temple here in Norfolk was built with great detail and effort and is the ugliest building in town. Your friend's art collection is interesting (in a good way), and I especially like the figures on the window sill. I am looking forward to #19 and beyond.

Christopher C. NC said...

I am not 100% certain, but I think I went to a wedding reception in the Masonic Auditorium in 2000.

The main floor of the cozy cabin is about 380ft2. I'll feel just like I'm in the big city. With all my windows though, it is going to be tough to hang all my art.

Hint. This could have been made into three or four posts.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I was just going to say something along the lines of "blogging should be fun and not something else on a to-do list" (primarily to make myself feel better as I update at most once a week, and generally twice a month!), but I certainly don't want to discourage you from posting photos! I've always loved traveling and seeing things in other people's cities--inside and outside--is so interesting to me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck, I am tickled that you are posting so frequently for each and every one of your stories is a treasure. But this is one of the very best. Yes to more symbolism, I don't think they are making buildings with that kind of thought process anymore as the Masonic masterpiece. Your friend's line up of figures on the window sill reminded me of the figures on the building, cool!

Anonymous said...

My parents had a houseplant when I was a kid that looked exactly like the contorted Dracaena marginata. I guess now I know what kind of plant it was.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I just love your tours. It makes me miss living in San Francisco so much. The apartment you show reminds me a lot of the one I used to live in. The door knobs and claw foot tub. The ceilings were so high, when we set off the smoke alarm we'd have to swing long pants up there to turn it off.
That is the only city I'd ever move to!!

JvA said...

In college I had a walk-in, windowed closet for a bedroom. It was cozy.

Michelle said...

Hmmm, I think the last time I was at the Masonic Auditorium was to sit for the CPA exam. The artwork didn't capture my attention! Thanks for the tour, it's been too long since I visited that area.

Unknown said...

Entertaining post. I will however, point out that I believe the "maze" you referred to at Grace Cathedral is called a labyrinth.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have been to SF only one time. I loved looking down those street to see the ocean or SFBay what ever water it is.

Nice tour. I love seeing all of those big buildings even if they were cut off because you couldn't get far enough away.

I liked the close ups of the bronzes and details of the buildings too.

There just aren't many details on buildings any more.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello there !
I haven't been here before and wow ! .. this has been quite a tour : )
I'm Canadian so it holds a bit of a different twist for me .. love all the different art pieces and you are absolutely RIGHT .. that bedroom is a CLOSET ! LOL

lisa said...

Fun tour! I guess if your project is to post more often, then my project is to keep up with the reading. I gladly accept my assignment!:)

Upanddownadventures said...

What building is the elevator in?