Walking Home: Haight Street

I did not start out intending to walk all the way home from the Panhandle, but once I got started I just kept going. We start off in the Haight-Ashbury.


I lived here 20 years ago. And at 41, I can now disturb myself by talking about things that happened in my adult life 20 years ago. Disturbing! The neighborhood does not seem to have changed much since then, although I rarely visit it now, and I don't know what it's like to spend time here.


It was still relatively early in the morning when I passed through. Usually, Haight Street is quite busy.


I would guess a plurality of visitors come here for Amoeba Music, a massive CD store that was still a bowling alley back in my time.


Cha Cha Cha is a Caribbean restaurant that opened circa 1989 a few doors down from their current corner location. Cha Cha Cha's success helped to revitalize the neighborhood. Back when they opened you were lucky to only wait an hour for a table. I haven't eaten there in a long time. I hope it's still good.


The Red Vic is in a new location too, but I see they're still screening Breathless. You never have to wait more than a few days for a Godard flick at the Red Vic. At the old location they had couches instead of theater seats.


The Aub Zam Zam appeared in a recent movie set in San Francisco, but I don't remember what movie (Milk? Howl?). In it, a character orders a drink & the bartender refuses to make it. Bruno, the bartender here, only made martinis and he'd throw your ass out if he didn't like you. He was a bit of local color. He's gone now, but the Aub Zam Zam lives on.


All You Knead was a hippie throwback even in 1990. The neon Pabst Blue Ribbon sign predates the modern age of hipster irony. It's been there for as long as I can remember.


The murals in the Haight are a lot less hippy-dippy now than they used to be. Some of them are downright fierce.


What's up with all the Dungeons and Dragons murals in the Haight?

There's a lot of visual interest in the neighborhood generally.






By the time we reach Divisadero Street we've come to a natural stopping place. San Franciscans spend inordinate amounts of time debating where one neighborhood ends and another begins (I won't drag you into it). But I think we can all agree that the Haight-Ashbury ends by the time you reach Divisadero. We'll pick up in the Lower Haight.


In the meantime, please enjoy the street median recently planted with red Anigozanthos and some variegated monocot. Planting up the street medians has become popular here since the success of the Guerrero Street Greening project in another neighborhood. There, the plant palette is broader and the plants are intermingled. Here there are just two types of plants, and they are massed. It's nice.



Christopher C. NC said...

I bet you are glad this semester of school is pau and you can go for a nice long walk. For the rest of us it is like going on a native city walk with a knowledgeable guide.

Denise said...

I wonder how many SF neighborhoods you could do such an in-depth tour for, because I wish it could be a MB40 regular feature I could wake up to every Sunday. Really wonderful. Puts me in mind of the NYC tour guide documentary "The Cruise."

rainymountain said...

Glad to see you blogging again. Hope the finals went well and that you managed to escape a second dose of jury duty. Love the walks around San Francisco.

Kaveh Maguire said...

Your walking tours always make me wish I had moved to San Francisco instead of Los Angeles.