June 17, 2003

San Francisco fixes a landmark and discovers a hidden gem

In the midst of all this new fangled technology and its joy and complication is a story of the San Francisco Ferry Building clock getting repaired. The story and photos are wonderful and bring to heart a piece of San Francisco I dearly miss. I miss a lot about living in and about San Francisco, but there are gems tucked away in the city, much like the clock repair shop, that have an old world charm and feel.

The Washington, DC area is missing much of this tangible work feel. There is a violin repair shop here in Bethesda that has this touch of reality, but many of these places are missing as are the neighborhood that surround these shops. New York is filled with these neighborhoods and tangible trade shops. Many of the operations in the DC area have moved out to the suburbs and strip malls next to tire stores and muffler repair shops in newish stucco boxes built with out character.

When I lived and worked in San Francisco I would take vacation days to get to know San Francisco better. I would choose a neighborhood, sometimes my own (Haight Ashbury and inner Richmond) and spend the day walking, seeing, and hearing the pulse of the neighborhood. I truly enjoyed North Beach as it would take me right to Europe by hearing Italian spoken in shops and apartment windows, the smell of Molinari's, seeing laundry drying on a line between apartment buildings, and having a late morning espresso before lunch. The small stores and shops create the character of the neighborhood and the neighborhoods in San Francisco are distinct and often including small streets with privately owned shops. There was no confusing Clement Street, Haight, North Beach, the Mission, Noe Valley, the Castro, nor many of the other neighborhoods in San Francisco. Each of these areas has their own distinct character and their own hidden gems.

Posted Comments

you're so right about DC. I've lived here all my life, and there just isn't that sense of culture that one finds in NYC or SF. It's all due to the transitory nature of the town.

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