All Things Go

This weekend, Mr. WholeHog and I took the new T-Line along the Embarcadero, past the ballpark and down Third Street.

I knew this area was being developed but I was unprepared for the extent of it. The swaths of tall office buildings and high rise condos with their empty, clean benches, empty, clean courtyards and perfectly planted trees. These new, vacant additions stood in contrast to the windowless warehouses and the acres of parking lots behind the ball park.

We got off the train, walked past a deserted gas station and stumbled on a neighborhood: a few short, tree-lined blocks of Victorian homes sandwiched between a PG&E power plant and roaring freeway. We found a park where people sunbathed and picnicked. It was like another world, like another city.

It was strange to see an area of SF that felt like such a work in progress. It made me think of this photo of the Ferry Building and downtown from 1971 which shows a surprisingly undeveloped downtown San Francisco. Most of the buildings I associate with the financial district aren’t in this picture: there is no 101 California building, no Embarcadero towers, and the Transamerica Building is half-built. (The photo does show that god-awful Embarcadero freeway. Who thought it was a good idea to block the city’s bayside views with a double-decker freeway?!).

SF’s skyline is still changing. From our back deck, we can see the hideous new ionic breeze tower going up. I wonder how this new tower will fit in to the City. Will it be like the Transamerica Pyramid which was initially hated but became iconic and, for the most part, beloved? Or will the new tower be like the double-decker freeway, a blight that thankfully died from natural causes?

And I wonder if that little neighborhood we ran into this weekend tucked in amidst the bland new developments and grungy old warehouses on our T-Line trip will one day feel more like a part of the City. If some day, it will look more like the charming neighborhood view we see from our deck.

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