San Francisco’s iconic neon signs

Atlas Obscura talks to Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna, authors of the new book San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons:

Which neighborhood in San Francisco has the highest concentration of remaining signs?

Grant Ave in Chinatown has the most legacy neon signs per block. This is probably because Chinatown has never experienced a major “redevelopment”phase. Sadly, only two or three of these signs are still illuminated.

Is their loss something that is universally mourned in SF?

People mourn the loss of legacy neon signs, and also the small businesses they represent, which are being squeezed out by gentrification. A neon sign often marks traditional gathering places in neighborhoods, where generations of city residents congregate to watch movies, drink martinis, buy raviolis, eat fish, and even park cars.

The Q&A contains some great shots of iconic neon here in the Mission. Read on.

Star Wars condom wrapper or Star Wars fruitsnacks?

YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Both possibilities present their own set of unexplained questions.  For instance, what does a wookie taste like?  Some would even say that Star Wars condoms are themselves a paradox, but given enough time and enough galaxies (some far far away), odds are that they would eventually find their way onto some Jedi’s lightsaber.

Every day I’m not walking on pretty stairs is…

“…a piece of shit,” says my esteemed colleague Vic Wong, taker of this lovely ‘gram:

And he’s absolutely right. All the pretty stairs in SF — we should all be getting our fill!

Behold, the new Whole Foods…Tit Mobile?

Not sure if this is real or fake (or some daft new food truck), but hey, San Francisco everybody!

[Photo by Captain Alex DeWall]

What would you do with Fleet Week’s million?

On last week’s Roll Over Easy my fellow Mission Mission contributors Luke and Chris talked about the joys of watching the Blue Angels buzz the city during Fleet Week. They pointed out that there are always complaints about the noise and rattling windows. But there have also been complaints about the cost. Last year KQED suggested that it costs about $1 million to fly the planes over SF. Luke and Chris thought they brought a lot of joy to people, with no specific cost to anyone who wanted to watch (excepting residents’ tax money). Beyond that, I would assume that they’re meant to sustain excitement and support for our military might and justify its spending.

[photo by John 'K']

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the Angels. Their skill is impressive, but it’s not my thing, and I agree that the noise is annoying in that it’s not opt-in. So, I invite you here to speculate with me about what we could do with one million dollars that would still not really accomplish anything, but would bring joy to all kinds of people around the Bay Area, with no added cost to them.

What would you do? What would you like to see?

Here’s my stab at it: a life sized At-At standing with the Oakland cranes shooting It’s Its all over the Bay Area. Now, I know there are people out there who aren’t Star Wars fans (I’m not), and people who can’t tolerate ice cream (I can’t), but even so, how cool would this be??

 

Drawing a map of San Francisco by walking

Ilyse Iris Magy wants you to take a closer look at your city. The local artist is working on a rad new project, Lines Made By Walking, which launches this Friday at StoreFrontLab (337 Shotwell Street). If you’re a map enthusiast, owner of any guidebooks on secret stairway walks, and/or just someone who wants to rekindle your love for this majestic-but-conflicted city, this experiment is for you.

Here’s what Ilyse has to say about Lines:

For five weekends, I will be leading walks from StoreFrontLab to locations around the perimeter of the city, going counterclockwise from North to Northeast. On each walk, we will collectively track points and moments of interest, marking them on the sidewalk with chalk and recording field notes. Throughout the month, we will transcribe these encounters in the same chalk by marking their precise locations on a map projected directly on the wall in the gallery. When the projector is off, this installation will be a scaled representation of the 7×7 mile drawing our marks make throughout the city.

Here’s what the schedule looks like:

Friday 9/19, 6-8:30PM: Opening Reception
Saturday 9/20: Walk 1: North
Saturday 9/27: Walk 2: Northwest
Sunday 10/5: Walk 3: Southwest
Wednesday 10/8, 6:30PM: Maptime SF (Open hand-drawn mapmaking night)
Sunday 10/12: Walk 4: Southeast
Saturday 10/18: Walk 5: Northeast
Sunday 10/19, 6-8PM: Completion Closing Celebration

(All walks depart from StoreFrontLab at 12PM.)

Lines Made By Walking kicks off StoreFrontLab’s 2014/15 season, City Making, a nine-month series of installations, wanderings, happenings, and conversations that look critically and optimistically at San Francisco’s future.

Register for a spot on Eventbrite, and invite your friends!

Mystery bench on 26th and Mission

Just what is the deal with this weird bench?  Says our pal Carlos:

It’s a bench on 26th and mission for absolutely no reason. It just faces a pole with its back to the intersection and there is no bus stop there (even though there is a bus in photo haha). Or maybe it’s a relic from a very old bus stop?

Ooh, maybe it’s a Thommason!!! Perhaps noted Mission historian Burrito Justice can shed some light on this conundrum. Until then . . . IT IS A MYSTERY 👻

About that big hulking building that blocks out the sun at 25th and Capp

Reader Britta (who also a few weeks ago dug up all that info on the old police station on 17th) dug up all the info and made a LocalWiki article about it:

In a residential area at Capp and 25th in the Mission, there’s an oddly big office building that always has lights on at night. What is that? It’s the telco building at 3333 25th Street, owned by AT&T.

In other words, it’s a telephone exchange containing telephone switches and other pieces of equipment, called a “central office” in telecommunications company jargon.

Read on for lots more info and history. Thanks, Britta!

UPDATE: Oh doy! Commenter sfnola says, “This is where The Phone Booth at 25th/SVN gets its name.” Nice.

Latest ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ gameplay video blows up the Golden Gate Bridge

Holy crap! I guess the Sausalito ferry is gonna be extra packed for a while.

[via kotaku]

About that old police station

Reader Britta writes in to let us know about a writeup she did on the old (abandoned?) Mission Police Station on 17th Street near Treat. I’ve always wanted to check out the interior, but never had the chance. Anyone know what’s going on in there now? Last I heard Tracy Chapman was thinking of buying it, and had maybe done some recording in there. Britta suggests that it may currently be owned by an entertainment industry management firm. Sounds spooky.

In 2014


[image via Google Street View]

In 1924


[photograph via UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library]

[article link]