The ‘Less Crowded City’

Well, this will probably be my last post before Christmas, or whatever we’ll be substituting Christmas with for this year. In October of 2017, I posted a series of pictures under the title of The ‘Crowded City’. At the time it sounded to me like the title of a film noir movie. The ‘Less Crowded City’ sounds more like something from the science fiction genre. I don’t think that the year 2020 has turned out to be any less fantastic and frightening than any science fiction movie I’ve ever seen. Several shelter-in-place orders have been strictly followed for the most part by the people of San Francisco, and up until this point the loss of life from COVID-19 in the city has been relatively low for such a crowded area. These are a collection of street scenes during San Francisco’s typical past, and during the last full week before Christmas, 2020. (Thumbnail images)


We’ll start at Powell Street near Geary Blvd, in the 1940s. The skillful talent of jaywalking has become less of an achievement in 2020. (Reddit)


Market Street, where Turk and Mason Streets come in to it in 1968. On the ground floor of the building on the right with the Coca-Cola sign was where the ‘Pepsi-Cola Center for Servicemen’ Center for those in the service during World War Two was located.


One of the most popular hangouts for the “beatniks” of the 1950s in San Francisco was the Co-Existence Bagel Shop on the corner of Green Street and Grant Avenue in North Beach. (Pinterest)


Where the old Co-Existence Bagel Shop was today: (Pinterest)


I’m not sure if I like this painting from the 1970s looking down Powell Street toward the Sir Francis Drake hotel, or not, but it is interesting. Few of the buildings in the work match up to the actual buildings there, and if that’s supposed to be Telegraph Hill with Coit Tower in the background, it isn’t South of Market Street. (


The most famous bookstore in San Francisco is ‘City Lights Books’ in North Beach, named after Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film. It has been visited by the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Bob Dylan. (SF Chronicle)


The southwest corner of Union Square looking toward the intersection of Powell Street and Geary Blvd. during the 1970s: Men’s hats hadn’t entirely lost their popularity yet. Well, I count three people in my picture. (


Looking across Market Street toward the Number One Powell Street Building; looks like the early 1960s. There’s a lot of interesting things to see in the vintage picture, including an Eddy Street sign on Powell, and also a rare comparison in 2020 that has a cable car in both pictures. (











One thought on “The ‘Less Crowded City’

  • The first two pairs of pictures show that not much had changed between them. That is gratifying. I remember the name of City Lights only. I have never been there that I am aware of.

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