‘Black Friday’, 2021

Last Friday was a far cry from last year’s ‘Bleak Friday’, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020. If shoppers were discouraged on this traditional first shopping day of the Christmas Season by the recent smash-and-grab robbery pandemic, they didn’t show it. They showed up packing loaded wallets, daring any trouble. Coupled with the unseasonably warm November weather in San Francisco lately, once again there was a touch of magic around Union Square for the beginning of the Holiday Season. (Thumbnail images)

Geary Blvd. and Stockton Street looking toward the old City of Paris Department Store in 1974: Neiman Marcus occupies the corner now. (viewoftheblue.com)

The northeast corner of Union Square in 1974: Due to the remodeling of Union Square in 2002, a perfect line up with the old photo isn’t possible anymore. (viewoftheblue.com)

Shoppers looking into the Macy’s store window in 1979 and 2021: (SF Chronicle, SF Gate)


The cable cars are back running again, but Santa ain’t riding them anymore. (SF Chronicle, SF Gate)


Something was going on at the Stockton Street side of the City of Paris Department Store at Christmastime, 1974. The Macy’s Store is on the right. (viewoftheblue.com)

Whatever was happening in the previous vintage picture from 1974 extended all the way to O’Farrell Street. The view is looking along O’Farrell toward Market Street. (viewoftheblue.com)


Looking along Geary Blvd. toward Stockton Street from Union Square in 1947: The building under construction is the I Magnin Store, now a part of the Macy’s Store. (opensfhistory.org)

The Fairmont Hotel Lobby in a scene from the 1964 film ‘Good Neighbor Sam’ and decorated for the 2021 Christmas Season:

The Union Square Christmas tree in 1929 and 2021: The building on the left in the old photo is still there, the building on the right was remodeled in 1947 for the I Magnin Store.  The Dewey Monument is behind the tree in the old photo. Notice how the Christmas tree in the vintage picture is warped, like a Christmas tree should be, rather than the perfect but still beautiful cone shape of the current tree. (emporernortontrust.org)


Well, after a long day of watching people buy gifts that weren’t for me, (“Doesn’t this guy have anything better to do?”) I headed for the Hallidie Plaza and a BART Train home. The older picture is from 1974. (viewoftheblue.com)

One thought on “‘Black Friday’, 2021

  • Christmas is an unpleasant time of year for me, . . . except when it comes to San Francisco. I remember the Christmas Tree at the City of Paris, and what an event going there to see it was. It reminds me of why other people enjoy Christmas shopping so much. It makes no sense. I dislike Christmas. I dislike shopping. I dislike crowds. Yet, somehow, I would still enjoy Union Square at this time of year.

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