“Where angels fear to tread” (Or, at least, they should)

Don’t get me wrong, I love San Francisco; I think it’s the most beautiful city in the world. That being said, I’m also aware of its problem areas. I took a walk Thanksgiving Day along Market Street from Powell Street to Van Ness to get some vintage then and nows. Although this stretch of Market has always bordered the Tenderloin, this used to be the place to visit on Saturdays and Sundays with lots of movie theaters and elegant stores to shop in. Not anymore. On holidays, with most of the businesses closed and few shopping visitors, the vagrants come over to Market Street like something out of the ‘Night of the Living Dead’. These are not all unfortunate victims of the pandemic or hard times; many of them are creepy people, and all of the well-wishing for them isn’t going to make them any less creepy. Whether or not you liked Herb Caen or Mayor Alioto, they wouldn’t have tolerated this; Herb Caen would have blasted the administration with his columns, and Alioto would have certainly used more aggressive tactics to get these people off the streets. Oh well, like my niece Carry Ann’s scientific theory of futility, “I squared w i squared” = It is what it is. I finished my updates, watching where I stepped, and left. (Thumbnail images)

Market Street at Larkin, looking west in 1956: The old Fox Movie Theater is in the background. The fellow in the vintage picture looks like John Travolta. (opensfhistory.org)

Looking east at Market Street and Larkin toward a parade in 1946: Yeah, like they’re going to have a parade here nowadays! “Hey, kids, would you like to sit on the sidewalk?” Not recommended. (opensfhistory.org)

Market Street and Hyde in 1962: From ‘How the West Was Won’ to ‘Frozen’ at the old Orpheum Theater. (opensfhistory.org)

The old Whitcomb Hotel in 1950: How did that survive? (opensfhistory.org)

The Weinstein Department Store was very popular in its day for both elegant and well-to-do shoppers. (San Francisco Public Archives)

Market Street at Gough in 1937: The Hotel Transient Permanent; never was there a more prophetic name for a hotel. (San Francisco Public Archives)

3 thoughts on ““Where angels fear to tread” (Or, at least, they should)

  • Oh my! You could not be more mistaken. San Francisco is merely the second most beautiful city in the World. San Jose is the MOST beautiful! If Los Gatos were a city, then San Francisco would be the third most beautiful city in the World.

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