The F-Market redeemed.


I rarely take the F-Market because it is so slow and the double-seats have no butt dividers. The former is more important than the latter, of course, but the latter is really important if you have ever had a stranger smelling of grain alcohol be all gropey with the side of his leg. Not that that has ever happened to me before. (All the time, on the F-Market.)

F Market, by Jef Poskanzer

I took the F-Market yesterday because going underground on a day like that was a crime, the kind of crime that unicorns would ticket you for while crying tears of Nutella. It was an astoundingly beautiful San Francisco day. I should have walked. But I took the F-Market instead.

The redeeming quality about the F-Market is that it is usually populated with cheerful tourists. I like to eavesdrop and pretend that I speak their languages. I don’t. But I can fumble my way through German, so that is how I overheard the mother explaining to her little boy not to pull on the cord because that would ring the bell to signal that a stop was requested.

The little tow-headed boy of maybe five looked extremely disappointed in that Teutonic way, which is to say that his right shoulder may have slumped three millimeters. And my crabby old heart melted. Right before my stop, I touched his mother lightly on the elbow and asked her if he would like to ring the bell on my behalf. Lest you think I am some kind of awesome, I did this in English. (I am pretty sure I would still be on that train if I had to come up with “on my behalf” in German.)

She smiled and instructed her son to pull the cord, which he did gleefully, as indicated by one part of one tooth showing when he smiled. I gave him a bright “Dankeschön” as I left. And hell yeah, F-Market, I forgive you. I forgive you anything at all.

1940s-era Coca-Cola billboard in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights to be covered up


How disappointing. From the article: “The suddenly infamous Bernal Heights Coca-Cola billboard will apparently be covered up with siding in the hope that it can be preserved until a possible historic designation makes it legal to display once more.”

NIMBY vs. Vintage Sign: The Lost History of the Former Tipton’s Grocery Store


For those of you following the Bernal Heights Coca-Cola sign saga, here is the update from Bernalwood.

Historic Bernal Heights Coca-Cola Sign Outlawed


I had the pleasure of photographing this sign during a SFlickr photostroll a few years ago. Although I am no fan of the brand, I care about protecting the sign as a piece of San Francisco history.

If you care too, please help me in searching the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection for evidence that the sign existed before 1965. I have already searched Flickr Commons, to no avail, but could always use a triple-check. The sign is located at the corner of Tompkins and Banks.

(via James)

Update, 17 February 2011: I searched Flickr Commons, but found no results. I also searched the San Francisco Historical Photographs collection at SFPL, but didn’t find anything there either. I contacted SF City Guides and the Mechanics’ Institute Library. The latter pointed me to the California Historical Society’s photograph collection. Then I remembered that SFPL recently digitized their city directories. I found “Tipton’s Gro” at 601 Tompkins on page 828 of the 1964-65 directory. This does not prove that the Coca-Cola sign existed, but searches for Tipton’s Grocery/Grocers may uncover something. I hope this helps.

The opposite of reverse.


I found myself wandering-with-purpose in the Financial District tonight. It was a perfect 65 degrees and the buildings quietly churned with swing-shift tidying. On a street I have walked hundreds of times, I found myself staring at the new location of an old employer. There was no rush of feeling, bad or good, just a slow smile. Well, there you are again. And I kept going.

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