After work, I walked from the radio station, at Mariposa and Bryant streets, over Potrero Hill, down to south of Market, all the way to the Bay, then up to the Oakland ferry. It's about three and a quarter miles. The walk does lots of things, and one of them is to open up the city to view.
San Francisco is every bit as striking as self-conscious locals and awestruck visitors say it is. What I've come to like about it are the hard edges, the things that make the place a city rather than just a post-card vista: the Muni bus barn across the street from the station; Mariposa Street's steep climb across Potrero Avenue; the way the 101 freeway cuts into the shoulder of Potrero Hill and sweeps beneath the pedestrian bridge between Utah Street and San Bruno Avenue; the view of downtown and the Bay Bridge from the hill; the way streets are flung straight up the hill, and all the rest of the hills, damn the contours; the shopping center on the site of the old Seals ballpark and the fact the ballpark was once there; the Double Play bar across the street from the same dead ballpark (I've never been inside); the giant phased electric classic Coca-Cola sign along the approach to the bridge; the bail-bond gulch across the street from the Hall of Justice; block after block of new lofts and flats that fill the old industrial district; the corner, 3rd and Brannan, where Jack London was born, according to the plaque there; the works and ramparts of the Bay Bridge where it's built into bedrock and begins its thrust out over the water; the roar of traffic on the bridge, 15 or 20 stories above the bay shore, and everything else about the Bay Bridge, now that I think about it; the bayfront, for now anyway tamed and manicured and turned into a long promenade; the Ferry Building which I'll always see with it's cupola-top flagpole wrenched askew by the 1989 earthquake; and a thousand other things that I've seen, remarked to myself, and have forgotten until next time I come across them.
And what I like most of all--that I've gotten a chance to walk through these places and am doing it still.