San Francisco

California Street (9 Photos)

On September 2, 2014 fate ordained that I would handle a downtown delivery route. A downtown route is a high-stakes undertaking. The work is much more challenging than a residential route, but you’re rewarded with spectacular sights and a chance to ride the lightning by being a cog in the timeless, well-oiled machinery of one of America’s oldest running business districts for a day

The route began in the wonderfully preserved area east of Telegraph Hill abutting the wharfs. This is the true heart of San Francisco, the nearest natural harbor in San Francisco after entering the the Golden Gate. Ships arrived here by the thousands during the Gold Rush and were simply abandoned by the crews, as often as not being turned into the landfill that historic waterfront San Francisco is built on.

My delivery was on the 100 block of Green St. at the corner of Icehouse Alley, just one block away from the Green St. laboratory where Philo Farnsworth perfected the electronic television.

Every street sign tells a story.
Every street sign tells a story.

***

My next delivery was in one of the Embarcadero Center towers. This delivery entails being directed by teamsters into the underground parking garage of a 30-something story skyscraper. There are no pleases and thank yous here, just a lot of move-its and c’mon- alreadys. With the specter of domestic terrorism and a bunch of people driving box trucks underneath skyscrapers, everyone’s on his best behavior here. This was no place to stop and take a photo.

***

For the last part of the day, I had nine stops along the first six blocks of California Street. On a street like California, with cable cars, taxis, lunch crowds, and tourists, it made more sense to just park the truck in one place and use the hand cart to make the deliveries.

I parked across the street from the Tadich Grill, San Francisco’s oldest continually running eatery. Tradition runs strong here. The waiters wear white jackets and black pants, and there have only been seven chefs since 1925.

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There’s often a crowd outside Tadich Grill.

 

***

My third or fourth stop on California St. was a building that had a really nice collage in the lobby of the iconic downtown street grid done in art deco tiles. Before I could even press the shutter on my Iphone camera the security guard came rushing out from behind his desk shouting “No pictures! No pictures!” I compromised and took just one.

Stylish art deco tile map.
Stylish art deco tile map.

***

A block or two up was the iconic four way crossing at the intersection of California and Montgomery, where you can cut across the intersection diagonally right in front of a cop car, as people are doing here.

4-Way Xing
4-Way Xing, California & Montgomery. The Transamerica Pyramid is just a block up Montgomery.

Below is a close-up of a the building seen in the 4-way crossing shot.

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***

 

 

The insides of the buildings are as historically eye-catching as the outsides, but after the first security guard yelled at me, I didn’t want to press my luck as a photographer. This shot of an ashtray in an elevator lobby was the best I could do.

Ashtray in lobby, Mad Men style.
Ashtray in lobby, Mad Men style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

After I made my final delivery on the 500 block of California Street, it was time to hop back in the truck and call it a day, leaving California Street to the cable cars, businesspeople and the lunch crowd.

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A cable car rolling past the Tadich Grill. It doesn’t get more San Francisco than that.

***

The trip back to the warehouse took me onto the other side of the tracks, along Mission St.

This was the view from the red light at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness.
This was the view from the red light at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness.

I made a burrito stop along Mission between 18th and 19th at the flagship location of the celebrated Taqueria Cancun. The equally legendary, and even more notorious, Hunt’s Donuts used to be on the same block. The section of wall mural below is all that remains.

Where I made my burrito stop at the flagship Taqueria Cancun location @ Mission between 18th & 19th.

Window Seat Photos OAK-LAX, July 25 & 28, 2014 (18 Photos)

Due to a flight cancellation and a 2.5 hour delay, I got out of OAK much later than I like to. On the plus side, the early evening sun silhouetted the mountain ranges in both NoCal and SoCal nicely, providing great definition that even an iphone could capture. It was also a chance to enjoy magic hour above L.A.

It was an uncharacteristically muggy July in the Bay Area, and as I learned it was significantly more humid in L.A. I was startled but not surprised when on early sunday afternoon there was a nasty thunderstorm that discharged its electricity in the shallow water just south of Venice Pier. Where I was, the ground shook and car alarms went off. As I later sadly learned, one swimmer was killed by the lightning and more than a dozen others received injuries.

A flotilla of container ships, with beautiful San Bruno and Santa Cruz Mountains in background.
After takeoff from OAK, a flotilla of container ships with beautiful San Bruno and Santa Cruz Mountains in background.
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San Francisco International.
McLaren Park, southeast San Francisco.
McLaren Park, southeast San Francisco.
A virtual relief map of southeast San Francisco.
A virtual relief map of southeast San Francisco.
Golden hour north of Los Angeles.
Golden hour north of Los Angeles.
Banking left over Malibu.
Banking left over Malibu.
National forest land north of L.A.  Tiny Lake Piru is visible directly beneath the point of the nearer flap track fairing (the pointy pod-shaped thing). Castaic Lake is the V-shaped body of water beneath the further flap track. Piru is in Ventura County, Castaic is Los Angeles County.
National forest land north of L.A. Tiny Lake Piru is visible directly beneath the point of the nearer flap track fairing (the pointy pod-shaped thing). Castaic Lake is the V-shaped body of water beneath the further flap track. Piru is in Ventura County, Castaic is Los Angeles County.
A sweeping view from West L.A. north. From nearest to farthest: Rancho Park Golf Course, Century City, L.A. Country Club, Streetwise, that's PIco separating Rancho Park from Century City; Santa Monica Blvd running in a straight line north of Century City; and Wilshire Blvd curving off north of Santa Monica Blvd. That gleaming body of water atop the  Santa Monica Mountains is the Stone Canyon Reservoir. Beyond that is the entire expanse of the San Fernando Valley covered in a light haze. At the rear end of the flat expanse of the San Fernando Valley on the left side are what I think are the Santa Susana Mountains; on the right is the San Gabriel range. That dip in between the two ranges is Newhall Pass, where the I-5 leaves Los Angeles County heading north toward the Grapevine and where the Antelope Valley Freeway begins. Note that the silhouetted ridges of three more Transverse  mountain ranges are visible in the upper right of the photo beyond the San Gabriel range.
A sweeping view from West L.A. north. From nearest to farthest: Rancho Park Golf Course, Century City, L.A. Country Club, Streetwise, that’s PIco separating Rancho Park from Century City; Santa Monica Blvd running in a straight line north of Century City; and Wilshire Blvd curving off north of Santa Monica Blvd.
That gleaming body of water atop the Santa Monica Mountains is the Stone Canyon Reservoir. Beyond that is the entire expanse of the San Fernando Valley covered in a light haze. At the rear end of the flat expanse of the San Fernando Valley on the left side are what I think are the Santa Susana Mountains; on the right is the San Gabriel range. That dip in between the two ranges is Newhall Pass, where the I-5 leaves Los Angeles County heading north toward the Grapevine and where the Antelope Valley Freeway begins.
Note that the silhouetted ridges of three more Transverse mountain ranges are visible in the upper right of the photo beyond the San Gabriel range.
Another nice  perspective: West L.A and the I-405 in the foreground The Valley behind it. And for all I know, those could be the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the horizon.
Another nice perspective: West L.A and the I-405 in the foreground The Valley behind it. And for all I know, those could be the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the horizon.
A softer horizon, harder to tell where the mountains end and the clouds begin.
A softer horizon, harder to tell where the mountains end and the clouds begin.
Magic hour above Gardena.
Magic hour above Gardena.
Hollywood Park racetrack. Closed at the end of 2013 and soon to be demolished.
Hollywood Park racetrack. Closed down for good at the end of 2013 and soon to be demolished. Some call it progress.
The 405 at magic hour. No traffic!
The 405 at magic hour. No traffic!

 

Less than 24 hours before this photo was taken, lightning from a freak thunderstorm struck the water just south of this pier, killing one swimmer and injuring over a dozen others.
Less than 24 hours before this photo was taken, lightning from a freak thunderstorm struck the water just south of this pier, killing one swimmer and injuring over a dozen others.
Castaic Lake.
Castaic Lake.
The curve of Santa Monica Bay. It looks like barely anybody lives there.
The curve of Santa Monica Bay. In this light, it barely looks populated.
Above Malibu.
Looking down on Malibu.
Home.
Home.

The Richmond. June 13, 2014 (11 photos)

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Geary Blvd idyll.
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In the Avenues, every hour is magic hour, as long as there’s no fog.
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The new S.F. You have to come to the Outer Richmond to find a hipster-free taqueria. Diagonal parking spaces a bonus.
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How cars and houses look in the alternate universe of the Richmond, where the people wear jackets in the summer.
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The beach is almost an afterthought in the Richmond.
A crowded beach by Richmond District standards.
A crowded beach by Richmond District standards.
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The last red light in the Western Hemisphere?
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The windmills in Golden Gate Park aren’t just there for looks. They originally took advantage of the area’s high wind activity to pump groundwater to water the park’s flora.
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How a beach town should look.

 

 

 

THE WEEK THAT WAS. DECEMBER 10-13, 2013.

The Palm Tree and the Pine.

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A uniquely Californian pairing. I photograph them together every chance I get.

Easter Island Style

At this strip mall on the edge of East San Jose, I looked up at these trees and realized I was looking at the gangsta lean silhouette of the mysterious Easter Island statues.

 

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Note the white pinprick of the half-moon (top-center).

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East San Jose Lavanderia.

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Lake Merritt

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Alameda

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Magic Hour in San Jose.

As the entire street was engulfed in deepening shadows, this one house on the end seemed to light up.
As the entire street was engulfed in deepening shadows, this one house on the end seemed to light up.

Ford Falcon Ranchero. San Jose.

This was my last stop of the day on Thursday. I had never seen anything like this Falcon Ranchero before. It was good light for photography, but the old guys on the block were all gathered at the corner. I knew they would be watching me, so I settled for these two furtive shots from across the street.

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The Mission.

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It's good to see that parts of the Mission don't change.
It’s good to see that parts of the Mission don’t change.

Trees of San Leandro/San Lorenzo

 

 

 

 

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This thing is pruned to look like a Fram oil filter.
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Me and the tree.

Images of the Week (Oct 29-31 2013).

vintageblackcar
South of Market, Halloween morning.
Hulked out ruins from the previous millennium.
Hulked out ruins from the previous millennium.
East San Jose
East San Jose
Sweet decal. Oakland.
Sweet decal. Oakland.

 

Diamond & Bosworth in SF.
Diamond & Bosworth in SF.

After surfacing at Glen Park BART, I managed to snap a shot of this road machine before it rolled through the intersection on four stout tires, purring contentedly. The inadvertent photographing of the yellow light and the left turn in progress of the six-wheel flatbed going through the crosswalk nicely captures the fluidity of the moment.

MIssion Street, Halloween Afternoon 2013.
MIssion Street, Halloween Afternoon 2013.

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