Happy New Year 2014!

Yes, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to lately, but I’m hoping to be here more often in 2014. 2013 was a nice comeback year for me as a micro-preneur and it’s working out pretty darn good so far.

Now that i’ve gotten my act back together I’ll be finishing up my travels around San Francisco set of articles in the New Year and I might even have a few stories to tell about tonight even.

Just a notice to anyone who’s out tonight that I have heard that Sidecar will be charging demand pricing like the other services, but to help the riders out and to get and keep more drivers out there they’re giving all riders a $50 credit to use between 8pm and 4am tonight. Sidecar wants you to get home and to your destinations safely and they’re putting their money where their mouth is.

Expect my next article in a couple of days and I hope that 2014 is the best you’ve ever had so far!

Happy New Year!

Things I’ve Learned About San Francisco: SoMA

South of MarketSouth or Market or South of the Slot as it used to be known is an interesting part of San Francisco historically. It was the first area of major development in San Francisco which the 1906 earthquake pretty much flattened leaving South Park as the only remaining houses to this day.

What was quickly replaced with industrial warehousing after the quake now has been converted largely to condos in the area North of 4th street with the condos starting to change more to newer apartments to the south. This part of  San Francisco is where a lot of the people older San Franciscans consider techies live, yes they are in Mission to a large degree, but the big money techies live here.

You have to have big money to afford the condos here. The condos here are all very new, very pretty and there’s no rent control because pretty much everything was built after 1979 if you’re living here. The condos are also very small, but are made up for by the amenities each complex offers. Most of the people I’ve met who live here are different techies than those who live in the Mission. They aren’t sharing the condos with four to five other roommates and in many cases they aren’t renting, but have bought the condos. As you move farther South in SoMA that starts to change as you get less condos and more housing. Many of these condos come with private, enclosed parking, shared grills, tennis courts in some cases as concierge services as well. It kind of feels like Manhattan a little bit without being quite so tall.

Many of the people who live here chose the areas because they love the views and the short trip to work. The price is pretty high for these spots and as I said, they’re also pretty small, but most of the people here are new to the City and haven’t much of an idea as to what things really cost in the City. I picked up a couple of guys here once who kept talking about how much they spent on the previous Saturday night going out and apparently around $500 is where it started to hurt. I suppose if blowing $400 on a Saturday night wouldn’t sting that’s a good indication that they’re making a lot more money than I am. Since these are relatively new places to live they aren’t pushing anyone out so the gentrification everyone talks about in San Francisco is really just moving out a lot of barely used industrial space. My personal experience has been that many of the people here thought really don’t know that they could get the same thing cheaper in other parts of the City so they’re creating a bit of a wave of upscale that’s spreading out through the City.

I used to work down in this area and always found it surprisingly quiet in the mornings. I might see the odd person jogging, but they usually stuck to the Embarcadero area for that, which I would too if I actually decided to jog anywhere. South Park is the last hip spot in the whole area that’s a little oval spot that feels like a part of the Mission was picked up and plopped down here. Note if you’re here around lunch time there’s a huge line outside Mexico Au Parc which lends a bit of hipster cred to the area along with the lines. It feels just like the Mission, except that while it’s noted as $ on most review sites I can get a burrito just as big and better for about half the price elsewhere in the City. I have yet to see anyone who lives in the houses in South Park, but I do know that at least a few of them have been converted to hipster workplaces which is really kind of out of place for the whole neighborhood. Calling it a neighborhood is kind of a stretch really since there is still lots of building and re-building going on and it’s very rare to find someone  that’s lived here for more than five years.

Walking around in the area you can find little parks stuck in any space that there wasn’t enough room to build a workspace with South Park really being the largest area. For me it was always a pleasant, but odd space to walk around because when you find greenery it is often surrounded by lots of noise from the traffic that is constantly afoot. It’s a nice place to visit for a short time, but aside from eating at one of the expensive places usually located on 2nd Street there isn’t much else to do. Once you pass 6th Street the condos mix in with newer apartment buildings and things become smaller and cramped. Food also gets a little bit cheaper but I think that’s in part to the area starting to mix in with the expanding Mission District which I’ll be writing about next.


Things I’ve Learned About San Francisco: Part 1

San FranciscoSince I’ve been traveling about the City more I’ve gotten a more accurate view of what has been going on in San Francisco. Granted it has been biased by the fact that most of the people have the money and interest in using Sidecar, which I drive for, but it still seems to match up well with what other people are talking about.

Even though San Francisco is roughly 7×7 I’m going to have to break it up into sections defined by the people who live there so for today…Let’s start with the Marina/Pacific Heights/Western Addition/Nob Hill/Civic Center/Tenderloin/North Beach/Chinatown since people who live there tend to call this collection of areas Pac Heights or North Beach.

This is the lair of the bros. The fraternity types that apparently were never here before, unless you count the 80’s which no one remembers when they were called Preppies. You won’t find many festivals here because, well, I’m not sure why but every day is pretty much the same. It’s kind of like the GTL of the Jersey Shore, except here it’s more WBL or Work, Bar, Laundry, not necessarily in that order. People here tend to be going to or come from a bar. I have yet to hear about anyone talk about the restaurants, but the Blue Light and Brickyard bars come up regularly. If you get a chance to meet one they are curious in that every other word out of their mouth seems to be bro, hence their name. I once drove a bro out to the beach and in that half hour he called me bro more than once per minute. I actually lost count after about 40.

While I’m not sure it seems like the bros on Union Street don’t mix with the bros on Chestnut Street as I have yet to bar hop a group of people between the two. Union Street seems to be the more popular as thats where most of the people seem to gravitate to unless they actually live in the Marina then it’s Chestnut street. If they’re one of the people who love living in Pac Heights and they just walked out of a door next to garage meaning that they’re living in an add on room off the garage then it’s Union Street. Oh yes, beer is the drink of choice here. No focus on artisanal microbrews, but more a question of, will it get me drunk?

If you move down to the Western Addition it’s still a very nice place to live, but the real estate people like to call it lower Pac Heights so that they can charge more. It’s got a few sketchy parts as you get closer to Market Street, but for the most part it’s still got lots of bars and restaurants. Because there’s a chance that you might one day walk past someone who’s maybe hasn’t bathed in a few weeks or months and talks to themselves this area is considered edgy. If you want real edge you have to move over to the Civic Center/Tenderloin area which is alternatively called Lower Nob Hill or the Tender Nob. You can run across all types here, usually looking very under fed, but usually over meth’d in this area. People here take stop lights as a mere suggestion rather than a rule. If you moved to San Francisco and got a place here then someone wasn’t telling you the whole truth about the area. Sure, it’s close to Twitter and Square, but you might enjoy life a few blocks North a little more.

When you start to move East from the Pac Heights/Marina area you start to see a change. The bros have built up a tolerance for beer and have moved on to stronger cocktails or straight up booze. Nob Hill & North Beach are where the professional drinkers go. Friday’s and Saturday nights you’ll see people stumbling along from bar to bar and there are tons of them once you get to North Beach. You won’t find many bars with $2 beer signs in the window here, but if you need a good stiff drink and your liver thinks beer is for when the sun is out you move to North Beach.

The bros seem to occupy North Beach on the weekends mostly and many of the people I’ve met who actually live there are techies who like to walk to grab some food and a good stiff drink. These aren’t usually the techies everyone complains about in San Francisco who are raising the rents and pushing poor people out [poor people in North Beach?] These are the leftovers from the early days of the first dot com explosion who didn’t work for pets.com. The only bros and neo-techies you might find in this area are west of Columbus Avenue. That’s where you get into Chinatown, but they still call it North Beach. These are the new comers who everyone has a problem with. Some are true bros who have some money of their own. Lots have Daddy’s credit card to make a name for themselves in San Francisco. Seriously, I have been told that on numerous occasions. Most though are in their mid 30’s and a little older and wiser than those in the Marina & Pacific Heights, but the long time families of Pacific Heights tend to scowl at them so they move to Chinatown, er North Beach.

The only other thing I can say about this area is that Pac Heights for people with kids is the place to go on Halloween. It was just swarming with kids all over the place. People were even sitting out on their front steps meeting the kids to hand out candy. The whole area has a lot of people who’ve been in San Francisco for under a year even though there are still some families who have been here for a few generations, but they’re giving way to the newbs.