I had meant this to be my Monday post, but because I was a bit shocked about Darla’s closing I decided to hold off a day. After finishing my part two of Golden Gate Park I saw a tweet about the following “job opening” on craigslist. Click on the photo to read it in its entirety.
I have to admit it’s a pretty funny job listing, but what’s a little bit shocking is that some one is so pissed off about Park and Rec [now Recreation and Parks that they call it now] that they were willing to pay $75 to list this job of an job listing. My close personal friend Craig Newmark [who once banned me from his list] must be laughing all the way to the bank on this one.
I do have to admit that our parks are suffering a bit. When we were kids [and I’m sure my other close personal friend Steve will chime in on this] the parks were well grassy more than weedy. I have another close personal friend Nikolai [who deserves special notice because I’ve used that term and have actually met up with him in the past ten years] worked for the park system as a gardener.
Nikolai used to make sure that the grass was grass and the weeds were gone, that the grass got watered and didn’t turn the many colors it does other than green. We used to have a very nice show piece with the park where the only thing you had to worry about when you were being a rough kid with your friends was hitting the odd piece of crab grass that I remember as hurting like hell.
The drinking fountains used to work until some of the bigger kids would stuff gravel in them so that you’d get squirted with a high pressure blast of water which is what we all took our science classes to learn how to do. God knows where the water came from for those faucets, but I’m sure they’d be on a toxic waste list today.
The park used to be much nicer than it is today. The only way to get even close to the experience is to go out to the west end of the park around the chain of lakes at 45th Avenue [Sunset side] or 43rd Avenue [Richmond side]. That’s about as close as you’re going to find to the old GGP I knew as a kid. The playgrounds out around there have sand that the feral cats aren’t using as a litter box for some reason and it’s just a nice clean and green area. The Arboretum and Japanese Tea Garden used to be free and the DeYoung and Academy of Sciences didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. It was really a place to be proud of if you were from San Francisco. The Polo Fields used to have grass before it died off to the point that weeds don’t even want to grow there.
I’m hoping our interim Mayor Ed Lee reads this or at least someone forwarded him the craigslist job listing. Maybe he could do something to change the park for the better.
I’m not sure how Golden Gate Park slipped off my radar in the past because it’s the largest attraction in San Francisco and houses some of the best places to visit in San Francisco, so today, we’re taking a trip to the park.
Built in 1893 as the home base for the 1894 Mid Winter Fair [San Francisco’s first world’s fair] the park was a masterpiece of architectural engineering because after all, it was built on the drifting sands of the outside lands. Golden Gate park is not only the largest park in San Francisco, but in comparison is three times the size of New York’s Central Park.
When it was built the contractors had the idea of putting in easy to care for trees that grew quickly and could be used for lumber. So they chose the eucalyptus tree because of its history. Unfortunately they chose the wrong species and planted lots of blue gum eucalyptus that are of no use to the lumber industry because of their high resin content, but they do give the park a distinct odor in the springtime through fall somewhere between urinal cake and mouthwash.
The park’s main gathering place is the Music Concourse which is flanked by the California Academy of Sciences and DeYoung Museum and Japanese Tea Garden. The stage which is the centerpiece is called the Spreckels Temple of Music, which has been home to thousands of bands in the 60’s-80’s as well as the centerpiece for the stand up comedy competition that drew thousands of people from all over the world and turn the park into more of a roadblock on some weekends.
East of the Concourse is the Conservatory of Flowers which is a pleasant trip, but you can enjoy the flowers and plants outside as well as the adjacent Dalhia Garden for free. Across the street from there and a short jog are the tennis courts, DeLavega Memorial Garden and the Koret Children’s playground. The Playground is an interesting stop as it is huge and hold’s a merry go round and miniature train kids can ride as well as two marble slides that park and rec workers used to keep in shape by sliding down on waxed paper to keep them smooth and give your kids a fast ride down into the sand pile. There is also across from the playground a lawn bowling area which is similar to bocce ball, but apparently with an attitude as there are signs that remind you that bocce ball is not allowed. That’s a bit of a shame since I haven’t seen a single person lawn bowling there for years on the well kept lawns.
Tomorrow I’ll continue on with the western park of the park that has places known to many, but other places that make up the quieter end of the park a special getaway.
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