Chinatown last bastion of original San Francisco, still unaffected by gentrification like  rest of the city 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For a century and a half, San Francisco’s Chinatown,
 the nation’s oldest, has sheltered waves of immigrants seeking a new life.
It’s the birthplace of Chinese America, and to some extent, the broader Asian America 
that descended from immigration over the Pacific Ocean throughout the 19th and 20th 
Now, Chinatown faces powerful economic and demographic challenges that could upend 
its identity as the city undergoes an unprecedented growth in tech jobs.
Rising rent elsewhere in the city has entrepreneurs eyeing Chinatown for offices, 
entertainment and housing. A $1.6 billion subway set to open in 2019 could provide an
 economic boost, bringing customers from outside while taking residents out to jobs. 
But speedier transit also brings added development pressures, especially in a pocket of the city coveted for its location.
Can the birthplace of Chinese America maintain its heart in the midst of a race for space?”It is the last frontier, when you think about it,” said Bertrand Pellegrin, a brand specialist with the firm b. on brand who is interested in helping preserve the neighborhood. “It is one of the last central places downtown that has not been completely gentrified and overdeveloped.”

You are about to see more random scenes from around San Francisco like this, the late, great
‘Ooga Booga’ man at Fisherman’s Wharf

Changing San Francisco – Bye to Old, Hello to New – Virtual Tour (by bike) of Eastern SF in minutes

Also, visit Bike Tour #2 – San Francisco’s Hidden Gem  : The Mission District featuring Dolores Street (Mission Dolores and Dolores Park)

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One of many new edifices around San Francisco, a schizophrenic city caught between politically correct liberal politics and commercial growth. This new ‘Carousel’ Children’s Creative Museum around Third and Mission, no doubt benefited by Obama bailout and inner-city ‘uber’ grant funding, if you will…  

Some blame (or credit) longtime columnist Herb Caen for helping accelerate the changing landscape (and culture) of San Francisco when he starting writing and perhaps praising   the  city’s  ‘bohemian’ culture beginning in the early 1960s. Whether this is fair, or not, criticism, San Francisco has changed. Those ’60s changes were more social. Today’s changes are physical as well (note the ‘cleaned up’ city despite San Francisco’s continued insistence on keeping SF a ‘sanctuary city.’  Only adds to that schizophrenic reputation of the city. Like long-time living author and owner of City Lights, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, not so sure that Caen would enjoy many of these new changes. What are your thoughts?  Jump on one of the many ‘uber bikes’ lining the streets and take the tour we took, beginning on the Embarcadero around Broadway, heading West to downtown

Rough map of our bike (or car) tour.  If going by bike , try to follow the new, green bike lanes,  like those on Market st. We found the  Google Maps GPS app (bike icon) most helpful. (Yes, we appreciate good technology). 

We call these ‘Uber bikes’ and they’re available throughout San Francisco, especially along Market Street, where, since cars are becoming a endangered species, bikes may be your best bet. We  know, that this may not be the easiest thing for our older friends, but this is the new San Francisco, good or bad.  Funny that we didn’t see many bikes in use this day.  You can also try getting a ‘uber car ride’ though we much prefer bike. Say what you will, San Francisco  is probably safer by bike now, if using the new, wide green bike lanes, as below. AS  you can see, the bike lanes sometimes stop, at which point , you’re on your own, but there are often alternate routes marked. We used Google Maps with the bicycle icon and zoomed through MOST of the tour with little fear (yes, sometimes technology can be great, along with these green lanes)

STARTING POINT: Embarcadero near Broadway 

(above) New Amphitheater at grassy knoll at Pier 14 – one of many new additions ‘cleaning up’ Embarcadero and San Francisco. Can’t recall what was here before, probably a  historic Pier hanger.  (Where does all the money suddenly come from?) Below , from same grassy knoll facing opposite direction and historic Coit Tower looming, which will, hopefully, never come down.

One of many new additions to the San Francisco Landscape, grassy field and amphitheater at Pier 14 on Embarcadero with historic Coit Tower looming in background. We missed the FREE SF Symphony performance here this 7-15-15 but the time we would have spent there we toured much of the city , on bike, and discovered a lot of new, old  

One of the best views along the Embarcadero, near the Waterfront Restaurant. Get your  $4 water bottles here!

                                   Also, on the Embarcadero, the caption ‘ Meet the little voices inside your head’  might apply to some of the folks we saw on the Embarcadero and along the way, but overall, it was a very nice, and surprisingly safe bike ride, what with the new green lanes and fewer competing cars.

And more fun on the Embarcadero, perhaps San Francisco’s new favorite area for tourists. Pier 39 is now the most popular single tourist destination   with over 2 million visitors a year (unconfirmed number),

Long lines of cars waiting entrance to Pier 39 parking lot. Aren’t you glad you’re on a bike?

Cable Cars are no longer the most popular form of tourist transportation, with San Francisco’s new raft of double deck indoor-outdoor busses or, maybe ‘transports’is a better word

Winding our way down the Embarcadero we turn up Sansome Street to downtown. San Francisco has become a ‘millenial’ city of  largely young folks without cars and not much money… yet using other forms of transportation… even inline skating downtown! Still a pretty rough ride. Pot holes still remain. It’s also perhaps the most expensive city in the U.S. , so you have the young, poor ‘proletariat’ masses and a small wealthy ‘bourgeoisie’ with a quickly shrinking middle class. No wonder there are fewer cars – few here can afford them anymore – or seem to care. bikes to the rescue… to follow

Farmers market in the shadow of City Hall

Despite the city trying to rid itself of homeless thru new plastering the cracks with brickwork,
the homeless remain…and seem to even thrive in this still sancutary city…What paradox?

Your taxpayer money at work… New, fancy sleeping sculptures for the homeless and indigent in this Sanctuary City

‘StreatFood’ now rules. Gone are many of the classic restaurants in favor of mostly young eating out of trucks. We even had a nice plate of Burmese Tea Leaf Salad. This is a full bock of food trucks  at 436 11th St. with plenty variety of food.

As cars speed by on the super highway nextdoor,,  folks try to take in some entertainment, too!

Contradiction – Low end millenial street food with corporate Costco in background

Our recommendation – Lil Burma and Tea Leaf Salad. As even liberal Garrison Keillor said during a recent trip here, San Francisco is the only place where people ‘will stand in line for an hour and a half for a gluten free pancake’ or words to that affect.

And, it’s not just SOMA but food trucks/stands now everywhere,, here lining Market Street…and the food isn’t cheap. $11 for that Tea Leaf Salad! 
Changing San Francisco – Bye to Old, Hello to New – Virtual Tour (by bike) of Eastern SF in minutes

A City Mall for the better healed… Old Navy, etc…  
and even read a true story about two of the best (or worst -depending….) >

Two blocks away a little rougher part of Market and still remaining old Orpheum Theater

New building always going on…gone with the old, lots of new… uber expensive new library near North Beach

Poor Asian women still selling their wares in front of donut shop despite all the new changes/effort to remove poor and homeless in this – yes- liberal, sanctuary city

Continuing down Market Street viewing a couple classic old buildings

Only in San Francisco , scantilly clad woman – or maybe it’s a man – in Patriotic wrap finally moves off street after parading middle of street

Interesting mural near 11th street. Note bike trails 30 and 25 signs…

Remembering when Boz Skaggs’ Slims night club was new, now one of the oldies in town – 11th St

Old church mid town appears to be on its way out. Probably making room for more ‘upscale apartments’  like the ones that follow near the end of this scroll.

Sign of the times… clean well-lighted store for produce – What $3 for an apple?

Corporate Hot Dogs – but cute concrete stand, nothing like the old hot dog stands 
A couple nice older buildings remain along this Market Street skyline, or groundline…

Took a slight detour to find one of the true remaining legendary restaurants of San Francisco
in a little alley street

And another, in fact, the oldest restaurant in San Francisco, pre 1906 earthquake, of course remodelled some…

Broadway’s effort at Tiki culture… perhaps more like a topless dive

And our final destination, the remarkable 65-year old City Lights Bookstore with original owner, 96-year old bohemian author, entrepeneur, muckraker and iconoclast Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who no longer works in the store but makes his presence felt).   Ferlinghetti, one of the original ‘beats’ as in beatnik who inspired the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg

Sideways look at what some call a ‘sideways’ book store, celebrating 60 years a couple years back…

Signs like this set off Ferlinghetti as a refreshingly unique, independent bookstore in an era of corporate bookstores.sorry about the sideways again, but appropriate (saving space).
Owner Ferlinghetti bemoaned how the ‘.com and cell phone generation’ has ruined San Francisco, thus signs like these… READ MORE about the legendary Ferlinghetti

One last window photo from City Lights promoting one of Ferlinghetti’s own books, and perhaps cars, circa 1959, about the time the store began.

City Lights neighbor, Vesuvio Cafe, with it’s still remaining Sixties era bohemian mural

Here You get a better location of City Lights, just up Columbus from the Transamerica Pyramid

…and another classic SF restaurant, Peking looming on the hill  in Chinatown

Maybe not the original storefront but same or close location to where Enrico Banducci introduced names like Woody Allen, Mort Sahl, Joan Rivers and Lenny Bruce to the world through his little Hungry I on Broadway.  Today this non-descript bar calls itself the Hungry I, but a far cry from the orignal

Yet, a REAL bike shop in the heart of North Beach offering more rentals

View of new North Beach library, that must have cost a fortune. Looks like a work in progress

Typical San Francisco, not far from Penthouse and other ‘sex’ locales in North Beach.

Like Vesuvius, one of the old time coffee shops on Grant in North Beach kit corner from St. Patricks

Typical steep street, this is North Beach off Broadway, which probably helps make San Francisco the ‘thinnest’ city in America, plus the fact that it’s virtually impossible to drive a car in San Francisco anymore.  It’s now all about walking, riding bikes, busses or other public transportation – nice for people under, say, 40.  No wonder you no longer see many elderly people in the new ‘millennial’ city.
Is this age discrimination? with all the other activism in San Francisco, we’ve yet to see seniors chime in, to our knowledge , but looks like they certainly might have a point – not to mention the large numbers who are hit by city busses every year.

A common sight today in S>F>  person staring down at cell phone.
And a closeup of the Transamerica Pyramid which is now an intrical part of the SF skyline, all 50 stories high
Winding down this San Francisco Bike Adventure as we approach  the Ferry Building and Embarcadero via Market Street. The new green bike lanes   have been key in making biking now a safer, integral part of SF transportation (at least for the younger and fit)  , except a few places where the the lanes disappear like here and in North Beach
A surprising find in this increasingly changing, digital town…   old fashioned fire (red) and police (blue) call boxes.No doubt they’ve been updated but, at least, externally, they look the same 
Lone seagull entertains masses fetching food, out-performing background musicians at Hyatt Regency
One man band greets as we return to the Embarcardero completing our Eastern SF bike tour

Back home , after a $20 parking ticket – not as in police ticket but almost as much

Leaving town, one last piece of  S.F history, left intact, for now…. words visible for probably the first time since building was ‘uncovered’ with something in front of it , having blocked these words for some time…

…and the NEW, as we leave town… ‘upscale apartments’ (what else?)  No wonder this ‘caring’ sanctuary city has no affordable space for many of its own citizens , especially its new, ‘favored’ millenials who must rent rooms , such as those at AirBnB.

If we seem to have criticized San Francisco in this post,  it’s largely tounge-in-cheek.  Lots of good things being done. It’s just that , as Ferlinghetti says, the city may be losing much of its old charm with the increasing gentrification.  Money still seems to rue the day in City Hall much as it does in government  all over as San Francisco appears to be taking on  socialistic aspects. What  do You think?  Try our  tour, or similar to above – which can be managed by car, only a lot easier and maybe faster (and cheaper) by bike. 

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Changing San Francisco – Bye to Old, Hello to New – Virtual Tour (by bike) of Eastern SF in minutes

Now, that you’ve done our 3 mile SF Bike Adventure, you can try the 49 mile one, but don’t suggest you do it by bike…