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Height St

I like walking the entire length of Height Street from the Mission (from Safeway aka Gayway supermarket) to the end of the Panhandle near Golden gate park in the dark. Lower Height is one of the two Bohemian/Hipster/Yapster districts in San Francisco. Much smaller than the Mission, and sort of less hip, more white lower middle-class (which I call working class) - they eat pizza without thinking it's cool, like in the Mission. Sort of like in Kent, Ohio. Bars, beer, sausages, it's a good place to get drunk. Much less pretence than on Valencia Street. The "ethnic" element is black drug dealers, instead of the Mission's Sureno/Norteno Latin gangs.

Mid-Height St is my favorite part.  Victorian houses, colored wood in the dark, palm trees in the tiny front yards, telephone poles. No establishments. It smells eucalyptus trees from Duboce park. Moon in the dark-violet California sky. Not much to say. That section at night feels mysterious.

Then the hell of the upper Height starts- the tourist mall of the legacy that Height /Ashbury cultureless but pretentious hippies left behind. Smoke shops, Gap or Ben and Jerry's ice cream - I cannot recall, at the corner of Ashbury, clowns from the Midwest trying to spread their alternative wings - I saw a theatrical break-up of an alternative couple in the middle of an intersection, 30 year old beggars, and an interesting subculture of militia-like camouflaged military looking young dirty bums with dogs and huge backpacks that march towards the park in small packs, usually 3 guys and 2 girls. And of course, the tourists themselves- young rebels from Walnut Creek, Freemont, Central Valley buying hippie bids- dudes, you are over 40 years late here.


May 2009



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