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City Living

by sfishome on August 21, 2007

I grew up in New York City… Upper West Side of Manhattan. These days that neighborhood is all the rage… most don’t realize that’s also the part of town that “West Side Story” and it’s gangs lived in during the 1950’s into the 1960’s. When I took the subway to my high school in the 1980’s they still looked like the ones in the gang movie “Warrior”… completely littered with graffiti, and never, ever feeling safe.

The above is my frame of reference… it’s what I compare to San Francisco living. When someone says San Francisco has bad traffic… I just laugh and think about the 4 hours it took me to cross from the East Side to the West Side during the Puerto Rican Day Parade, or the drive from JFK to the Upper West Side now when I visit my family…. or I think of my business trips to LA… 2 hours to go 20 miles.

When someone complains it took them 20 minutes to find a parking spot… I recall the 2 and 3 hours waits I had in NYC to get “right side parking”. When they complain of bad drivers… I think of NYC cabbies, town cars and deliver guys jockeying for position in a mad race to the next light… or the honking that begins 3 seconds before the light turns green to make sure no one delays even one second when it finally does turn green.

To me, San Francisco is a dream of a city. In total contrast, my fiancee is from a small town in Canada that is surrounded for miles and miles by farm land. She thinks San Francisco is crime ridden and dirty. I think it’s Utopia. In other words, it depends on your background, and what you are comparing it too.

This past weekend there were too hit & run fatalities – one late Friday night (2am Sat) and the other late Saturday night (1:30am Sun). The comments section under the SFGate.com story will give you a clue as to the wide opinions a city like San Francisco can garner about how our streets are shared (or not shared).

To those who don’t like what San Francisco has become… I say try living in New York or LA or nearly any other large city… and then compare it to San Francisco. As unfortunate as these fatalities are… and as heinous as hit & runs are… as a city boy through and through I know that late Friday or Saturday nights are the times to be most cautious… the worst of the worst are out then… drunk drivers, drunk pedestrians… plus that is when robbers are out in force too. If you live in San Francisco… you must realize, it is a city. When my fiancee left her bag in her car for several hours and returned to a smashed window… I call that city living.

Yes, San Francisco could be better… but it’s still the best city in the country. Physical beauty, access to the outdoors, great restaurants, shopping and culture… you simply can’t find the best of all worlds meshed together so well any where else.

To those so angry at cars, or at pedestrians, or at bicycles or at noise, traffic, crime and congestion… I say if you can’t handle San Francisco, then all cities are not for you. You do need to lock your door at night and take many other precautions that you don’t need to take in the burbs or the country… but that is just City Living.

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