21st and Florida streets, the Mission, San Francisco. I like the sign. Who wouldn’t. There was a chalkboard on the sidewalk in front advertising “Maple Bacon Latte.” If it’s a caffeinated beverage, it’s a flavor I haven’t yet sampled. I’ll go in and find out next time.
I happened to be walking by this corner because I fell asleep on BART–an old trick I have that dates back to days and nights on the Illinois Central in Chicagoland–and rode past my usual stop at 16th and Mission and wound up at 24th. It’s happened once before since I’ve worked at KQED, and maybe I should make it a habit. The walk from 24th is immensely more interesting and pleasant–more life in the neighborhood, less of a feeling of a place that’s been pounded flat by poverty, crime, indifference and desultory redevelopment–than the one from 16th Street. Such are the impressions of the work-bound walker, anyway. You need to sleep in a place, hear the street noise at night, spend a while seeing who’s going where during the day to get even the faintest sense of a neighborhood.