Eclectic City by the Bay

By HOWARD BERGER

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 24) — If you enjoy walking… and walking… and walking, then please come to San Francisco. Before you know it, three hours will have gone by and you’ll end up diametrically opposite from where you set out. Several miles will pass beneath your feet.

Me and my son, Shane, had this experience on Tuesday — the second consecutive day of phenomenal weather here in the Bay Area: Sunny and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We started at AT&T Park — home of the World Series–champion San Francisco Giants — and meandered northward through the busiest parts of the city. While doing so, I pointed my trusty NIKON at anything that seemed remotely interesting and came up with an eclectic mix — one that I trust you’ll enjoy here.

HOUSE OF CHAMPIONS

AT&T Park is located in the South Beach section of downtown, not far from the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. Shane and I hoped to take a guided tour of the stadium, but the 12:30 p.m. event was sold out (we had been to a Giants/San Diego game here in 2003). Instead, we walked around the perimeter of the ballpark, which is known for McCovey Cove in the water beyond right–field and the baseball–glove–and–Coke–bottle display in left–center field, next to the giant scoreboard. 

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GLOVE AND COKE BOTTLE DISPLAY FROM BEYOND LEFT–CENTER FIELD.

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STATUE OF GIANTS HALL–OF–FAME PITCHER JUAN MARICHAL (1960–1973) SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE SOUTHEAST CORNER ENTRANCE TO AT&T PARK.

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SIDEWALK PLAQUE COMMEMORATING A REMARKABLE BUT TAINTED MILESTONE.

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AT&T PARK CLOCK (TOP–LEFT) AND SOUTH BEACH YACHT CLUB EAST OF THE STADIUM.

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NOT YACHTING, JUST SUNNING ON A PERFECT AFTERNOON.

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SHIPPING ?? ON SAN FRANCISCO BAY.

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SEAGULLS HERE ARE THE SIZE OF COCKER SPANIELS.

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TRAFFIC ALONG THE EMBARCADERO.

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SUSPENSION CABLES ON THE SAN FRANCISCO–OAKLAND BAY BRIDGE.

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STANFORD WILL DEFINITELY BE THE HOME TEAM FOR THIS FOOTBALL GAME.

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HAD TO LOOK HARD BUT FOUND BOTH MY NAMES DOWNTOWN.

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SHANE CAUSED A FEATHERED–FRENZY BY TOSSING A HANDFUL OF FRENCH FRIES TO BIRDS ?? ON A PATIO NORTH OF AT&T PARK.

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THE TOP OF LOTTA’S FOUNTAIN (MORE LATER) AND THE HISTORIC PALACE HOTEL AT THE MONTGOMERY/MARKET ST. INTERSECTIONS OF DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO.

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THE PALACE HOTEL OPENED DEC. 19, 1909. IT REPLACED THE ORIGINAL HOTEL THAT BURNED DOWN AFTER THE 1906 SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE. MONTGOMERY ST, ENTRANCE (ABOVE); PARTIAL CEILING OF THE CAVERNOUS GARDEN COURT RESTAURANT (BELOW). I STAYED AT THE PALACE IN MY FIRST TWO VISITS HERE: AUGUST 1978 AND MARCH 1981.

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A CABLE–CAR MAKES ITS WAY ALONG TRACKS OF CALIFORNIA ST.

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OUR CURRENT HOTEL (ABOVE) IS IN CHINATOWN AND THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT — ADJACENT TO THE TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID (UPPER SPAN, BELOW).

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THIS RESTAURANT — ON KEARNEY ST., ONE BLOCK FROM OUR HOTEL — WAS COPIOUSLY RECOMMENDED BY FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS, MY EX–SISTER–IN–LAW ALLISON AND EVEN A FORMER MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER: PETER STEMKOWSKI, WHO STARRED FOR THE 1967 STANLEY CUP CHAMPION. ATE THERE TUESDAY NIGHT WITH SHANE AND OUR FRIEND, LEN SHAPIRO. TYPICALLY, HOUSE OF NANKING IS A HOLE–IN–THE–WALL, BUT THE FOOD IS TERRIFIC — FROM THE GARLIC SCALLOPS (TOP–RIGHT); TO THE HOUSE NOODLES (BOTTOM–LEFT) AND THE “FAMED” SESAME CHICKEN. HONESTLY, THOUGH? ME AND SHANE HAD AN EVEN BETTER MEAL AT THE CHINATOWN RESTAURANT ACROSS FROM OUR HOTEL, ON WASHINGTON ST.

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LEN AND SHANE AT HOUSE OF NANKING (ABOVE). ME AND SHANE, BELOW. I’VE REPEATEDLY ATTEMPTED TO HAVE MY SON KEEP HIS EYES FULLY OPEN DURING FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY. AND, WITHOUT MUCH SUCCESS. ANY POINTERS?

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THE PALACE HOTEL (TOP–LEFT) TUESDAY NIGHT AND THE LOTTA’S FOUNTAIN AT THE TRIANGLE INTERSECTIONS OF MARKET, GEARY AND KEARNEY STREETS — AMONG THE FEW STRUCTURES THAT SURVIVED RAGING FIRES AFTER THE 1906 SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE. DEDICATED SEP. 9, 1875 (PLAQUE BELOW), THE CAST–IRON STRUCTURE WAS A GATHERING PLACE FOR CITIZENS AFTER THE 7.8–MAGNITUDE TREMOR ON APR. 18, 1906.

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EVERY TIME I WALKED PAST THIS SIGN CLOSE TO OUR HOTEL, I SWORE IT SAID “ACADEMY ‘O FART.” WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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