Monday, July 19, 2010

White Feet / Black Feet


Polk Gulch, originally uploaded by deanv41.

California Street is a line of division between a northern zone and a central zone in San Francisco. Downtown, it divides The Tenderloin from Nob Hill. In the Fillmore, it divides Pacific Heights from Japantown and the redeveloped wastelands of the Old Fillmore District. In the Western neighborhoods, it divides The Avenues from Laurel Heights, The Presidio and Sea Cliff. It is a geographic demarcation and also a monetary one.
Here is a shot showing clearly the way the street divides Nob Hill from The Tenderloin at Polk Gulch.
Just to the north on Polk Street the area feels more European and is a small enclave for the French who are patrons of a boulangerie, wine shop, and bookstore. To the south (or right, in this picture), there are halal butchers, a Yemeni, Tunisian, and several Moroccan restaurants, as well as a mosque on Sutter just off Polk Street. It is as though far on the other side of the globe California Street recreates a kind of Mediterranean Sea between France and Algiers, between the Pied-Blancs and the Pied-Noirs here. Many parts of The City can also be mapped in the fashion of The Situationists, as though all the world fit in these 49 square miles.

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