Wednesday, February 15, 2012

By Cafe Rex on Polk Street

I've written odes to Polk Street a number of times on Fleeting House. It's one of my favorite neighborhood drags in The City. I'm especially fond of this block between Vallejo & Green Street, the Russian Hill-zone of Polk Street. I was a bit hungover the other day and took a walk over the hill to get some air. The comfort of rice pudding from The Loving Cup, a shop located behind the U-Haul van in this shot, could not have been more reviving. There's even a few small bookstores left along this stretch.

By Cafe Rex on Polk Street
The loss of bookstores may be one of the most embittering absence in cities for me in the new century. When I moved to San Francisco in 1992 every neighborhood had a few to choose from. No more. Even the big box behemoths like Border's and Barnes & Noble aggressively invaded then promptly collapsed. I'd just as soon burn a Kindle than use one, since a City is still defined for me by proximity to bookstores. American cities have given up that ghost, but I was thrilled to see dozens in Budapest when I was there last year. It reminded me of the gaping hole in American cities' cultural landscape.

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