When you emerge from the 16th street Bart station in the heart of the Mission District, you’d never know it’s considered the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco. You’re instantly accosted by some seriously mentally impaired and drug-addled homeless people, scuzzy sidewalks and the stench of urine.
But a few blocks over on Valencia Street, there are pricey eateries, chic boutiques and myriad cafes selling single-pour cups of coffee for $5 (Arabica blend with plummy, juicy notes).
This tide of gentrification is due in part to dotcom #1 (late 90s), and now the influx of young Silicon Valley tech employees from Google, Facebook, among others. They’d rather live in the city than the sleepy suburbs of San Mateo County. And who can blame them? The companies encourage and support this desire by providing enormous Wi-Fi outfitted coach buses to shuttle their workers back and forth.
A lot has been written about this influx of young techies with money to burn: they’ve driven up housing prices, caused a shortage and have changed the cultural landscape of the city. It’s created an acrimonious divide. Longtime residents are disgruntled and angry, rabidly flipping off the Google buses whenever they pass. At any gathering of “locals,” there’s at least a fifteen-minute bitch session about how much “entitled techies suck.” The changing Mission has become the focus for all that’s wrong with San Francisco.
Regardless of where you stand on gentrification, tech companies and entitled millennials, the Mission still retains its Latino and multiethnic roots, colorful murals and now boasts the “best burrito” in America. It’s an eclectic and unique place to hang out. But when you walk the streets, be prepared to hold your nose.
She (Jessica) had been leading Didi and her pack of equally inebriated bridesmaids on a bachelorette pub crawl through the Mission District. The Galanga Room was the fourth stop on the itinerary and most likely the last.
The Elbo Room, where Charlie Hunter used to be the house band and which was formerly the venerable lesbian bar Amelia’s, is about to be torn down to build more upscale condos. I’m glad you preserved it here, at least photographically.
More condos?! This is terrible news! Valencia St. may be unrecognizable in the next few years.