S.G. Browne

Fisherman’s Wharf is Lonely and Melancholy

My walking tour of San Francisco during the Shelter-in-Place directive and the mandate for social distancing continues with a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf. But first, here’s what the parking situation looked like on Scott Street between Lombard and Chestnut in the Marina just before 11:00am. (NOTE: You’d think that the Marina Psychic would have seen this coming, but I guess that’s why she doesn’t have many customers.)

My walk started out on Chestnut Street, which had some businesses with windows boarded up to prevent any potential looting. Yes, looting. So that’s part of the precautions being taken by those stores that are closed up for the lockdown.

But there are restaurants along Chestnut and in the Marina still open for business, albeit limited to take-out and/or delivery and many have limited hours. This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • World Wrapps
  • Le Marais Bakery
  • Delarosa
  • Dragon Well
  • Super Duper Burgers
  • Peet’s Coffee
  • Noah’s NY Bagels
  • Saiwalks

If you have the means and the inclination, there are plenty of businesses such as these throughout San Francisco that could use your patronage to help their chances of still being around once the shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.

Yes, I know. I said this was going to be about Fisherman’s Wharf. But I got distracted. It’s easy to do when you’re walking around the neighborhood you’ve known for the past 14 years and everywhere you look there’s something that is either shocking, strange, or surreal. Or a combination of all three. These are strange times indeed. Now on to Fisherman’s Wharf!

But first, here’s a photo of an outdoor Fitness Court along Marina Boulevard just across from Webster Street, where half a dozen fitness-minded types are working out using communal stationary rings and bars without wearing gloves and without wiping down any of the surfaces before or after they work out. No reckless flaunting of recommended pandemic hygiene to see here. Move along.

So now we finally come to Fisherman’s Wharf. While my previous two entries in which I explored the Marina and North Beach neighborhoods took place on the weekday during the morning hours, all of the photos below were taken at the height of lunchtime on Saturday. Specifically on Saturday, March 21, the first weekend of spring on a warm, sunny, perfect day.

For those of you who have never been to San Francisco, or for those of you who live in the city but avoid Fisherman’s Wharf like the plague (rim shot…thank you, I’m here all week), a normal spring Saturday afternoon would entail sidewalks and restaurants and stores filled with tourist and customers. Instead the streets are deserted, the restaurants and souvenir shops closed up and empty. It’s as if the entire area has fallen asleep and is waiting to wake up.

So rather than including commentary about the photos, I’m just going to post them because I think they speak for themselves.



Coronapocalypse: Marina District

As the city of San Francisco (and other cities and counties throughout California) implement a Shelter-In-Place directive, closing up all businesses that are considered non-essential and restricting the movement of humans in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus in an attempt to flatten the curve of infection, I thought I’d share some photos of what San Francisco looks like on the first morning of the apocalypse…I mean the directive.

I went out to take a morning walk at 6:30am to get some exercise, keeping in mind that the directive recommends keeping a minimum distance of 6 feet from anyone else on the street, which, as you can see from the photos, wasn’t difficult to do. Plus I hadn’t showered yet, so there’s that.

As you can imagine, it’s rather surreal to see empty streets and deserted sidewalks in a major metropolitan city, even at 7:00am on a weekday. And the Marina District is usually bustling with cars and cafes and Crunch Fitness. But for now, this is the new normal.

Whenever I take a walk around the city, I like to have a soundtrack. I still have an iPod shuffle, so I don’t have playlists, just a shuffling of the songs I’ve downloaded. Normally I skip over songs that don’t suit my mood, but I decided to let the songs play without interruption to see what kind of mood they set. Below in order are the songs that provided the soundtrack to my rather surreal morning.

Feeling That Way / Anytime
One Tree Hill
Love Rollercoaster
All the Small Things
Time of the Season
God Part II
Tired of Sex
I’m in Love with My Car
Kiss Off
Roadhouse Blues
Smooth Sailin’
Miss You
Personal Jesus
Love for Sale
It’s Now or Never
Hello It’s Me
Alive and Kicking
Hammer to Fall

That last one seems a little too close for comfort to the current situation, but it’s Queen so I can’t complain.

Tomorrow I’ll check out North Beach.