Wednesday Postcard: NYE 2021 in San Francisco

a mural along Highway 101

After being indoors for most of 2020, I just had to get out and go somewhere beyond the mailbox or the grocery store! I also wanted to do something special to ring in the new year since fireworks were cancelled. So, to feed two birds with one scone, my family and I decided to go to San Francisco!

Normally, we’d take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) or the ferry into The City because finding parking there can be challenging. But this time, we decided to go by car to limit exposure.

Since we hadn’t crossed the Bay Bridge in almost a year, we were surprised to learn that there were no toll collectors. You either use FasTrak (the Bay Area’s electronic-toll taking system) or they snap a pic of your vehicle’s license plate and send you a bill.

How efficient! There was no usual backup on the approach to the Bay Bridge either. Not sure if it was due to it being New Year’s Eve or because of no-stopping at the toll booth! Either way, it was much appreciated. I figure we saved at least 10 minutes of driving.

Here are some of the places we visited (or drove by while I took pictures from the passenger side):

Haight-Ashbury District

In the summer of 1967 (“Summer of Love”), thousands of young people gathered in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco. Because they believed in peace, love, psychedelic drugs, nature, communal living, and rock ‘n roll, they were called “hippies” or “flower children” (scornfully or affectionately, depending on whom you asked!) 🌼

For 43 years, the district was also home to the Haight-Ashbury T-Shirts store. Sadly, it suffered financially due to the pandemic and had to close on December 31, 2020.

On the last day, everything was 50% off: vintage-looking (reproduced) shirts with popular ’60s bands on them, minor league baseball shirts, and tie-dye shirts. Some postcards were even complimentary. Right on! ☮️

Which brings me to… This week’s postcard featuring (you guessed it): the Haight-Ashbury District in San Francisco!

Images: A. McKinney/K. Glaser, Jr.

On the left are images from one of the annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fairs. On the right is a sidewalk memorial for Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) of the American rock band, Grateful Dead. In the late ’60s, members of the band lived on 710 Ashbury Street.

“We will get by. We will survive.” – from Touch of Grey by Grateful Dead 🎶

Now that’s the right attitude going into the new year!

San Francisco – December 31, 2020

Quelle heure est-il ? It’s always 4:20 here 🙂
San Francisco – December 31, 2020

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Piedmont Boutique

Piedmont Boutique is not only a costume shop, it’s an institution. After nine years in the Castro, they moved to Haight-Ashbury in 1981. You can’t miss it: the fabulous gams that dangle provocatively from the window above the shop is an attraction in itself:

San Francisco – December 31, 2020
San Francisco – December 31, 2020
San Francisco – December 31, 2020

Just an idea: if they painted the soles red, they’d look just like Louboutins!

Cliff House

San Francisco – December 31, 2020

In 1864, Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “If one tires of the drudgeries and scenes of the city, and would breathe the fresh air of the sea, let him take the cars and omnibuses, or, better still, a buggy and pleasant steed, and, ere, the sea breeze sets in, glide out to the Cliff House…”

In 1879, two years after his presidential term ended, Ulysses S. Grant visited Cliff House and reportedly used a telephone there for the first time.

San Francisco – December 31, 2020

The structure shown here is not the original Cliff House restaurant from 1863. It was destroyed by fire, rebuilt, destroyed again, and rebuilt again in the same location. This Cliff House was built in 2003.

Unfortunately, the owners of Cliff House and the National Park Service weren’t able to reach a contract agreement before the end of 2020. As a result, the landmark restaurant had to close its doors.

On December 31, 2020, the public was invited to watch the removal of the letters spelling out “Cliff House.” By the time we drove by, though, all we could see was the sign’s frame.

San Francisco – December 31, 2020

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is the largest German church in California. It was dedicated in 1895 and cost $56,000 to build.

The name on the cornerstone, St. Markus Kirche, reflects the congregation’s German heritage.

San Francisco – December 31, 2020

We’re still under stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic, so we headed home well ahead of curfew.

Enjoy this 8-second video of the drive back to the East Bay from San Francisco:

My related posts about San Francisco

If you enjoyed this San Francisco postcard, check out my postcards from Alcatraz or City Lights Booksellers & Publishers or The Presidio.

Did you know that dozens of music videos were filmed in San Francisco? I was in one, too (check it out, just don’t blink!)

My “only-in-San Francisco” favorites include the annual Bay to Breakers foot race; the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District; a new rooftop park by Salesforce; a laundromat-café; Grace Cathedral’s solidarity concert after the Notre-Dame fire; and the Blue House that inspired a French song!

Over the years, I have accumulated over two hundred postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to do so, of course!)

If you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there!

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care! ✌🏽+❤️

14 thoughts on “Wednesday Postcard: NYE 2021 in San Francisco

  1. In the late 1960s a friend of mine lived in a third floor apartment directly on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. But he wasn’t actually a hippie, in fact I once interviewed him on the radio in his capacity as president of the social workers’ union.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, and it’s too bad that so many businesses have had to close due to the pandemic. They had a website, but it appears to be offline now. It’d be great if they could continue selling their shirts online!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not gone to San Francisco in over a decade, and I hope to return! Despite the bad rep it gets in the news (i.e. decline in safety and livability in the past few years, not too different from here in Los Angeles…), I’m curious to go back and explore the old haunts I’d seen the last time I was there. Thanks for taking me virtually through the city once more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure! True, like many major U.S. cities, SF is facing many challenges like you mentioned. Due to the pandemic, there’s been a “Bay Area exodus” to (guess where?) Los Angeles and many others are even leaving the state! When stay-at-home orders are lifted, the City by the Bay awaits your return!

      Liked by 1 person

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