Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Streets in Civic Center



The San Francisco Sunday Streets program came to the Tenderloin and Civic Center neighborhoods this weekend and it seemed very lightly attended as the photo of Larkin Street below demonstrates.



I am not sure how closing down a section of city streets to car traffic for five hours every month in different parts of the city helps the environment and makes people healthier.



This is especially true when the event isn't all that well-publicized, causing huge traffic jams among the uninitiated, who are sent on detours by an army of traffic control officers, as you can see from the photo above of 9th Street.



Still, any excuse to take public urban space away from cars is okay in my book, and it brought do-it-yourself exercise cults to Civic Center, ranging from break dancing...



...to a free public yoga class...



...being given by the grumpy looking instructor above.



"Break dancing and yoga, together at last," I thought...



...and the hip hop DJs on their turntables kept reassuring us that this was the authentic, noncommercial form of break dancing that was historically informed by the early 1990s.



The real fun looked like the double jump rope, which is much trickier than it looks. For more photos from the Tenderloin, check out The Tender here.

8 comments:

Greg said...

This was the first one in that area, I think, and as such I think a lot of folks in that area weren't sure what to make of it. That area has some of the highest pedestrian injury incidents in the city, though so a break from the traffic was probably nice.

The one the connects GPP with the Zoo via the Great Highway is really fun.

TK said...

Wow, quite a contrast with the Mission Sunday Streets, where you can barely walk down the middle of the street, it's so crowded.

(Also, I don't get why people feel the urge to ride their bicycles through thick crowds of people like that. It's clearly too crowded to ride a bike. People.)

Maybe after a few more times, it'll catch on in the 'Loin.

sfmike said...

Dear Greg: I think there was a previous one in the Civic Center/Tenderloin but it was on a rainy, stormy day so literally nobody came out for it on that occasion. Also, the streets are frequently closed to cars around the Civic Center for everything from the Gay Pride Parade to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but usually there is something to draw people there in the first place. As charming as they were, break dancing and a free yoga class are not going to exactly be crowd magnets.

Dear TK: I feel the same way about bicyclists zooming through thick crowds of people, which is why I tend to avoid these events in other neighborhoods. It's a serious accident waiting to happen.

janinsanfran said...

I too find these events a little mysterious, perhaps because I walk the streets all the time. The people who seem most delighted by of them are children on bikes who seize a chance to ride in the streets. Not fun if you are walking among them.

You can't really bring the freedom to ride that young people may enjoy in suburban locations to the city -- that's not how urban environments function. So the result just feels odd, misplaced.

Cool break dancers tho.

Ced said...

Mike, it was nice to run into you there. It was pretty empty for sure, but it was quite a nice day to stroll around the TL.

sfmike said...

Dear Ced: It was a pleasure running into you and your wife and your four rugrats on bicycles with LOTS of room to ride around in. I wished I'd gotten a photo of you all, to tell you the truth, with a caption of "this family scored, going to an unpopular Sunday Streets with their kiddie bikes on a lovely day."

Yoga Teacher, tony eason said...

The "Grumpy Yoga Instructor" is me. It was a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Come join us anytime!Donation Yoga - San Francisco

Juliayn Coleman said...

That was one of the most profound yoga experiences I have ever had, just for the fact that there we all were on the concrete, in the middle of town with the sun beating down, strangers walking around taking photos and all that noize... practicing stillness, listening, and growing in the midst of it all. It's so great that my yoga teacher does the 4 outdoor sessions each year in the month of August. I don't think ordinary people can grasp how brave it is. For anyone looking for a great yoga teacher (really, he's not grumpy!!), give him a try.