Friday, November 09, 2007

On The Waterfront 3: Skating on Thick Ice

The rehabilitated, retrofitted Ferry Building reopened in 2002 just as the San Francisco economy was tanking, and its upscale, gourmet-priced food emphasis struck me as poorly timed and planned, rather like the unnecessary new International Terminal at San Francisco's airport, which opened around the same time.

In five years, though, the building has come into its own, and the area has a liveliness and energy that are real.

If only the Willie Brown Jr. administration and his short-sighted cronies had managed to put the roadway in front of the Ferry Building underground when they had a chance, the area could be even more pedestrian-friendly and the plaza thronged with old streetcars would be truly extraordinary.

Still, the pickup truck parked in front of the Ferry Building on Thursday afternoon was hosting a band playing Beatles covers, in a performance that looked unofficial and delightful.

Across the street, at Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero Center, the Holiday Ice Rink opened on Wednesday.

The ice skating rink is pretty good deal, with 90-minute skating sessions costing $8 for adults and $4.50 for kids, and skate rentals are only $3.50.

On Thursday afternoon, there were only two people on the entire huge rink and they looked like they were having a blast.

To get a schedule of the 90-minute sessions and make reservations, call (415) 837-1931. Though I don't have the balance or the ankles to enjoy myself in this sport, it looks like fun, and the music blaring out of loudspeakers leans more towards roller disco than Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet."

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