Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Pause, Play, Connect with a Bike Thief in UN Plaza

Another attempt at gentrifying Civic Center's United Nations Plaza is being attempted this autumn with an initiative called Pause, Play, Connect.

The program has lots of sponsors, including the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development, the same mayor's Invest in Neighborhoods program, San Francisco Beautiful, the Tenderloin Economic Development Project, UC at Hastings, the Art Institute of California, the Federal Department of Homeland Security, and the SFPD.

Those last two are interesting, since there is very little evidence that either group is doing any actual work as evidenced by the stolen bicycle chop shop which was set up at the perimeter of the "play" space. Theft is bad but an eternal problem. What's most disturbing is the sheer brazenness of those fencing stolen property around UN Plaza, publicly demonstrating to all that the SFPD has given up any pretense at crime fighting these days.

The three-month program is being "curated" by public space consultants, MJM Management Group, and if Saturday's turnout for a noontime Come Out & Play event is any indication, they have not been doing a very good job at getting the word out about the events.

Finally, a few kids and their parents showed up at 12:30 and played a game of tag, separated from the dozens of street people surrounding them with metal stanchions.

For a schedule of events, including a new Friday evening market with food trucks and entertainment, click here for the UN Plaza website. There are also a number of public music performances planned, and the experiment culminates in an old-fashioned Halloween celebration, though UN Plaza is about the last place one would want to be celebrating that particular holiday.

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