Monday, May 09, 2016

Burger King Classic Aggression

Walking home from the Civic Center Farmers' Market a couple of Sundays ago, I heard a Mozart string quintet being blasted from what sounded like a boombox, a surrealistic musical choice for the location. This was at the corner of 8th & Market and Grove & Larkin where a Burger King presides over a BART/Muni escalator and set of stairs that is usually surrounded by an open-air drug market, mentally ill street people acting out, and vendors selling stolen goods from the sidewalk.

The sound turned out to be coming from small speakers mounted on the Burger King building in a deliberate effort to drive away the usual crowd by playing loud classical chamber music.

As you can see, the tactic worked. The corner was completely empty on Sunday morning of its usual denizens and continues to be so two weeks later.

Using classical music as a tool for gentrification leaves me ambivalent. On the one hand, I love hearing the music itself while coming up the escalator from the BART/Muni station, and it's pleasant being able to walk up Grove Street without gingerly avoiding crazy people. On the other hand, using classical music as a weapon feels all wrong. It will be interesting to watch and listen how this plays out.


janinsanfran said...

I passed through that the other day and marveled... wonder who came up with this? Wonder where they went?

Tofu said...

Can I be a guest DJ and spin some Yma Sumac?

Civic Center said...

Dear Tofu: I'd love to hear some Yma Sumac at that corner.

Hattie said...

Hmm. I wonder how this would play in Hilo, Hawaii. Anyway, will soon be able to enjoy observing San Francisco's approach to its throwaway people, on my upcoming visit.
But I won't eat at Burger King. I won't stoop that low!

Civic Center said...

Dear Hattie: I've had French Fries at the Burger King in Palm Springs which weren't half bad, but as scary as the plaza used to be, the interior of that 8th & Market Burger King looked like an allegorical circle of Hell in Dante's "Inferno." I've never had the courage or inclination to enter the place in 20-plus years in the neighborhood. However, there is a Turkish falafel//gyro restaurant two buildings up which I eat from every week.

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