As a fifth generation San Franciscan, I am disgusted to read that there is talk of corporate sponsorship for the Golden Gate bridge.
I have a hard time imagining people who truly appreciate the
bridge's rust-colored elegance, would want to taint it with the mearest
link to corporate branding.
While scanning Google for quotes, I found a perfect one by Kevin Starr, my first cousin once removed (my mother's cousin):"Great works of art encode within themselves messages that are at once
transcendent and enigmatic, mysterious. What does the Parthenon mean?
What does Beethoven's Ninth mean? What does Hamlet mean? The Golden Gate Bridge
means many things. It means the victory of San Francisco over its
environment. It means San Francisco remains competitive. It means that
people can cross the channel more easily. But it also means something
else. It celebrates in a mysterious way man's creativity and the joy
and wonder of being on this planet."
You see, to some of us that bridge has meaning. For the more philosophical and optimistic it can be a testament to "man's creativity"; for the less philosophical-type who lack creativity, the bridge looks like a money making billboard.
Yeah, I've now lived in LA half my life. I'm one of those seemingly rare people who likes both cities for different reasons. But I spent the first have of my life being raised on San Francisco's fog, limb numbing beaches, the zoo's pink popcorn, sourdough bread, Joe's Ice Cream's dipped cones, Original Joe's hamburgers and
downstairs Chinese restaurants. I grew up trying to avoid the creepy
strip show barkers calling, "Step right this way for a good
time!" as my family walked on Broadway to our favorite Basque
restaurant, down an alley somewhere near Columbus. My dad taught me to
drive a stick shift on hills so steep the blood would rush to the back
of my head as I neared the top. The city was our backyard. We didn't
visit Alcatraz, ride the Cable cars or stroll along Golden Gate Bridge
just for fun. Those parts of the city were just there, like my elbows. But it
didn't mean we took the bridge for granted.
I'll always want to defend the city in which I grew. It's like
another family member; my family, in their own ways, helped to raise it. My Great-Grandfather
was an heroic firefighter (That's redundant, I know) during the 1906
earthquake and died on duty in 1925. My Grandmother, as a young woman,
once worked for Elmer Robinson, who later became SF mayor; my Grandpa was the head of automotive maintenance for SF Muni.
Other family members are policemen and my stepfather, also a fireman,
was in charge of the SF fire Department Museum. I'm also proud to say,
Kevin even mentions our family, the Collins and Joyces, on pages 132
& 133 in one of his books, "The Dream Endures."
The Golden Gate Bridge was always there - spanning the ocean mouth -
through fog, fog, more fog and drizzle and on the most brilliant sun
drenched days. The bridge was my escape to the pristine beaches of
Marin, the dense Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais, Point Reyes and even my favorite salon.
The Bridge can be a lot of things - A way out, a place to contemplate life, a symbol of whatever you want - But it was never a way to rake in more money. I think anyone who can even consider corporate sponsorship has to
have no history with the city. So here's my suggestion for those
Rather than sucking any more soul out of the city I grew
up in, why don't you seer, tattoo or etch the corporate logo onto your
own already uncreative, soulless foreheads.
It's a much better idea than Nike Bridge, for instance. I can see it now - Drive across it... "Just Do It."
I opened the LA Daily News today to see that Encino's Weiner Factory, opened since 1971, may be replaced by a.... Pinkberry?!
(The photo is from Roadfood.com. It's a great site - check it out.)
Foster Freezes, mom & pop hardware stores, small theaters that once showed double features; Googie motels, diners and coffee shops have been plowed down, boarded up and replaced by the same old stores we can find in Any Mall USA. I don't even like the mall, and now I can't avoid it if I try. It surrounds me. Where the Topanga Theater once stood, more Westfield Mall is creeping over.
Look, even with the heat, the growing traffic, our gang problems - I've been defending the Valley. I figure let people put the Valley down, they just haven't taken the time to look for the cool little finds. But now, so many of those little places are going away. For what? Pinkberry?
My daughter and I passed a Pinkberry in Pasadena one day, and she decided to ask for a sample spoon taste to see what the big fuss is. Being a smart person with critical thinking skills, she's been turned off by the hype by celebrities like Paris Hilton, but she's open-minded and decided to taste for herself. So I went along, too, and gave the trendy goop a try. Other than leaving a bitter aftertaste in my mouth, I found nothing appealing. Which, I have to say, just confirmed to me this stuff is thriving on its trend-factor. Okay, okay... I know, I only had one bite. But I'm stubborn. I'm sure some people truly like it. But is it worth tearing down a neighborhood-loved, decades-old hot dog stand that's proven itself to be able to keep the customers coming? And, besides, doesn't Pinkberry have enough stores (according to Wikipedia there are 28)?
In one corner we have Weiner Factory (with 11 Yelp Reviews) - see how it's rated. In the other corner we have Pinkberry (with 11 Reviews). Okay, so some love Pinkberry, too - I understand; though I tend to agree with Julie E's review. This is hardly a serious study. But, hey! Hasn't Weiner Factory proven itself by serving its devoted customers for almost forty years?
And think about this, Weiner Factory has never needed to court hungover celebutantes who carry dogs around in little bags to stay in business. Heck, most of these so-called-celebrities are anorexic - what the heck do they know about food? If you ask me (and I know you didn't), for that reason alone Weiner Factory should stay put.
That's my rant for the day. Thank you very much! (said in my head like Latka Gravits, who I'm sure would prefer Weiner Factor over some sour, frozen, processed, trendy goop)
*Guess I'm not alone. This is another reason I love Yelp. They're an opinionated bunch.