San Francisco: What do you think?

Feb 20th, 2002, 05:01 AM
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San Francisco: What do you think?

I have noticed something quite intriguing while looking through this travel forum. Every time there a criticism about San Francisco, some one/people are constantly defending SF. If SF is so great, and I personally think it is a nice city that recently has been getting rough around the edges, then why this need to be so defensive? You never see New Yorkers getting so defensive about their city whenever it is criticized. Makes you wonder if some of the criticisms about San Francisco are actually true. Any unbiased thoughts from travelers would be appreciated.
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:27 AM
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I think I am unbiased when it comes to SF since I don't live there and never have.

I don't see what the criticism is all about. SF is a major city and, as such, has pollution and crime and homeless people like every other major city. SF has a reputation that almost no city could actually live up to. I think that people expect heaven when they go there and are shocked to see a little grime. So much so that they cannot help but feel like it wasn't all that great.

Shortly after I visited SF for the first time last year, I kind of felt the same, like, "is that all there is?" I realize now how special a place it is. I think about it all the time, how pretty it is, etc. Like a good movie, it just keeps popping up in my mind weeks and months later.

What could also be generating some of the criticisms and defensiveness is the Northern vs. Southern California thing.

SF is probably one of the few places I would move to without hesitation, so I understand why those who love SF feel the need to defend their city when it is slighted. As a former NY-er, I disagree that NY-ers don't get defensive. The difference is that NY-ers generally don't care what other people think about them or their city. It has nothing to do with civic pride (in my opinion).
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:36 AM
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Well said,Liam, also I think that NYers are so used to NY being bashed for one reason or another, that it just rolls of their/our backs
I think Texans and Southerners need to work on that a little more.
I think SF is a fabulous city, would love to live there, and have no criticism of it.
and Liam, Boston isn't bad either how is the family?
Feb 20th, 2002, 05:56 AM
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NY Mom - thanks for asking. I updated my "Trip of a Lifetime" post on the Europe boards (just search under that title).
Feb 20th, 2002, 06:28 AM
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New Yorkers don't get defensive because most of us are so arrogant we believe that NYC is the center of the universe and that anyone who criticizes NYC needs an intervention. After all, why get defensive when the other guy is so completely delusional that he actually thinks someplace else has qualites better than NY? Impossible!

New Yorkers simply dismiss anyone who doesn't believe that NYC is paradise on earth.
Feb 20th, 2002, 07:40 AM
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I'm one of the defenders! I've noticed alot of unjustified criticism, from people who seem to have an axe to grind. We're the Hilary Clinton of cities, some people just can't stand the thought of SF. I try to hold my tongue, but when I read generalities like "I found it incredibly difficult to find good food", give me a break!
Feb 20th, 2002, 08:43 AM
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I remember a month or two ago when poster Patrick mentioned how sometimes he has seen fights break out over getting a taxi in the New York theatre district. He was blasted for insulting New Yorkers (although I thought he was talking about tourists, not New Yorkers). For about a month every time he posted even restaurant suggestions he was blasted even more, and someone even brought his post up again to show why they thought he was being rude to New Yorkers, so I wouldn't say that New Yorkers don't get just as defensive.

Frankly I think the posts which have blasted San Francisco have been far too harsh. You'd think by reading some of them entering San Francisco would be like a stroll through Afghanistan. Who can blame the natives for being defensive when the criticisms are as harsh and rude as they have been?
Feb 20th, 2002, 09:14 AM
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I tried posting a response, but my computer wigged out and I guess it didn't make on here. I will retry.

To Elaineb's post, I would also add that much of the criticism is unjustified.

People think that San Fran is this mythic place, almost this Disney-like until they go. People know NYC is dirty and that LA has traffic and that New Orleans is hot and smelly, but what do they know about SF? That Tony Bennett left his heart there. That cable cars go "ding ding" up these pretty hills. That the Golden Gate is one of the prettiest bridges on earth. That the city os full of row after row of brightly painted Victorians. Imagine the shock when Joe and Miriam Nebraska get off the plane at SFO and sees that SF is a place where people work and live and die, just like home!

As an outsider, I think SF is wonderful and look forward to my next trip to the Bay area.
Feb 20th, 2002, 09:52 AM
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I visited San Francisco for the 1st time
in November and loved it! I had been a bit worried after reading the information found on this forum.
It has it's bad, run down areas, just
like any other big city. But it has beautiful park space, views, great architecture (sp?), culture, food, etc...
The people who post here can be quite
vicious. If I went by what I read here,
I wouldn't have bothered going to San
Francisco. I would'nt have stayed at the Fairmont Hotel. I wouldn't have
visited Fisherman's Wharf. Why bother?
It must be nice to be so (1st) worldly.
What city in the world is totally perfect in every way?
Feb 20th, 2002, 10:13 AM
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I think we who live here accept SF as a real place warts and all and don't expect it to be Disneyland. Therefore, when it's unjustly criticized, yes, we do get defensive. I'm guilty of that, but I hope that I give others realistic, informed advice about visiting this remarkable city.
Feb 20th, 2002, 10:14 AM
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I'm a New Yorker and love visiting San Francisco. If San Francisco bashers think SF is such a gritty, grimey city, what's their version of a clean city? It'd have to be immaculate.
Feb 20th, 2002, 09:26 PM
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SF has a surprising amount of problems, most self created. But its still a very special city and of course locals will defend it. We all tend to defend cities we live in and like (note the caveat - there are a number of places I've lived that I'd have trouble defending).

I think what causes people's reaction is that a lot of US cities got nicer from 1990 on, while SF is the only one I know that got scuzzier.

As for someone saying "I found it incredibly difficult to find good food" that is insane. SF is one of the great food cities of the world.
Feb 21st, 2002, 03:14 AM
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San Francisco is world class because of it's natural beauty, fantastic restaurants, great music and culture, and compassionate people. It's one of the handful of American cities a person could fall in love with. That's probably why people get defensive about the yahoos who blast her.
Feb 21st, 2002, 07:28 AM
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World class cities don't have an explosive homeless population that exceeds 10,000.
Feb 21st, 2002, 07:46 AM
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John is one twisted dude!!
He's trying to create a favorable analogy between Hillary Clinton and SF....trying to embellish SF's image by comparing it to HRC is like trying to polish your shoes by wiping wet dog crap on them.
Feb 21st, 2002, 09:09 AM
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I'm one of those who no longer like SF all that much. But it has less to do with SF going downhill than with other cities improving. 20-30 years ago, SF was one of the (very) few cities in the country where you could count on finding great coffee and good food from a variety of cultures, lively city neighborhoods, a thriving arts scene, etc., so of course everyone raved about it and were willing to overlook its warts. Now, I can find all those wonderful things in so many cities--Chicago, Philadelphia, most places in the Pacific NW, and the list goes on. I don't "need" to go to SF anymore to find the aspects that are still so great about it. So even though SF doesn't interest me as a destination now, I realize we owe the city a debt of gratitude for "showing the way."
FYI, regarding the homeless situation, let's face it, the mild climate and, as another poster observed, compassionate citizens, make it a natural draw. If I were homeless, I'd rather deal with that awful situation in a place like SF than in Buffalo!
Feb 21st, 2002, 09:37 AM
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Here's the analogy I was making: When you're fishing for knee-jerk right-wing morons, you only have to use Hillary or SF for bait!

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