Info Gluttony

City of Drunks

Posted in thinking about cities by echan on May 21, 2008

The local blogosphere would have you believe that there is a conspiracy between fuddy duddy nimbys, the SFPD, and the Chronicle to shut down all public revelry in this City (Here’s an example from the SFist). It started with the shutting down of the Castro at Halloween last year, and now, some are worried that Bay-to-Breakers, a.k.a. Halloween in May, is now is danger.

While I believe that Halloween, B2B, and the summer street fair season give SF character, in the past five years or so, these events have taken on quite a different tone. These events used to seem more mixed, with drunkards and the stroller patrol represented in equal numbers. More recently, these events seem dominated by the post-collegiate drunken fratboy set, which seem to track the ever-changing demographics of SF, from a family-friendly city to the most hostile place in America to raise children.

This trend is forcing me to compare SF to NYC.  Adam Gopnik’s recent talk for City Arts and Lectures focused a lot on how NYC has changed over the past 20 or 25 years.  One thing that he noted is that NYC transformed itself from this menacing, crime-ridden place into one of the best places in America to raise kids.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for SF.


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