From the category archives:

In with the New!

Blood Bank Resurrection

by Mister SF on 12/22/2022

>> In with the New!

While it could have made a good location for a San Francisco version of “What We Do in the Shadows,” the blood bank at 250 Masonic Ave., was instead acquired recently by the University of San Francisco. USF submitted plans this week to convert the blood donation center into academic space, its first major expansion in more than ten years.

For San Franciscans, the blood bank has long been a landmark for a familiar location in the City’s unofficial center. After all, it’s a few feet from the start of Central Avenue. Not to be overly sentimental about it, Mister SF supposes people have already started referring to nearby Target, anyway.

A year after moving into its headquarters at 415 Mission Street, Salesforce has opened San Francisco’s tallest building to all.

Everyone who loves the City should see the Transamerica Pyramid and Bank of America Building (2nd and 3rd tallest) AND the “Top of the Mark” Hopkins Hotel and Fairmont Tower (ex-Crown Room) all in the same view. (Also the Russ Building, tallest from ’27-’64!)

Sales Force Tower has opened The Ohana Floor atop Salesforce Tower in San Francisco to free scheduled public tours one Saturday a month. The program began Feb. 23. The 61-story, 1,050-ft tower opened for business on January 18, 2018.

From the archive: Above San Francisco


Supervisor Aaron Peskin (center) reviews documents with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Angela Calvillo City and Attorney Dennis Herrera.

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin took the oath of office in City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s City Hall office today, about an hour before the regular Tuesday meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Peskin, a fiery former Board president who last served as a Supervisor in 2009, was elected to the post in November over mayoral appointee Julie Christensen. Peskin’s victory is seen as a rebuke by voters of Mayor Ed Lee, and of his housing policies in particular. Peskin is a staunch advocate for tenant’s rights whose district is among the hardest hit by evictions. Lee was also reelected this year.

Peskin addresses family members, colleagues, campaign leaders and friends following his swearing-in as District 3 Supervisor. Before the end of the day, Peskin could count the spiking of a $30 million sweetheart land deal, which had been favored by the mayor, among his first official acts. Welcome Back.


Midnight Sun Heralds New Day

by Mister SF on 03/01/2014

>> In with the New!

Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street

As evidenced by our archive, and all throughout City life, changes big and small are usually noticed. San Franciscans like attention to detail. But this one, both welcome and historic, received surprisingly little attention. The Midnight Sun bar in the Castro, open since 1971, recently turned a wall into a window. Such a simple thing. But if, like Mister SF, you happened to show up here at a Dynasty party in the early 1980s, or even rode by as an auto passenger then, you might have still found some men – not all – waiting in line to get inside, with their backs facing the street. It’s terrible to remember that even in the Castro, some gay men were justly afraid that a boss, a co-worker, or someone else would see them and wish to harm them for being at a gay bar.

At that time, the Midnight Sun, a video bar, was quite simply like a gay YouTube channel that served drinks. You had to show up in person, of course, and the fun increased ten-fold as soon as you learned the lines to every camp video from Bette Davis to Dixie Carter, played in rotation. (Here’s a primer: “Wipe my mouth!” and “the night the lights went out in Georgia!” in that order.) And Dynasty every Wednesday night.

The Midnight Sun, circa 1999

I always felt the wall outside of the Midnight Sun was a relic of fear and shame because of what I witnessed in my earliest days here. I also have a contemporary who tells an ancient personal story about crawling out through the back door of Alta Plaza [restaurant] in Pacific Heights to avoid his boss around the same time. The real triumph is how far we’ve come. – HD


The Glass Bolt Bridge

by Mister SF on 09/03/2013

>> In with the New!,Notorious SF

Dateline: Oakland, where Mister SF celebrates the opening of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge during its inaugural commute! The bridge replaces the 1930s cantilever section which was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and later deemed seismically unsafe.

The Bay Area’s own “Big Dig,” the bridge was completed at a cost of $6.4 billion – 400% higher than Caltrans’ original, 1997 estimate. But do we always get what we pay for, as the old adage would have it? In March 2013, 32 bolts essential to the span’s seismic infrastructure broke when they were tightened. Not to be daunted from making opening day – nor from collecting on-time bonuses – builders and officials decided to shim the sucker until the defective areas of the span can be braced with steel saddle components. Because, after all, if something expensive doesn’t work properly it’s best to ram it and rig it, right? As Mister SF so often says, we’ll find out together.

A movement is underway in the California Legistlature to name the western, SF-Yerba Buena Island span for former Mayor Willie Brown, though the idea leaves San Franciscans cold according to my own informal survey. Some say a fitting honoree is the 19th Century eccentric Emperor Norton, whose proclamation ordering the construction of a bridge between the City and Oakland was printed in City newspapers of the day. We chose the name “Glass Bolt Bridge” for the new eastern span because it’s descriptive, and because its initials create a reverse bookend with those of “Golden Gate Bridge.”

More About the New Eastern Span
Bay Bridge Official Site


Dateline: Masonic Avenue between Geary Blvd. and Euclid Avenue, where Mister SF follows a harbinger of future technology and needless need, the self-driving car!

Take Five

by Mister SF on 01/13/2013

>> In with the New!,Only in SF

Dateline North Beach, 649 Green Street, where Mister SF shares a relaxed moment with members of the Green Street Mortuary Band.

Onward and Upward!

by Mister SF on 12/31/2012

>> In with the New!,Only in SF

Dateline westbound 37 Corbett Line, Castro and 18th Streets, where Mister SF knows one thing for sure about predictions for 2013.

Happy New Year!

Mister SF Takes Shelter

by Mister SF on 10/18/2012

>> In with the New!

Mister SF goes from Paris to Frankfurt via 31 Geary.

Bay to Breakers

by Mister SF on 05/20/2012

>> In with the New!,Notorious SF

With a candy parade of sorts, Mister SF ensconces the drinking holiday Bay to Breakers in his gallery of San Francisco institutions.