The October 24 “Sunday Streets” in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood was rained out, but San Francisco Giants fans created their own “Wednesday Streets” event as they took over neighborhood streets in celebration of the Giants parade and City Hall ceremony. Fans packed neighborhood bars and danced in closed streets as beer and medical marijuana flowed freely. Crowds sang Giants songs and strangers gave each other hugs in a scene more reminiscent of San Francisco’s celebration of the end of World War II than of a typical sporting event. I attended the 1981 49ers parade – and it came nowhere near to approaching the size, exuberance and feelings of unrestrained glee that typified the crowds that took over the Uptown Tenderloin and adjacent areas.
The scene in San Francisco’s Civic Center and Uptown Tenderloin neighborhood’s during the Giants parade and City Hall celebration was one for the history books. Sidewalks overwhelmed with people dressed in Giants gear partying like it was New Years Eve, and whereas on that evening fun is prescribed by the calendar, this celebration was a heartfelt response to the Giants finally winning a San Francisco World Series.
I don’t know if most of the revelers even knew they were in the Uptown Tenderloin, but given the great time had by all it can only improve perceptions of the neighborhood. And if you need a place with great local bars, few communities beat the Tenderloin area north of Civic Center Plaza.
At perhaps the most festive local spot, the cordoned off block of Polk between Turk and Eddy, police enjoyed themselves as people smoked medical marijuana and danced holding beer cans or other drinks. Some suggested the police were in a particularly good mood over the defeat of Proposition B, which would have cost them money for pensions and health care; their joy may also solely be attributed to their being Giants fans.
Not all those attending worked or lived in San Francisco, but all would agree that there are few places better to hold a Wednesday street party than in Civic Center and the Uptown Tenderloin. It was an experience nobody involved will forget, and, once some sober up, all will clearly remember.
Thanks to the Giants organization and San Francisco public employees for making the parade and celebration everything people hoped it would be. For political types the Giants victory could not have come at a better time, and the age, gender, racial and ethnic diversity of Giants fans celebrating again shows why the San Francisco Bay Area is such a special place.
Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron.