Location, location, location

Hidden and Weird Locations in SF
Friend pointed me to this Flickr stream that ended up inspiring this group to use it as a location for Rent, an old Amtrak Station. And with that great sibling rivalry (We are better than Oakland!) I will go on a foray to find cool secret, hidden locations.

– there are closed down subway stops, where they had raves in Y2K. Really. OK I haven’t been there but I do believe they exist. Once my friend Sally’s N-train broke down and she had to walk through the tunnel and she went by a broken-down station. really

– the labyrinths of Chinatown: I wrote a term paper in college on this, and no, they don’t exist. It’s some kind of orientalism fetish about the mysteries of the East.

– mahjongg gambling halls in little alleys in Chinatown. These do exist! And you’ll hear the “clattering of sparrows” the sound of mahjongg tiles being shuffled, very loudly as you walk down the alley, that’s how you know they’re there. Check Waverley Street.

– old disused batteries, from WW2: hike under the Golden Gate Bridge, like you’re a bike about to get on the bridge, but veer off on the “Bautista Bay Trail” footpath. Not only is it a gorgeous view of the Pacific from a high elevation, but if you take one of the first lefts out onto a grassy meadow, you’ll be on the top of a disused battery (and in back of the toll office). It’s neat.

– ruins of the Sutro baths: They were big, they were fun, and they’re gone. But the foundation is still there and it’s kind of cool and spooky.

– the NASA missile site, on Angel Island- so cold war freaky

– Chinese poetry graffiti carved on the walls in the “ellis island of the west”- Angel Island, so sad, wish I could translate them better!

– the anti-subterranean craft frequency wavelength neutralizer (I made that up). It’s a little utility station on Marina Green, and it corrects a sonar detection of mines, so that enemies don’t know there’s mines, or that’s my lay-woman interpretation, at least. Kind of fascinating in a physics/ham-radio geekie way.

– earthquake shacks. they exist! Once in a while they’re on the market and you can tour them and realize how dinky and small they are. It’s also a common term for “wow this is a piece of shit small real estate in a bubble market” haha. So not that they *really* go up for sale, but that’s what we endearingly call very small properties. One of our museums had them installed and you could walk through them, outfitted with the furniture of the time. Kind of scary and small. I think there actually are some remaining in Bernal Heights and Noe Valley.