Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wotzis, a PO-POPOS?

Today's #Lunchinginpublic features Pier 9 on the Embarcadero. It's owned by the Port of SF, so I guess this is a Publicly Owned Privately Operated Public Open Space -- a PO-POPOS -- or something. Or, that is, the public part is a PO-POPOS, and it's hard to tell actually which part that is.

These two benches in front of a locked gate were the only obviously "public" area answering to the description of "public shore."

There was an "Authorized Personnel Only" sign on the wall next to the locked gate. But it was (a) very old-looking and (b) apparently directed at whatever was on the other side of the locked gate, which we couldn't get to anyway. Also it said "No vehicles past the red gate" but there wasn't a red gate. Confusing.

Meanwhile, newer-looking signs said "Bayside History Walk" on the wall and "Public Shore" on these doors, which were open:





So we decided, we have a mission to explore public spaces, this is or may be a public space, in we go.

The double doors led to another set of double doors into the main covered hall in the interior of the warehouse on the pier.

As with a lot of the San Francisco pier warehouses there's a wonderful design feature inside.

No, not the fake palm trees.

It's that there are rows of office structures built all along inside the two walls. They give a sense of a shipwreck colonized with corals, or of something out of medieval Europe, like Tudor London Bridge freighted with shops and houses, or the whole neighborhoods that grew up in the arches and bleachers of Roman amphitheaters.

At the far end is a fenced-off section for the San Francisco Bar Pilots and their jarringly modern-looking offices. Brave important people. Hats off.

A guy named Shawn M. Boland has posted this view of boats passing by Pier 9. Gives a further idea of the view outward.

We never did figure out if any part of the place other than those benches outside added up to a History Walk or a Public Shore. But the interior of the pier didn't seem welcoming to strangers.

Exploration success; signage fail.

Oh, the lunching part of the story got a little out of phase this time. Before arriving at Pier 9, we bought a burger and chili dog at the new Prather Ranch food stand in the Ferry Building. (Much, much recommended. Prather Ranch cattle are raised to exceptionally high standards to produce collagen and medical implants as well as beef. They're beyond "organic" in care and quality.) We ate outside the Ferry Building, which was awfully quiet for a Saturday afternoon -- everyone up in the mountains for the Fourth maybe.

Then coffee. At the Starbucks where the branch of Taqueria Pancho Villa used to be.

Starbucks is offering "Indivisible Blend: For Every Pound Purchased Starbucks Will Donate $5.00 To Help Create Jobs Here In The U.S."

Starbucks is however not so concerned about Americans in the immediate vicinity who perhaps feel not quite able to be paying for the Indivisible Blend: restrooms are For Customers Only, and "Water Is Available For Customers Only and Must Be Ordered At The Register. Paying Customers May Receive One Complimentary Tall Water Per Order. Thank You For Your Understanding And Compliance."

Um, we still had the coffee when we got to Pier 9. So we were just barely "lunching" there. Nowhere pleasant for the public to sit down however, so we didn't. It does look like a wonderful place to have an office.

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