Tuesday, June 12, 2012

@TheBayCitizen: Twitter is not in the Tenderloin.

Editor's itch: Twitter is at 9th and Market in SF but Andy Wright of The Bay Citizen describes the location as "San Francisco's Tenderloin District."

Actually, no. The Mart building where Twitter opened shop this week is all the way across Civic Center from the Tenderloin. The Tenderloin is north and east of Civic Center Plaza. Sorry, not at the Mart.

In general, I suspect Twitter PR folks are overplaying the alleged slumminess of their location for shock value. Ninth and Market is an OK block for the west end of downtown. So, it's not as it was when ladies wore hats and white gloves to shop at department stores along that stretch (I talked with an 83-year-old client today who says the white-glove thing was for real), but it's not Hyde and Ellis either.

Yes, the tax-break district that lured Twitter to the historic Mart building also includes Tenderloin addresses. But that doesn't mean the neighborhoods blur together. They're different places pretty much entirely.

All of Market Street, rich and poor blocks alike, is a public civic street full of grandiose buildings that were built to welcome the public and that, if they aren't all welcoming now, could easily be so again. The Tenderloin has some grand buildings too -- mostly performance spaces -- but the TL, basically, is made to be lived in, not for ceremony. Market Street is broad; Tenderloin streets and sidewalks are narrower. Market is a public, arm's-length kind of place; Tenderloin sidewalks serve as residents' front yards.

So the idea of Twitter having moved into the Tenderloin is kind of comical, As in, where would they find a sufficiently grand freestanding space to put a major corporation?

Twitter in the Tenderloin? It would be like jamming an elephant behind the counter in a corner store.

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