SF Chronicles: Misconceptions

Despite what everyone told me, in comparison to New York, San Francisco was not everything it was cracked up to be. Here are some busted myths:

1. San Francisco’s transit system is simpler than New York’s.

In downtown San Francisco, both the Muni and BART subways share stations. These two systems are about 100 times more dissimilar than the MTA and PATH – they don’t share fare collection systems, they have different rules and regulations, and they go to completely different places.

One night during my trip, I wanted to get to West Portal, which is near a Muni subway stop. I only had a $20 bill on me, and the station agent does not make change. How did he suggest I get change?

1. Go to a BART machine that makes change for $20 bills, receive 4 $5 bills.
2. Go to another BART machine at the opposite end of the station that makes change for $5 bills, receive 5 $1 bills.
3. Go to a third BART machine that generates both tickets and change, receive 8 quarters for two $1 bills.
4. Use 6 quarters in the turnstile, pass through, and take a “proof of payment” transfer receipt. If a police officer catches you without this slip, you can be fined up to $500, despite the fact that this is a fare-controlled area, and there is no way to get into the station or onto the train without passing through a turnstile.

This is the equivalent of being told you have to go to an NJ Transit machine to purchase a single-ride Metrocard, and being threatened with a massive fine if you don’t hold onto your receipt for a $2 subway ride. And you think we New Yorkers live in a police state!

2. San Francisco is cleaner than New York.

One of my friends, a newly-christened San Franciscan, told me, “you can eat off the sidewalks here.” I don’t know what plates he eats off of, but I would never even touch the sidewalk in San Francisco. My shoes feel dirty just walking there.

You see, San Francisco is teeming with homeless people far above what I’ve ever seen in New York. San Francisco is a temperate climate, so the homeless can stay outside year-round with few problems. And it especially doesn’t help that the city of San Francisco gives their homeless welfare checks.

I have never seen more puke stains on city streets before in my life. In the morning, there were piles of puke stewing in the middle of the sidewalk, remnants of their welfare money spent on alcohol and drugs. And they don’t even have the courtesy to puke in the gutter!

3. San Francisco is gayer than New York.

In three full days in San Francisco, I did not once see a same-sex public display of affection. In fact, I did not see a same-sex couple hold hands. I don’t even recall seeing a rainbow flag. I didn’t realize this until Sunday afternoon, when I saw two men in a bar in North Beach wearing glittery eyeshadow, presumably as part of the Italian Heritage Parade that took place earlier in the day.

“You know what,” I told my friend, “I’ve been in San Francisco for nearly 72 hours, and that’s the gayest thing I’ve seen here. I see gayer things in New York on daily basis.” So, no need to fear God’s wrath, San Franciscans! We’ve got you beat when it comes to Sodomites, too!

Earlier: SF Chronicles: The Bitchy Bohemian Bar Bouncer

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11 Comments

Filed under As Seen On Gawker, Life in NYC, On the Road

11 responses to “SF Chronicles: Misconceptions

  1. Anonymous

    I think it is incredibly sad that in this post-Giuliani era people apparently don’t know that you can jump turnstiles…

  2. Anonymous

    The reason you have to keep the fares for the muni is because there are many stations outside of the underground market street line where one just walks up to the train. Those are the people who very frequently don’t pay their fares and would get the fine.

  3. Yeah, I used to ride N-Judah to work from Outer Sunset, where the subway trains are streetcars, and you can get on a train without paying a fare.

    If you don’t have a weekly/monthly pass, you have to pay the driver, who gives you a transfer ticket. It’s actually worth it since you get like 2 free transfers with a single fare.

    The ticket check was a lot of fun – once or twice a month, the MUNI police comes in and they bust a couple of people every time.

    Getting the monthly pass was a pain in the ass, since they’re good for a calendar month, not any 30-day period, and my local Safeway would run out if I waited too long.

  4. Anonymous

    Man, SF has the worst homeless problem I’ve ever seen. Outside of India, that is. And they’re agressive too, if you try to give them the New York “I’m pretending you don’t exist” cold-shoulder treatment, they’ll get right up in your face about it.

    Of course they’re such big pussies out there in Northern California, they don’t have the balls to throw all their homeless in jail, like we do. Oh, wait a second, that’s not ballsy, just cruel.

  5. Anonymous

    I would LOVE to know where your friend lives in SF where you could “eat of the sidewalks.” When I lived there 4 years ago my block constantly smelled like piss and rotted burrito chunks. KRON News was running a multi-installment piece called “Civic Shame,” which mainly consisted of a surveillance montage of people pissing, shitting, and fucking in front of City Hall. Yum.

  6. Anonymous

    I would LOVE to know where your friend lives in SF where you could “eat of the sidewalks.” When I lived there 4 years ago my block constantly smelled like piss and rotted burrito chunks. KRON News was running a multi-installment piece called “Civic Shame,” which mainly consisted of a surveillance montage of people pissing, shitting, and fucking in front of City Hall. Yum.

  7. Anonymous

    At least you can live there without paying over a grand in rent…

  8. 'Chelly G

    You clearly weren’t in the Castro (one of SF’s coolest neighborhoods) if you didn’t see rainbow flags or gay people!

  9. Whoever told you SF’s transit system was simpler obviously lied to you. The person who told you it was cleaner probably never left the airport when he was there. But you, my friend, were just in the wrong part of San Francisco when you missed the gay people.

  10. Anonymous

    whoever said “at least you can live there without paying over a grand a month in rent” is dead wrong. San Fran is actually more expensive than ny… shocking as that may be.

  11. omg you can jump turnstiles!?

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