Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sunday Streets and Adventures in Claustrophobia

Me, walking the streets of the Mission.

I had been wanting to try something new in the Mission District, one of my favorite San Francisco neighborhoods, for a long time now. So last Sunday, I stole away my boyfriend Ben and we headed over to a event that happened to be in the neighborhood which was part of a series called Sunday Streets. Put on by the city in order to promote the health of the community and its citizens, Sunday Streets temporarily closes the streets to vehicular traffic in various neighborhoods and opens them up for walking, biking, dancing, hula hooping, yoga-ing, you name it.

BART heading into the West Oakland tunnel.
Not exactly where we were stuck, but close enough.
Photo Credit: Michael Macor, SF Chronicle.

And though I was prepared for an adventure in the Mission, I unexpectedly got one on BART on the way over. After a series of sluggish shifting and sudden stops, our train came to a complete halt in the dark, dank tunnel between Oakland City Center and West Oakland. Over the intercom, our conductor informed us that there was a man walking on the tracks. (Here's the local news article on that). He also said that, in order to prevent any harm from coming to him or those trying to secure him, they would have to shut off the power coming from the third rail.

Unfortunately, this also meant shutting off our air supply on a Giants-fan filled train on a hot day.

Without a seat and with a crippling fear of suffocation and nothing but a cheese croissant in my stomach, I have to admit I was more than a little uneasy. I eventually conserved some energy by sitting on the floor, thanked myself for wearing my lightweight dress and my hat despite the cold weather outside and did my best not to panic in that confined, clammy car filled with increasingly anxious and tired passengers. I did pretty well; one man in our car called 911 'just in case' and one woman nearly passed out before she got some water, so I was proud of my ability to keep it together and I eventually got beyond my own fears and focused on fanning an adorable, and sweltering baby sitting near me. After braving these conditions for a good 45 minutes, the situation with the man on the tracks was apparently under control and we were on our way with power and air in no time. Still, I think I got more than I bargained for when I said I wanted a new experience.

Love this street.

Once we got to the Mission, we were a little tired from our adventures inclaustrophobia, but after a quick stop at Arizmendi for pizza fuel and a nice walk in the crisp air of the streets, we managed to enjoy the Sunday Streets experience. We walked, listened to street musicians, people watched, pretended we had enough money to be seriously looking in local furniture shops, thrifted, and saw capoeira students simultaneously break it down and duke it out. In short, we did a lot of my favorite things in one of my favorite places all at once. In spite of our crazy morning, the afternoon turned out to be a lovely new experience, one in which I hope to repeat soon, perhaps in another neighborhood. More photos from our adventure below:

Hipster, I mean people watching at Sunday Streets.
Roma tomato, goat cheese and basil pesto pizza from Arizmendi.
Ben, browsing the books in Community Thrift.

Capoeira action shot
Extreme roller blading (?) action shot
Outside of Dog Eared Books
one of my favorite indie bookstores in the city.
Hula hoopers
Actually hula hooped long enough to have my photo taken. 
Mission Accomplished (no pun intended).

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