SF is ‘too hilly to be dull,’ and other curious verdicts

I ran across this article syndicated on a foreign news site and eventually tracked it back to the author’s blog: Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, on his visit to San Francisco.

Among the curious verdicts delivered by the Washington-based political writer:

  • San Francisco is “too hilly to be dull.”
  • The cable car system is “the world’s largest toy train layout,” a joke so good he repeats it a paragraph later.
  • “San Francisco gives the impression that it is against the law to tear anything down.”
  • “The Bay Area treats its stereotypes the way some places care for their old buildings.”

These and other observations, with numerous comparisons to Washington, DC, in Smith’s article.

4 Comments so far

  1. wayan (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 8:28 am

    Ooo.. I can’t wait to see what y’all think of Sam. His a very different voice in DC but feels he would not be that out of place in SF:

    “the Green Party candidate for San Francisco mayor got 47% the last time. I’ve never lived in a place where 47% of the people agreed with me on something that important and different.”


  2. TinMan (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 9:02 am

    San Francisco is “too hilly to be dull.”

    I agree, but it’s the city’s people who make it truly interesting, not the landscape.

    “San Francisco gives the impression that it is against the law to tear anything down.”

    But when it does, San Francisco can do it in style. Tearing down the quake-damaged Embarcadero Freeway to open up the waterfront was probably one of the finest urban development decisions by a major US city in the past fifty years.

    “The Bay Area treats its stereotypes the way some places care for their old buildings.”

    This is in fact a true statement.


  3. cd (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 10:29 am

    Sounds like statements John King would agree with – when it comes to architecture. SF isn’t so hot with the building stuff.

    I think the people and the hills are a chicken-and-egg scenario. You have to have some sense of humor to scale those hills, right? And to deal with the fog. And the stereotypes.


  4. 49Giants (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 5:31 pm

    It’s always interesting to hear an outsider’s perspective on San Francisco. I’ve always worried that tourists won’t be able to get past the Fisherman’s Wharf/Chinatown/North Beach aspect of SF. I hope, and it looks like, this guy did.

    I can’t say the same for all visitors from DC, however.



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