Goodbye, San Francisco

sf.jpgSorry for the delay in posting here, everyone (as if you have been waiting with baited breath)! My trip ended on Friday, but between being jam-packed with meetings, and then travel, then recovering from the red-eye, I have been so busy that I didn’t get a chance to sit down and make some final pithy remarks and ponderings. So here goes:

- I love SF. Outside of NY, where I was born and raised, there is no other place I would rather be. If I didn’t have such a good job, I would seriously consider making a move.
- Your restaurants rock! I only got to visit a few of them, but Postrio was in my hotel, and that was incredible. Then, on night #2, I got to visit Le Colonial. While pricey (thank you, corporate expense account!), it was truly one of the better meals I have had in a long time. TOTALLY worth it.
- It was nice to visit a city that is not so egocentric. I come from a city that is, besides LA, the most egocentric place in the country. So many people have the attitude of “If it’s not about NY, it sucks.” I am the opposite. While there is much to love about Manhattan and the surrounding areas, there is plenty to piss you off as well… Most notably, the people. The populous is becoming more and more pretentious and flashy by the day. San Francisco seems to be the opposite. Laid back people, who are always willing to help and always seem to have a smile on their faces, with good attitudes toward their neighbors and visitors, and a friendly demeanor that makes an outsider feel welcome and wanted. This is one aspect of your city that NY could never compete with.

More after the jump!

- I am amazed that the cost of living seems to be more expensive than NY. Yes, the city is incredible, but when you factor in that it is seriously lacking in some areas (public transportation options, seasonal changes, water pressure), it is frustrating to know that if I did live here, I would be doling out even more wasted dollars than I already do in NY.
- Speaking of which, what’s the deal with the water pressure? I was told that it is low because there are not enough water pumps. But in a top-5 market, it staggers me to think that the city or state wouldn’t build more pumps to increase pressure! I have played Sim City, I know how easy it is. There must be another reason. The showers honestly feel like you are getting peed on by a person with an enlarged prostate.
- Oakland Airport is great. I have never flown to or from SFO, but coming into and leaving from Oakland proved to be extremely easy and painless. If that is your second rate airport, I would be amazed at SFO. Your second tier is significantly better than our top-tiers!
- Would it be possible for JetBlue to kiss their own ass anymore? All they do is talk about how they are better than everyone else. They are like the Dallas Cowboys of air travel. Don’t get me wrong… I love the airline. It is far and away better than any other option. But it gets a little uncomfortable having to listen to the flight crew enjoy a verbal masturbation session.
- On the way back to NY, I had one of those flight attendants who acts like she is soooo good at her job that she doesn’t need to be nice. Like, she gets on the loudspeaker to give you her bullshit speech about what to do in case of a “water landing” (AKA deadly crash), and she breezes through it like the Micromachines guy, even adding in her own little pieces just to prove she is the best. But then when you ask for a pillow, she rolls her eyes like you are requesting a kidney. Chill out, lady.
- One thing that does piss me off is that JetBlue, Southwest, and the other low-fare carriers all request that you go through the front pockets of the seat and throw out garbage. First, there is no way they are trusting people to do that, so you know they have people doing it after we leave the plane anyway… they are just being lazy. Second, they throw that verbiage at you that the reason they are low-cost is that people throw away their stuff. Cut the guilt trip bullshit please… While you are lower cost than most airlines, it is a function of good management, less burocracy, and a different business model than the legacy carriers. Don’t tell me it is because you have to clean up less snickers wrappers.
- This is a similar phenomenon to the hotels that put up signs that they are making efforts to help the environment, so if you don’t need your towels washed, hang them up. Bull shit. They are trying to save money… That is fine, and as a businessperson and a capitalist, I am all for it. But don’t do it under the guise of “saving the environment.”
- Another similar trend is when all customer service phone lines include a warning that they are “experiencing higher than normal call volumes.” It could be 5am at a local motel, and they will still force this wrote message down your throat. Are they seriously expecting us to believe that since 1984, every inbound calling organization has had serious bottlenecks in their operation that they are still working through. When you hear that message, know that what they are really saying is “we did not want to pay another person from Bombay to answer phones, so you may have to wait.”

Anyway, those are my final thoughts on my trip, as well as a few rants/complaints about stupid stuff that has come up in the last week. Sorry it got a bit lengthy. None the less, I look forward to my next visit out to the Bay area, which hopefully will be in the next 3 months or so. Thanks for reading my posts, and comment your asses off!

14 Comments so far

  1. amma (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

    We have to conserve water b/c it all comes from hetchy-hetchy, the Yosemite valley area dam, so it comes a long way, etc. and we’re always at risk of a drought- so that’s why no water pressure. When I visited Portland for the first time and saw the water fountains that never stopped… tripped me out. Anyway, that’s my understanding on water pressure.


  2. anna (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

    Correction: hetch hetchy

    Also, from this City of Millbrae (few miles south) Water Conservation Code (http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Millbrae/millbrae08/millbrae0845.html) water conservation link read the public code:
    “8. Except for fire protection service lines, a pressure-reducing valve or valves that will limit the static water pressure to each floor of the structure to fifty pounds per square inch gauge shall be installed in all new or remodeled residential structures.”

    Good article on water conservation (the why, the how) from this site, and basically the same point I was making:
    “Across San Francisco Bay in Oakland, for example, the water comes from a reservoir in the Sierra Nevada mountains several hundred miles away, near Yosemite. And we have water shortages here because much of our water goes to Los Angeles where, by its desert nature, there is practically none.”


  3. tyler82 (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    RE: Egocentricity: you obviously haven’t been here long enough or paid close attention!


  4. cd (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

    Man, am I tired of LA getting blamed for jacking SF’s water – to be more specific, if LA is jacking anything, it’s jacking water SF is trying to jack already.

    As for the water pressure – growing up in drought-ridden LA, where restrictors and short showers were a part of life (ah the fond memories of my dad literally standing outside the bathroom with a stopwatch ready to pound the door until I turned off the water), I found refreshing amounts of water pouring forth in SF. Hotels restrict FAR more than do residences in SF – based on my small data set, of course. But once you’re used to soaking showers, some Cali offerings are really annoying.

    On the egocentric evaluation: I think that comes from being a visitor. On every trip to NYC, I’m surprised at the friendly nature of residents (I agree with you on the cabbie ratings, though) – after years of hearing the worst, I don’t think they could’ve been that bad at all. People tend to be nicer to open-minded, friendly aliens in their midst – so you saw the better side of San Franciscans. I think they can be PLENTY egocentric when they want to be. Perhaps they weren’t shitting on your hometown because they fancy themselves the New Yorkers of the left coast. Which would probably make the average New Yorker pat them on the head with an “aww, that’s so cute.”

    And your evaluations of JetBlue made me laugh outloud – well put!


  5. tyler82 (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

    cd: your attitude seems to be a self fulfilling prophecy, get over yourself. You’re from LA.. cool. Next…


  6. Bill Logan (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

    Glad to hear you had a great time, but I’d be really curious to hear about why you feel that public transportation options are lacking in the city. It seems a bit odd to me since I’ve lived where public transportation really is lacking, unless there’s something specific to New York that you couldn’t find here?

    As for the water pressure in the shower, I suspect that your hotel finds it easier to blame the city than its own flow restrictors.


  7. Ainsley (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

    Re: public information, as much as I love San Francisco, the MUNI and Bart simply do not compare with the MTA. One can get almost anywhere in New York quickly and conveniently, whereas in San Francisco, while some points are convenient (read: going to/from financial district), for most of the time, MUNI is pretty bad.


  8. cd (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

    psst – tyler: yawn.


  9. ML (unregistered) on December 12th, 2006 @ 9:16 am

    I really can’t fathom how people can make the argument that NYC is a less expensive place to live than SF.


  10. Noah (unregistered) on December 12th, 2006 @ 9:27 am

    ML, I think it is because of the lack of public transportation… In NYC, you can ostensibly live in Brooklyn, Queens, or even Jersey (Hoboken, Jersey City) and still be within a very short subway ride to midtown or downtown. In SF, not only is the subway much smaller and with less reach, but it seems common that you have to do a lot of line switching. So, in NYC, you can live in a comparably cheap place and spend $1000/month rent and have a decent apt that is not too inconvenient from your work, but from what I have been told (and seen in the papers), there is nothing that is at all convenient in that price range in SF. Plus, I spoke with 5 people who have cars in SF, so I am assuming that is common. Having a car is a huge added price (lease/loans, gas, insurance, parking, inevitable tickets) that commuters in Manhattan and “Bridge and Tunnel” folks from the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens don’t have to deal with.

    It is a photo finish, but it seems to me that SF is more expensive… Or AT LEAST the same cost.


  11. ML (unregistered) on December 12th, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

    Noah….I appreciate the perspective but I just still totally don’t agree. The very reason people in SF can have a car is because it is still economically viable. SF is 7×7 miles…we’re not talking about L.A…..you can still walk, bike, or public transport very easily to work.

    Furthermore…and I guess this is semantics…if you’re gonna cite Brooklyn, Queens and Hoboken as cheaper option, I’ll cite the Bay Area equivalents of Oakland, Berkeley, and Daly City.

    As far as SF vs. Manhatten….there is no way that you can argue that it is comparable. I’m not saying SF is cheap, but at least students, artists and lower income people can afford to live in SF and participate without having to commute in to the city proper. Since Guiliani was elected in the early 90′s, Manhatten really did become a playground for the rich.


  12. Chester (unregistered) on December 12th, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

    From what I’ve seen, NYC apartments tend to be dramatically smaller. Doing 1BR vs. 1BR is, uh…oranges to apples. Gotta compare per sq/ft.

    And I, too, think that SF residents have developed a lot more citified attitude in the last decade or so…or more people with attitudes moved to SF. Same difference, more or less.


  13. Lauren (unregistered) on December 13th, 2006 @ 12:15 am

    SF folks seem to pride themselves on being not egocentric, and that can become an pissing competition itself. You can only see the “I’m just a geeky guy who cares about the technology, not the millions of VC I am getting, and I drive a hybrid because I care about the environment, and shop at Whole Foods for the organic produce, not the hot girls at the deli counter, and drink tequila because Scotch was so 2001″ attitude so much without starting to wonder. Not that I am complaining…


  14. Noah (unregistered) on December 13th, 2006 @ 6:44 am

    Good call, Chester. I can’t speak for apts in SF, but in NY, if you are in a desirable neighborhood, you can spend $1,500+ for a shoebox-sized place…

    HAHA Lauren nice one! Yes, it is remarkable how people try to be so unique and then tend to mimick each other into oblivion, so much so that they basically become parodies unto themselves…



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