Elegy for the 15-Third
Today was the last day of operation for Muni’s 15-Third line, an unglamorous diesel which ran from one end of the city to the other, connecting Fisherman’s Wharf with City College via Columbus Avenue, the Financial District, 1st and Market, the CalTrain Station, Dogpatch, and Ocean Avenue.
The 15 was important to me early in my years in San Francisco, when I loved hanging out in North Beach but couldn’t afford to live anywhere near it. I also was a member of a dance collective (it was the early 80s, you know) with a studio out on Third and 20th Streets in a converted factory building. Sometimes, after performances, reluctant to go back to my little room in a flat shared with roommates I didn’t like very much, instead of catching the 22 back to the Fillmore I would catch the 15 to North Beach and go to City Lights Books and walk around. I was too broke to go into any of the bars and too shy to go into any of the strip clubs, but the funky action of North Beach still cheered me.
And come to think of it, before that, I rode the 15 out to the very first job I ever had in San Francisco: a temp data entry job at a Blue Shield office at 2 North Point. I kept that job about 5 weeks. It was the first money I ever made out here in California.
So here’s to the 15, which is being replaced by the T-Third line for its trip up the eastern side of the city, and by a new extension of the 9 for the foray into North Beach.