Has anyone heard of the Deco Ghetto?

I’m completely fascinated by San Francisco’s neighborhoods because it’s the only place I’ve ever lived that is so neighborhood-centric. Each neighborhood here is so distinct from the others that they take on lives of their own to the point where they become adjectives. People say things like, “well, it’s in the Mission but it’s such a Marina kind of place” and San Franciscans know exactly what that means. But what ends up happening is that the big general neighborhoods have to get further broken down into smaller neighborhoods as they get more well-defined. Thus, the Sunset and Mission have both inner and outer parts, Nob Hill has a lower part and the Tenderloin exists but only shows up on some maps and lists of the city’s neighborhoods. It’s fascinating.

And since it fascinates me, I was doing some reading about the different neighborhoods that there are in San Francisco and I came across a term that I hadn’t heard yet: The Deco Ghetto. According to the Bay Area Traveler, this term refers to the neighborhood “of Market Street from Franklin to Guerrero, and then south down Valencia to 14th”. Other sources have referred to the Deco Ghetto as being located “between the Mission and Hayes Valley” or just as being “along Market Street”.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who hadn’t yet learned the new nickname for this part of town. I’d known it as Duboce Triangle, but it is reportedly sometimes called The Hub and sometimes called Mid-Market. The latter appellation brings up the aside question – is there a Lower Market? After all, there’s an Upper Market. I can’t say that I can totally make sense of this whole neighborhood naming thing really, but I do know that there’s interesting shops and some good food and drinks spot in this Deco Ghetto so it’s a place I’ve checked out even if I didn’t call it anything at the time.

10 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

    The “Duboce Triangle” is actually a completely different place, bounded by Castro, Market, and Duboce Streets. You can read about it at:




    which covers many other neighborhoods but, alas, not The Deco Ghetto.

  2. anna (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

    Yeah- Duboce (said: doo-bose) is the triangle from duboce street, church, market, and castro st. (later divis). Deco Ghetto has all of those art deco dealerships on market street, zuni, Cav, etc. near the famous B of A building that processes all of your toll booth dollars and MUNI money (old roommate used to work the cash counting machines in the basement). I love how the MUNI drivers say duboce, all drawn out: dooo BOSE

  3. anthony (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 8:11 am

    wow, i live in the deco ghetto. who’d a thunk it? what confuses is me is that when i first got my apartment, it was advertised as upper market. (the area behind market street up until about duboce and valencia.) but anyone i’ve talked to has told me i live technically in the mission. but on some maps, the area is listed as upper market. but i think from now on i’ll be referring to it as the deco ghetto. :)

  4. anna (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 9:31 am

    that area is split on real estate maps too between a few districts. A friend lived behind the Mint and called it Lower Minty Hill (lower haight, the mint, and it’s a hill) Another fried lived across from Safeway and called it… across from Safeway.

  5. SlideSF (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 10:42 am

    Don’t go by what the real estate companies say. I once lived on the corner of Turk and Larkin, in the depths of the Tenderloin bordering on Civic Center. It was advertised as Cathedral Hill.

  6. cd (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

    Doesn’t it have to do with the concentration of Deco furniture and arts stores in that area? Not about a neighborhood, but more of a shopping area?

  7. Kathryn (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    You know, I realized after I looked more closely at a map that what I was calling Duboce Triangle is indeed the place that you guys are talking about and is NOT the Deco Ghetto. I got confused by my research. :)

    “Cathedral Hill” – love it!

  8. HL (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

    If anything, i would think the area where I work would be considered Deco Ghetto, which is basically where Protero Hill, SoMa and th Mission meet and where the SFDC is located.

  9. TinMan (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

    “Cathedral Hill” is a bit of stretch for Turk and Larkin, even if the Cathedral Hill Hotel is on Van Ness at Geary. The real estate guys did a nice job obfuscating the location.

  10. Jenn (unregistered) on April 6th, 2007 @ 9:50 am

    Ah, the many faces of SF! You are so right calling it “neighborhood-centric.” And oh how confusing it can be for us newcomers! When I first moved to the city, I (mistakenly) took up residence in Nob Hill — which, come to find out, was really LOWER Nob Hill. I learned later (from the transy-hookers that stood on the corner a block from my place) that there’s a very fine line between “Lower Nob Hill” and “The Tenderloin.” It was an experience to say the least.

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