Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mount Pleasant West: The Mission and Clarion Alley

After my first visit to the Bay Area in high school, I fell in love with San Francisco, Berkley and the little bit of Oakland I saw. On a recent visit I spent most of my time hanging around the Mission in SF and pretty much living as a local (who ate every meal out and had soy lattes a couple of times per day).  I even looked for the 42 bus (doesn't exist) and the 43 bus (does, but I didn't ride it). 

The Mission neighborhood is very much like Mount Pleasant, with higher density and more restaurants, coffee shops, vintage stores and used book shops.  We could aspire to be it in a few years.  Like Mount P, it has several important and busy traffic thoroughfares and is adjacent to other busy neighborhoods (Castro, Noe Valley).  There are hardly any chain stores (off the main strip anyway) and coffee shops dominate the landscape (not the case here).  Wonderful  neighborhood.

Another great part of the Mission and SF in general is the public art, specifically murals.  We have public murals in DC and some not so public ones.  There are the WPA murals inside government buildings, outside murals to prominent Americans, and murals used to teach about murals.  Clarion Alley is in the Mission and is literally an alley connecting Valencia and Mission Streets.  Over the years, talented SF artists have filled its walls, fences and doors with mini murals. Some are political, some are spiritual and some are fantasy. Is there a DC version of Clarion Alley?  I know of murals-graffiti in alleys, but not in such a concentration. Here's a taste of Clarion Alley: