555 Misson: Jonathan Borofsky Sculpture (www.SocketSite.com)
It’s a plugged-in tipster that first notes the Jonathan Borofsky sculpture being installed in the plaza of 555 Mission. And the status of 535 Mission two months ago: “The workers onsite are surveyors starting to put up the “grid lines” Should see dirt moving real soon.”
535 Mission: 8/14/08 (www.SocketSite.com)
Status today: said dirt has most definitely been moved.
A Virtual Tour Of 555 Mission Street (And Downtown San Francisco) [SocketSite]
535 Mission Update: Parking Lot Closed And About To Break Ground? [SocketSite]

44 thoughts on “A Jonathan Borofsky Rises At 555 Mission (And 535 Is On Its Way)”
  1. I agree it looks really cool. It’s not “beautiful” nor does it have to be. It fits in with the new financial district south of market, a 21st century digital mecca.

  2. This is appropriate art for the neighborhood…you can view it many ways, and it suggests many things – merely symbolizing the people on various levels working in a high rise, or people standing on the shoulders of others to acheive greater heights, or people stepping on others to get ahead. You be the judge.

  3. Why are there not more fountains in San Francisco? Not the trainwreck called Justin Herman, but this city has a fountain deficit compared to other towns. A lot of this type of art becomes dated within a decade, but trees and water only get better with age when used in a sophisticated design. We compare ourselves to other “world class” urban areas, but are still way behind in creating the kind of iconic public spaces other cities are known for.

  4. seems like you could easily turn this into a fountain.
    FWIW: Kansas City is known as the “Fountain City” and to my knowledge has more fountains (per capita? per city?) than any other city. not sure that SF wants to be the next KC… but KC is a nice place with GREAT food (barbecue, cajun, southern, etc).
    I kind of like this statue, although it is a little 1980’s. It reminds me of playing Dig-Dug when I was a kid. I do like the color and it is different.

  5. Fountains waste water and energy I’d rather have a sculpture. Fountains are not always great. That disgusting thing in herman plaza needs torn down IMMEDIATELY or will the NIMBYs pout again?? P. S. with SF’s dated skyline I don’t think anything other than “80s” would fit in here.

  6. The sculpture is a metaphor for the SF housing market, people standing on other people’s heads to elevate themselves.

  7. I thought it was pretty clear why we don’t have fountains – maintenance costs.
    Until the homeless problem is solved, most fountains are magnet for homeless bathing, etc. Tagging is also a problem for any fountain not in a high-traffic area, like the fountain in Sydney G. Walton Square. Pigeons are also a problem – witness the neverending battle at Yerba Buena Gardens between the fountain and pigeons.
    There was a nice fountain in the public open space adjacent to 100 Mission but the last time I was there a month ago it was turned off.
    My favorite fountain is the smaller fountain at Yerba Buena that faces SFMoMA. The setting is bucolic and relaxing.

  8. What about the Levis Plaza fountains? Those are fantastic. How do they keep the homeless away from those gardens?

  9. SF – your comment came in while I was writing my first one.
    I believe there is a California law that prevents artwork from being destroyed without consent of the artist. That law is one reason the UN Plaza Fountain was not ripped out and I imagine supporters of Québec libre ! (locally known as the “Vaillancourt Fountain”) would make a similar argument.
    I happen to like the Vaillancourt Fountain – and am sad one of the major pumps was not turned on when the fountain was restarted after the power crisis of 2000.

  10. curious – the fountains at Levi’s Plaza and Yerba Buena have private security 24/7.
    Levi’s Plaza is actually a 100% private park and they have been known to ask photographers to leave. I don’t spend much time there because of that. =(

  11. Given the cost of energy and the fact that we’re in a drought, I’m not surprised a fountain wasn’t installed. Across the street from the aforementioned plaza is a beautiful public area in front of the JP Morgan building, which has grass and a low-energy water garden as well. I love the sculpture – think it signifies the diversity of the community and the colors really stand out to brighten someone’s day.

  12. FWIW there will be three additional sculptures by Ugo Rondinone installed at 555 Mission. The plaza will be quite a sculpture garden.

  13. We compare ourselves to other “world class” urban areas, but are still way behind in creating the kind of iconic public spaces other cities are known for.
    Yeah, we could definitely do better here. We actually have people who use public space, so that puts us ahead of most of the US, but just about every European city and most Latin American cities have better squares, courtyards and parks.
    The waterfront behind the Ferry building, Washington Square Park, Sharon Meadow, Dolores Park and maybe Chrissy Field are about it. While these aren’t too bad, they can’t compare to places like the Spanish Steps in Rome or the huge pedestrian mall around Plaza de Armas in Guadalajara.
    To really make these kinds of places were people want to linger, you need to either keep cars out or marginalize them and we just don’t have the political will to do it here.

  14. What about Civic Center? This is one of the best, friendliest public spaces in the country, because it is not surrounded by huge boxes but by low lying, welcoming classical architecture and large spread out meadows. There is also Rincon Park, with its only in San Francisco waterfront picturesque views of the bridge and the cool breezes coming off the bay. Golden Gate Park is also the largest man made park in the WORLD. On top of Huntington Park you have a 360° view from the top of Nob Hill that spans from the bay to the bridge, unlike any other I’ve seen in the world. We also are blessed with miles of beach front sand, where other coastal cities have sharp cliffs. We also have a freakin’ FOREST in the middle of our city (Mt. Sutro Forest) with water falls and a setting that you can not get in any other large city. I could name more. Best outdoor city EVER!

  15. If I had one wish for San Francisco, it would be that Market Street be more like Paseo de La Reforma in Mexico City. Each intersection is a monument, small park, statue, or fountain. The whole drive is an urban showcase, with outer slow speed boulevards and large walking surfaces away from the faster noisy traffic in the center. It is based on Champs Elysees but much more grand. Like Market, a subway runs underneath, and how is it Mexico City does not have a problem with homeless people in their fountains?
    SF, do you work for the chamber of commerce or SFGov Tourism Office?

  16. Most intersections on Market do have statues or fountains. Lotta Fountain, as well as the large statues at intersections closer to Embarcadero in the financial district. There is also the large statue at Market and Dolores. I do not work for anybody (unlike you) but myself, I am just here to stop misinformation by SF haters who come here from other cities to bash us. I have pride in myself and my city, that’s all, and the Nimbys and haters will be proven ignorant again and again and again.

  17. And I get accused of boosterism. You are right though, if you pay attention for a while, you realize the people that the people who are the most consistently negative about San Francisco are the ones with the least authority on the topic. Most of them live in Marin, or East Bay or Chicago (!) and yet hold themselves up as authoritative on topics like the city planning process, homelessness and Muni.
    As far as I can tell, most of them are just recycling what they read in The Comical, mostly from CW Nevius’ column. That guy is their poster child: a sports writer who lives in Walnut Creek, he somehow got pressed into service on The City Beat. He does things like spending an hour or two in the Loin and then pens shocking exposes on the fact that their are people dealing drugs there.
    But that is no excuse to go overboard the other direction either. Surely there has got to be at least one thing or two that San Francisco is less than perfect on, right?

  18. So do you two “civic boosters” think Market Street is really that great? Would you drive your friends from Prague or Paris or even Chicago down Market and feel that it is worthy of being the main street of this city. You both don’t get it. San Francisco is fantastic, but it is a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng way from being the perfect city you both pretend it is.
    Here is a thought. I was born here, how about you two? BUT, I have lived in other areas as well. I have owned a vacation home in Laguna Beach, and now one in Palm Desert. I did Grad School in Chicago (Northwestern), and worked five years in London. And guess what?! Nobody in L.A., Chicago or London went on and on and on about how perfect their cities were. They loved to bitch about the smog, traffic, prices etc. but I guess in San Francisco , we are to close our eyes to the problem, and pay to live in the “Greatest Place on Earth”. I OWN in the Marina, one block from the Green, and I will admit that I feel my little hood is the best thing this side of Hualalai. (A place you should check out also)

  19. You are obviously not paying much attention to what I am saying because I just said a few posts up that San Francisco needed better public spaces. If I had out of town visitors, I wouldn’t drive them anywhere, least of all down Market Street, but I would take them for a ride on our much maligned Muni and walk with them around just about any neighborhood in town. Heck, I might even walk them around the Tenderloin if they wanted to go to The O’Farrell Theatre or eat some good Vietnamese food.
    As I have said before, every city in America has poverty and a skid row, SF is just unusual in the fact that it is right in the middle of things. I suspect that a lot of it has to do with all the tourists who come for the sex trade and the need for a red light district next to the tourist district to accommodate that. I wish we could clean it up a bit and make it more like Amsterdam’s red light district though.

  20. Never said it was perfect. Just pointing out the inconsistencies of previous statements. I would say Market street is beautiful from Embarcadero to Powell street, and the further west you go it is very decrepit and embarrassing. Somebody mentioned “most European or Latin American squares have better plazas and parks” and I was just pointing out our beautiful parks that most of you don’t go to. Go out and explore them, and yes this city needs a lot of work, and I’m there to help it along the way. I wouldn’t put up with all of the problems if I didn’t feel this city worth saving and improving. I guess I’m just a doer instead of a complainer.

  21. Justin.. it seems your post is to point out your egocentricities and nothing more. “I have vacation homes” “I OWN” in capital letters. “I” was born here. “I” have traveled to London and Paris. I’m sure you’ve traveled to less desirable places you could have mentioned, but you are just name dropping. The reason the city is falling apart is “natives” (are you native American??) like you who let it happen, sad!

  22. NVJ- Don’t Forget our San Francisco architecture critic, who lives in a gated community in Danville. He doesn’t have to live here and be around the terrible architecture he pushes and influences. (Though SOME of his writing can be very cosmopolitan and sophisticated with good taste)

  23. Sorry, only one vacation home. (“owned in Laguna”) And you are right, I had to name drop, because if anyone dares to say anything negative about dear old San Francisco, you jump all over them, saying they don’t live here, they are jealous, etc.
    Well guess what, the hardest critics are those thay have been here a long time. Herb Caen could really get nasty when he started writing about the trash in the streets and homeless problem.
    SF, here is something for you to ponder.
    PERHAPS, those who are most critical LOVE this city the most? I want this city to be so great that nobody would even dare to compare it to Chicago. This city was known at one time as an urban showplace. Look at the generation that built city hall, a building way larger and grander than a small city would usually build. What my great grandparents generation wanted was a city so amazing, that it could only be compared to the greatest cities in the world. Let’s roll up our sleeves and try to start fixing the problems, IF you are willing to admit there are problems.
    And you are right again, I have travelled to less desirable places, but I choose to compare San Francisco only to the best.

  24. Yes there are problems, but are any of the things I previously gloat about anything you consider “problems”? I have been on this site numerous times talking about our “problems,” but everything I mention something I love about this city I get personally attacked and ganged upon. Somebody says something nice and everybody goes absolutely nuts and then they start going off on their own tangents and personal tirades etc. etc. It’s quite lame. Ok I’ll play your game, the GG Bridge is disgusting, SF is a pit full of homos that will fall into the ocean during the next quake because of all of our sin.

  25. A conversation about making Market Street better with more pubic art, plazas and fountains gets you that upset? SF, how long have you lived here? Pointing out areas of change should not cause such anger. Such civic fantaticism reminds me of extreme religious people, it is all Black or White , with no shades of grey. Relax, it is only a city, not Divinity itself. Talking about change is not a “game”, it’s what people do who can see the good and bad in a situation, and not blindly follow the some fanatical civic pride.

  26. to sf: part of the reason why people jumped down your throat is that you said things like “Just pointing out the inconsistencies of previous statements” but then made quite the (IMO superlative) claims!
    to sum up my point before the longwinded post: I wouldn’t say that SF has the “best” of something in most categories, instead it has good or very good offerings in most categories. SO where SF shines is that it has a little bit for everybody. So Portland has “the best” intra-city forest. DC has “the best” squares. NYC has the best urban environment, LA or Miami have the best beaches… and so on. But SF has good offerings of all of those things. So when you add it all up SF stacks up well.
    (FWIW: I think SF has “the best bridge” and “the best gay environment” and “the best city hall” and “the best Chinese community” and “the best surrouning 200 miles or so” and there’s probably a few other “bests” too)
    So Forest Park (St. Louis) and Central Park (manhattan) are “better” than GG park in SF, but neither has the ocean or the hills as example. Forest Park (Portland) is far better than any “forest” that SF has, but Portland isn’t as vibrant as SF. DC has by far the best squares and promenades and malls in our country (duh!) but it lacks other things.
    as for parks.
    Similar parks to GG park (1017 acres) would be Forest Park in St Louis (1293 acres) Central park in Manhattan is 843 acres. Grant Park (Chicago) is only 319 acres. (I include Grant and Central Parks as they’re the 2 most visited urban parks in our country).
    This claim is silly: “We also have a freakin’ FOREST in the middle of our city (Mt. Sutro Forest) with water falls and a setting that you can not get in any other large city”
    perhaps it’s your definition of “large city” but several cities have forests held within the city itself. Probably the best I’ve seen: Portland Oregon (but maybe you didn’t consider them a large city?) Portland has a real forest, not like Mt. Sutro Forest. (and portland’s forest park is over 5000 acres, 5 x as big as GG park).
    Other intra city forests/arboretums (sp?) or GG analogues would be Forest Park (Portland), Chain of Lakes/Theo Wirth/Hidden Falls Regional Park (Minneapolis), Forest Park (St Louis), Central Park (Manhattan), US National Arboretum (DC), Washington Park (Seattle), Balboa Park (San Diego), City Park (Denver). Pioneer Park (Atlanta) to name but a few (there are many more I”ve forgotten).
    Some of those parks are better than GG Park, others worse. Others aren’t better or worse, just different. (of note, Minneapolis’ forest has a waterfall as well, also right in the city… called Minnehaha falls).
    I like much of SF’s outdoor space. Like GG park and Lincoln Park (I personally like Lincoln park much better). SF has some cute squares around town as well. And someone brought up the fact that many of the best views in the city (top of hills) have a small park on them (like Buena Vista park, Coit Tower, etc). that is a huge plus.
    not sure why people bring up Market St. Market St. is for the most part a utilitarian street outside of Embarcadero itself and the cable car stops at Powell and California, nothing wrong with that. the focus of SF isn’t Market st, is it?
    Civic center plaza is ok. it had the potential to be really nice but all the streets and parking get in the way. It would have also been nice to have a “mall” but i guess it wasn’t possible given the previous buildings/density of city etc…
    City Hall on the other hand is AMAZING, one of the best domes in the country IMO. The gold on black is intriguing and different and just jumps out at you. I love standing on the grass in front of City Hall and looking at City Hall. I would put SF’s City Hall as #1 City Hall in the country and even #1 Dome (even more than DC’s domes).
    so overall, I don’t think of SF has having the “best” in most categories… rather it has “very good” in LOTS of categories. And this is what makes it so special. very few places have “very good” in LOTS of categories.

  27. I never said SF was best at everything. GG park is still the largest in the world and is way prettier and more diverse than Central park. Best park in the country hands down. And you are wrong the gay scene here is worse than all of the top cities in the country. Have you even been to Castro?

  28. sf: the gay “scene” is not that great in SF. But I said “best gay environment” not “scene”. Few (if any) cities around the world rival SF’s gay environment. the thing that makes SF’s gay environment so nice is that gays and lesbians can live and be anywhere in the city. many of the best “scene” cities have great bars and clubs, but the overall environment is not as hospitable to gays.
    and many of the best gay cities do not have good gay scenes as the gays simply meld into everyday life. so you go to a club, not a gay club. you go to a restaurant, not a gay restaurant. and so on.
    you keep saying “GG park is the largest in the world” but are you restricting it only to parks that were formerly sandy and now are parks? because I already gave you 2 examples of bigger in-city parks (Forest Park in St. Louis and Forest Park in Portland). what is so great about GG park? it’s very nice, I do like it indeed… but what makes it better than Central Park? I’m just curious to know.
    also: depending on if you count them: Paris has 2 intra-city parks that are bigger as well, the bois de vincennes and the bois de boulogne. each is 2-3x larger than GG park.

  29. The gay environment is great if you have HIV or syphyllis and you need good healthcare. THe city is great for that. But the healthy ones don’t find the “environment” so great (IMO). Near 50% of the gay population here has a life threatening STD. It’s really very depressing. Other than that, the tolerance and the gay equality laws are unparalleled from across the country, except for Massachusettes. GG Park is the largest MAN MADE park which I emphasized before (READ) this is well documented. What makes GG Park better than Central is that it is a true Oasis, in Central Park mostly you feel like you are still stuck in a big city. GG Park lets out at the Pacific Ocean with low lying homes and the flora and fauna are what makes it spectacular, the native wildflowers, palm trees, ferns, waterfalls, turtles, ducks, the conservatory of flowers, these just can’t be found on the east coast. Central park has nice little wooden bridges though.

  30. also:
    you will be interested to know that GG Park isn’t even the largest urban park IN SAN FRANCISCO. The Presidio is larger.
    Also: GG park can’t be the largest manmade park because at least one other is larger. Van Cortland Park in NYC (I’ve never been there and never heard of it) is the 3rd largest park in NYC metro per it’s website, and has many manmade elements including a lake. it is larger than GG Park.
    Here is a PARTIAL list of North American Urban Parks. There are likely more that I have missed.
    the source is a blog, but I went through and verified the numbers by going to the municipal sites, and if they did not give the number of acres then using Wikipedia.
    GG Park isn’t even the largest urban park in SF, much less THE WORLD.
    South Mountain Preserve (Phoenix AZ) – 16,283
    Rouge Valley Park (Markham ON) – 11,600
    Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge (New York City NY) 9,155
    Fairmount Park (Philadelphia PA) – 8,900
    Forest Park (Portland OR) – 5,090
    Mission Bay Park (San Diego CA) – 4,235
    Griffith Park (Los Angeles CA) – 4,107
    Nose Hill Park (Calgary AB) – 2,785 acres
    Wascana Centre (Regina SK) – 2,325
    Rockwood Park (Saint John, NB) – 2,200 acres
    Chapultepec Park (Mexico City) – 2,100
    Oldman River parks system (Lethbridge AB) – 1,865
    Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC) 1,754
    City Park (New Orleans LA) – 1,500
    Presidio (San Francisco CA) 1,480
    Canyon Lakes Project (Lubbock TX) – 1,450
    Wilderness Park in (Lincoln NE) – 1,450 acres
    Forest Park (St. Louis MO) – 1,370
    Bays Mountain Park (Kingsport TN) – 1,300
    Lincoln Park (Chicago IL) 1,208
    Great Kills (New York City NY) – 1,200
    Balboa Park (San Diego CA) 1,158
    Van Cortlandt Park (New York City NY) 1,146
    Golden Gate Park (San Francisco CA) 1,013
    Stanley Park (Vancouver BC) – 1,000
    Now again, it is hard to compare many of these parks. How do you compare the South Mountain Preserve in Phoenix to GG Park? You can’t.
    some of these parks are really more like green areas of the city that house museums and zoos etc (like GG Park, balboa park in SD, Forest Park St. Louis, Central Park etc). they have roads and buildings and zoos and museums and tennis courts, etc…
    Others are more like wilderness in the middle of a metro area, like South Mtn Preserve Phoenix or Forest Park Portland or the wildlife preserve in NYC
    Random thoughts:
    -I personally “don’t count” Mission Bay Park because I think that number includes the water (it might not… but I used to live by it and I’m surprised it’s so big) And Mission Bay Park SUCKS.
    -I’ve never been to the wildlife preserve in NYC and I’m not sure if those 9000 acres includes water. probably includes wetlands???
    -Fairmont Park in Philly is big, but it’s actually 63 parks. I’m not sure how much of those 8900 acres are CONTINUOUS (a lot of them are, but not sure about all of them). the govt considers Fairmont park 1 park though, but it’s made up of 63 parks. (maybe they’re all connected?)
    -Forest park Portland is far bigger than GG park and is the real deal.
    -Rock Creek Park in DC is also clearly bigger than GG park. It extends over 12 MILES. Rock creek park is one of the few parks in the country that was formed by NATURE. (per the govt’s website)
    -I didn’t know this (and didn’t want to bring chicago into the argument), but Lincoln Park Chicago is also larger than GG Park.

  31. sf:
    I see, you were restricting your argument to “man made” parks. It’s hard to know what “man made” means. How much terraforming is considered “manmade”?
    Look at some of those parks and then see if you still agree with your last post. many of those other parks have significantly more “oasis” to them than does GG park. Van Cortland Park as example has hundreds and hundreds of acres of forests. (and part of it is manmade)
    Like I said, I think GG park is great. It’s why I moved to inner sunset. I played ultimate in Sharon Meadow every weekend for years (or tried to). I like other parks better for personal reasons. I bike, and GG park isn’t great for that (too much traffic and no good bike lanes) and I play ultimate (and they’re constantly chasing you off the grass in GG park).
    but is GG “better” than these other parks? I guess it could be argued. I have nothing against it myself. but to claim that no other city has that kind of greenery is just silly IMO.
    I simply think some of your statements were misleading (like no other city has a forest inside of it, or a waterfall)

  32. A man made park is something that is made by huMANs from the ground up. GG is a true man made park, nothing but sand dunes before and none of that is there anymore. I’m curious as to where the “ex-SFer” lives now.

  33. we split time between Minneapolis (Lake Harriet) and Chicago (Lincoln Park)
    you may now commence with the “it’s cold there” arguments. I know. it’s freezing here in winter, and I hate temperatures below 60. both cities are stunningly beautiful. They also both have their own very large issues. I cried when I left SF and thought I’d hate the midwest. Now I would never leave except the winter. Actually the winter is the only major thing I dislike. We are debating giving up Chicago, and living part time Mpls and part time somewhere else (SF is a strong contender depending on jobs picture but there are other strong contenders as well)
    In terms of “green” Minneapolis has tons and tons of parks. But they’re not set up like in Chicago or SF… they’re spread around but all connected. (they go from park to lake to lake to park to creek to Mississippi River, etc). I just rode my bike 40 miles today surrounded by green, most of it (maybe 80%-90?) on dedicated bike paths (no cars). (there are hundreds of miles of bike trails around me that wind through forests and the Mississippi River and the Urban area itself). SF can never approach the ‘greenness’ of Mpls due to density issues… SF is just more urban that’s all…
    I love Mpls, but Mpls is not a superstar city and I doubt it strives to be one (midwesterners tend to be very modest and underemotional). it’s very liveable though, and I will be sad when my time here is up… which was a surprise since I had to look it up on a map when I moved here.
    I like Mpls just as much as Chicago just as much as SF. They are different scales. Mpls is a great mid sized metro area (3M), SF is a great larger sized metro area (7M), and Chicago is a great oversized metro area (10M)
    and before you get into the midwest stereotypes, please remember that Mpls/Chicago are in the midwest, but are very different than rural midwest. Just like SF is in Ca, but is very different than Bakersfield.

  34. Ouch !!! I’m sorry. You need to spend time fixing your own cities then. And do something about that large overgrown lawn and jelly bean turd they call “Millennium Park.”

  35. FWIW:
    Things I hate about Chicago/Mpls:
    1) snow
    2) snow
    3) snow
    4) snow
    5) heck, the first 5,000 are all snow
    5001: no mountains
    5002: no ocean
    5003: People honk their horns too much in Chicago
    5004: Chicago doesn’t have enough dedicated bike lanes
    5005: Chicago Mayor is a dictator
    5006: Too much displacement of poor people to make room for luxury condos especially in the South Loop
    5007: the ugliness of the “El”
    5008: the lack of train service to my neighborhood because the NIMBY’s won’t allow an EL near the water
    5009: why isn’t the EL underground?
    5010: the immense amount of sprawl once you get near the fringe fo the city
    5011: Ohare.
    5012: Midway
    5013: the fact that the nice neighborhoods (like mine) benefit SO MUCH and the not so nice poor neighborhoods are SO AWFUL. and this imbalance is worsening. SO we pour tons of $$$ into Millenium Park for the tourists, and then let the area just south of the South Loop deteriorate.
    5014: TOLL ROADS
    5015: Chicago is still too segregated for me (due to economics mainly but still)
    5016: Chicago is TOO BUSY sometimes.
    5017: Chicago’s nicest restaurants are FAR TOO EXPENSIVE
    5018: you cannot get hashbrowns in Chicago. There are these horrible boiled potato things that Chicagoans call Hashbrowns
    5019: water pollution in the River.
    5001: too white. That said it’s changing rapidly
    5002: people are so stoic. VERY hard to ‘break in’. once you do break in they’re phenomenal friends, but it can take years to break that scandinavian crust
    5003: “Minnesota Nice” (passive aggressive)
    5004: I wish it were just a bit more people/denser
    5005: public transportation is a catastrophe
    5006: the fact that the city is split into Mpls and St Paul. it unnecessarily spreads it out
    5007: I cannot find good indian food here. I can find good food in almost every other ethnicity, but not Indian
    5008: need for a car
    5009: the sprawl once you leave mpls or st paul (but then again that’s part of why I have hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes)
    5010: the lack of any “smart growth” plan
    5011: the lack of really really awesome things within a 1-2 hour drive. (there are great things 3-5 hours, but not 1-2).
    5012: sometimes it is TOO HOT and TOO HUMID here. (not often,but it can happen)
    5013: mosquitos (although we have a mosquito magnet so never get bitten anymore, in our yard anyway)
    there are many more things I dislike… these are the first things off the top of my head. doesn’t mean I’m a ‘hater’ it just means that I recognize everything has pros and cons

  36. Ouch !!! I’m sorry. You need to spend time fixing your own cities then. And do something about that large overgrown lawn and jelly bean turd they call “Millennium Park.”
    wow so witty. and it wasn’t like we were all waiting for your comeback the moment you asked where I live. it doesn’t negate the fact that many (most?) urban areas have very nice green zones within those urban spaces, that easily compete with if not out do GG Park, despite your initial claims.
    and who said I am not trying to fix my cities?

  37. I love Chicago. But the funny thing about Chicago is that it gets a pass from the whole world for half of the city totally sucking.

  38. fluj. agreed.
    I think a lot of the reason for this is because few people outside of South-Chicago residents see that part of the metro area. how many tourists go south of Soldier Field? heck, I have only gone south of Soldier Field a handful of times over the years.
    the problems (part of my ‘what’s wrong with chicago’ list above) are well known to chicagoans, but not well known to outsiders. and we b*tch about it constantly.
    it’s similar to how very few outsiders have ever heard of Bayview or the city of Richmond or their inherent problems, because the tourists stick to the north half of the city, Marin, Napa/Sonoma, and Monterey.
    So Chicago gets more of a “pass” than SF because in SF you see the grittiness of the city (homeless, mentally ill, porn shops, etc) right in the tourist areas. In chicago it’s segregated. nice touristy areas here, gritty city over there.
    UNFORTUNATELY Chicago is cleaning up rapidly. I say unfortunately because it’s happening simply by pushing poor people further and further south.
    As example, a few miles from me is Cabrini Green. Once a very dangerous neighborhood (possibly the worst) it housed 15,000 people in horrible tenement conditions. Almost all of that has been razed, and it’s becoming mixed use. however, a lot of it is becoming higher end. Near here is where Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel and stores like that are now.
    some of the old residents will stay (maybe 2000) but most have been pushed south or to the suburbs (Gary Indina, Danville IL).
    this is happening even more in the South Loop neighborhood. once an area near to downtown with affordable housing (yes, and crime) it is now home to highrise after highrise. it just pushes the poor further south. (similar to how SF’s poor have simply been pushed to Oakland/Richmond)
    Chicago has a FEEBLE attempt IMO to have more mixed income developments, but they are few and far between the luxury towers.

  39. It’s the new migration of upper middle class young professionals. They are moving to the central city areas and leaving the suburbs they grew up in. The fact that so many Google employees are willing to commute so far so they can say they live in San Francisco is a perfect example of this trend. In times past, people would take long commutes home and shed their city clothes for suburban outfits reflecting the persuits of the leisure class (golf, tennis, etc.) NOW, when the Googles depod from their busses, they shed their work outfits for hipster uniforms and pretend they really don’t make low six figure incomes. They would not be caught dead on a golf course, shopping mall, or tennis club.
    As for Chicago, there was a period when NOBODY wanted to live downtown, and now it is where all the billionaires live, as they flee their suburban estates. Sam Zell, Ken Griffin, and the Pritzker family buying a mansion in the Gold Coast are all examples of this trend in Chicago. I am not sure where this leaves Pheonix, Houston, or Atlanta, but for established urban areas the future is to buy as close to the center as possible.

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