January 16, 2020 By Andrea Widburg
In the 1970s, San Francisco, as was true for most major American cities, had gotten shabby. While tourists still flocked to the neighborhood directly north of Market Street, where they could find Union Square, fancy stores, and upscale hotels, those who crossed Market Street and headed south found themselves in a four-block-square area of squalor. There were always a handful of drunken men sleeping it off in the doorways of decrepit buildings, and the sidewalks stank of urine.
By the end of the 1970s, San Francisco began a massive plan to revitalize that area. It tore down the decayed buildings and, in their place, built the Moscone Conference Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Metreon theater and shopping center. It was all beautiful and inviting. People loved coming to trade shows and conferences in San Francisco, and families happily took their children to the museum, the garden, the skating rink, and the movie theaters.
Things aren't like that anymore. While it was once just the South of Market region that was icky because of a few sleeping (or rambunctious) drunks, some stinky pee, and some shabby buildings, tourists are discovering that San Francisco's entire downtown is inundated with hundreds of scary homeless people, mounds of fecal matter, thousands of discarded needles, and clusters of tents and shopping carts.
That the buildings still look nice is irrelevant. To get to them, one has to do the urban equivalent of walking across slippery stones spaced at far intervals in a slimy, alligator-filled swamp.....To Read More.....