Where I Go: Atop San Francisco’s ‘Redwood Empire’

For Nearly 30 Years, I’ve Come to the City’s Highest Natural Point to Orient Myself

At 938 feet above sea level, Mount Davidson is the highest natural point in San Francisco. And for nearly 30 years, since I was a child, it has been my point of return.

I was born and raised here, in this peninsula of unceded Ohlone land developed into a golden imperial city—the redwood empire—that now holds brightly colored homes and skyscrapers amidst its dramatic hillsides.

Mount Davidson is the first place I would visit anytime I moved back from elsewhere—Washington, Malmö, Lahore. And it’s where I go when a million things are …

In The Kitchen | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In The Kitchen

So we’re remembering the years
in San Francisco, the apartment
on Gough followed by stays
at two nearby boardinghouses—
breakfast and supper and a double room
at the end of …

When ‘Codfish Fever’ Swept San Francisco  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When ‘Codfish Fever’ Swept San Francisco 

Hungry Gold Miners Craved the Salted Fish, and so a Ragtag Fleet Set Off for Alaska

An affliction jocularly known as “codfish fever” swept San Francisco in the late 1800s. Caught up in the craze, a number of enterprising young men set to sea in whatever …

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful

Vilified by Both Conservatives and Progressives, This Poor Little Rich City’s Problems Are Now National News

Dear San Francisco,

My heart breaks for you.

My eyes cry tsunamis when I think of you.

But I must stop weeping now, so I can summon the strength to offer …

When San Francisco Kicked Hollywood to the Curb

Angered by Negative Depictions of Their City, in the Early 1970s Civic Leaders Regulated Filmmakers Out of Town

Canada’s motion picture industry earned the nickname “Hollywood North” because the country so often serves as a center of location production for American films. But in the early 1970s, this …