TBT: Roaring ’20s 33-Stanyan


Does this look familiar to our 33-Stanyan (er, 33-Ashbury/18th) regulars?

Today, it’s the scene of unparalleled Muni operator skill — the Market-Clayton switchback is srsly no joke. These same streets back in the day, 1921 to be exact, weren’t easy to navigate for ye olde streetcars, either. But operators came up with a creative solution to a problematic switchback. More on the Market Street switchback at Mono, Caselli, and Clayton from FoundSF.org:

This sharp turn from Clayton to Market was not negotiable by early streetcars so operators would “switch” the backs of the passenger seats at Market Street, thereby “switching” the streetcar in the reverse direction.

Before, in 1925:

After, in 2010:

Photo: Michael Greene, San Francisco, CA

Thanks to reader Robert Holt for the tip.

More #TBT:
Ever heard of Muni’s 1-Sutter?
Awesome vintage video documents fight to save cable cars

Passengers boo poor behavior off their Muni ride


A few nights ago when I was sitting at Upcider on Polk, I saw two women wearing impossibly high heels making this poor 19-Polk Muni shelter into their own strip club. They were twerking and dancing at cars that drove by, using the Muni shelter structure as temporary poles. They attracted quite a few of the Marina-overflow crowd and then abruptly left their pop up strip joint about 15 minutes later.

This brings me to a story submitted to the Muni Diaries inbox by Kevin Mitchell. Kevin saw something similar escalate on his bus, and fellow bus riders had an interesting tactic to show their disapproval.

From Kevin:

I was on the 49 in lower Mission about six years ago. It was around 3 pm.

I was sitting in the back reading and I noticed some commotion.

In the middle of the day, in broad day light, a “lady of the night” (or possibly “lady boy of the night”) was very openly giving oral sex to a grossly intoxicated 5 foot nothing man, still holding his malt liquor high with a huge grin.

Now, this could end here, and be a story of disgust or possibly a musing on Puritanical values, a story of the depravity of man. But it actually became a moment of bonding between 20 or so strangers and me.

Collectively, without prompting, we just starting boo-ing.

“BOOOOOO!!! BOOOOO!!!” the whole bus joined in.

What could have been dark and scary now became something we could laugh at and dismiss.

We took the power away from the situation. We made a collective choice.


The two perpetuating the act stopped at starting laughing as well. They got off at the next stop.

We all clapped and cheered as they walked out.

Cheering, booing, or pointing and laughing (as storyteller Yayne Abeba describes in this week’s Muni Diaries podcast) — what’s your preferred way of communicating bus etiquette breach?

Massive power outage muddies Muni, BART commutes

muni power outage cgoodyjenks

A major power outage is shutting down the north side of the city today, forcing the closure of Montgomery Street station for about two hours until a generator was brought in. In the photo above by @cgoodyjenks, the 1-California buses were stalled waiting for the power to come back on. PG&E said via Twitter that crews are working on the issue and expects power to be restored to “most” customers by 1 p.m.

Curbed posted some haunting photos of Montgomery Station before the power was back on. Read more

Muni Diaries Live returns to the Elbo Room tomorrow


Our favorite night of the year is back tomorrow at the Elbo Room! We’re bringing back the Muni Haiku Battle after a hiatus (here are all our trophies from years past). The battle will pit current champion Baruch Porras-Hernandez against Irene Tu, who holds the title at the Dirty Haiku Battle at Tourettes Without Regrets.

You’ll also hear stories from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho, Bawdy Storytelling founder Dixie De La Tour, host of the I Don’t Even Own a Television podcast J. W. Friedman, and comedian and writer Na’amen Tilahun.

Our storytellers are ready with their only-in-SF tales. Advanced ticket sales just ended, but don’t despair, we will have some tickets at the door! Doors open at 6 p.m. See you tomorrow!

Graphic design by Craig Fowler.

BART’s very weird anti-creep PSAs

bart avoid creeps

Talking about creeps has landed BART in some hot water. In a tweet earlier this week, BART’s new PSA poster references a song by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke while advising riders on how to avoid creeps.

SFist called it “strangely tone-deaf” and that the ad implies “the responsibility lies with the victim to avoid disgusting or assaultive behavior, even though BART issued a longer statement denying that.”

Later, BART tweeted another PSA on how not to be a creep. But does saying “don’t be a creep” ever convince creeps to cease and desist? As a transit rider and occasional target, I think it’s sad we have to remind others to keep their hands to themselves.

May we suggest some additions like don’t light someone’s hair on fire and definitely don’t try to hump your fellow passengers, otherwise you might want to watch out for tasers?

When Women Couldn’t Hang on Cable Cars

cable car women sfmta photo archive

Did you know that there was a time, not so long ago, when women weren’t allowed to stand outside the cable car? According to the SFMTA blog, until 1965, women couldn’t stand on the running boards outside of the cable cars, which is the hallmark of riding these iconic vehicles.

The practice was changed after Mona Hutchins, a 19-year-old UC Berkeley student and free speech advocate, stood up and was arrested for refusing to yield an unwritten restriction that didn’t apply to men.

The photo above is from the SFMTA Photo Archive, taken in 1967 for the Cable Car Queen contest. It just so happened that today we found the delightful photo of a N-Judah driver proudly wearing her pink pussy hat, as captured by @rebeccafoxmetalsculpture on Instagram.

muni diaries n judah driver pussy hat by rebeccafoxmetalsculpture

Decades later, it’s good to see that some things have changed, and that there are still people fighting the good fight.

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

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