Steve sent us this dispatch from the M at midnight, when many of San Francisco’s creatures have gone to sleep—but not all of them.
Midnight. The platform at Powell Street is deserted except for a few derelicts and drunks. I jump on a M train outbound and take a seat near the front of the empty first car. At the next stop, Van Ness, an enormous man with a linebacker’s build and a shaved head boards. The sleeves of his grey sweatshirt are cut off to accommodate the rippling muscles of his arms that clutch plastic bags stuffed with water bottles, old clothes, newspapers and blankets. His eyes scan the rows of empty seats. Without a word, he sits beside me, his bags press against my face.The train rocks into motion, he pulls out a yellow plastic walkie-talkie, the kind sold years ago in toy stores. Into the mouthpiece, he grunts, squeals, snorts and shouts gibberish. I lean forward and peer around the overflowing bags into eyes that are dark and intense. I raise my hand slowly in an effort to catch his attention. He shifts his gaze in my direction, but does not acknowledge me.At Civic Center, I rise, push past the bags and exit the car. I walk quickly down the platform, step into the second car as the trains exits the station. Relieved to have escaped, I sink into a vacant seat.‘Begone, Satan!’I turn and see the car’s only other passenger in the next seat. He’s shriveled, hunched over with wild neon eyes, a mass of tangled hair and a wizened, tattooed face. He forms a cross with his forefingers, thrusts it at me and snarls, ‘I curse you, Spawn of Evil.’I jump up, run down the aisle and, returning to the first car, retake my seat beside the big man, He holds the walk-talkie to his lips and rambles on in his secret language. There is much to report from Planet San Francisco.
Sometimes, taking a seat next to the guy with all the bags and the toy-store walkie-talkie is the right choice after all.
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Photo by cbcastro on Flickr
Have we reached Peak Cute on Muni, or what? This fella got himself (has to be for him) a Hello Kitty drum kit, said “screw it,” got on a crowded M-Ocean View at night, and proceeded to rule the universe.
He joins an elite group of people with musical instruments on Muni. To whit:
h/t Muni rider @jessieestellabrickley
Remember when the news about the Board of Supervisors passing the Subway Master Plan broke? That … that was awesome.
Now, on the heels of that news, the always-handy Muniverse digs into four projects already at least in the study phase that the SMP will affect now that it has been passed.
By far, the biggest project (for the region) will be a Second Transbay BART Tube and a new line through San Francisco. BART is still in the early stages of planning, but there’s one particular corridor that seems to be gaining traction and included in presentations. Under this setup, the second Transbay Tube would cross the bay from Alameda to San Francisco, landing around AT&T park and running under Second or Third to Market Street.
Other systems/projects that will benefit from the new plan are: the Caltrain/High-Speed Rail, an M-Ocean View/Park Merced extension and maybe-subway, and the T-Third/Central Subway extension to Fisherman’s Wharf. Read the rest of Muniverse’s post about the Subway Master Plan for more details.
Image by Muniverse/Jamison Wieser
If you’re a transplant, do you remember what defined your San Francisco experience? Muni rider Jesse James moved to San Francisco from smalltown Thousand Oaks to attend SF State, sight unseen. And the Powell Street Muni Station and the M-Ocean View line were the settings of his defining urban moment.
“I had a family connection to a little Italian restaurant downtown called Buca di Beppo. I quickly obtained a host job and my life consisted of me going to school during the day, boarding the M train, taking the M to the Powell Street station. There was nothing more beautiful to me at that point than coming up the escalator at the Powell Street Station, and the Virgin Records megastore was glimmering in the summer sun. It was just such a symbol of darling urban life in the most suburban lens of urban life. Read more
Photo via SF Citizen
Word is that Mayor Ed Lee actually rode Muni yesterday, and nobody got a photo. Don’t get excited: He wasn’t actually trying to get from point A to point B like the rest of us. It was more of a publicity stunt for the mayor’s transportation bond campaign. The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board rode the Muni with the mayor, according to SFGate:
Mayor Ed Lee, who is trying to raise $1 million in campaign cash to push his $500 million transportation bond over the finish line in the Nov. 4 election, got a firsthand taste of Muni’s problems on Tuesday morning.
Lee, who lives in Glen Park, took the M-Ocean View train downtown before a meeting with The Chronicle’s editorial board, and no, he didn’t get a seat.
Well, at least this time the mayor won’t get a ticket by parking in the Muni zone! Unfortunately riders didn’t snap a photo of him (unless you did, in which case, send it our way!). We never saw former Mayor Gavin Newsom on the bus ourselves, but SF Citizen snapped a photo of him on Muni, sitting in the elderly/handicapped seating (insert joke here).
No bigs, you guys. Just the Biebs playing Candy Crush on a Muni Metro train.
Other celebrity lookalikes you’ve sent along to us:
Muni rider Jessica passed along this Justin Bieber sighting: “I found Justin Bieber on an M at #Powell. I thought he was on probation?”