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You’re A Real San Franciscan If…

Culled from the SF Chronicle

• You're a real San Franciscan if you oppose the SF 49ers moving to Santa Clara.

• Not bothered by naked people…A friend and I were in SOMA the same weekend as the last Folsom St. Festival. There was a group of guys near us that included a guy in short short leather shorts who was handcuffed and chained to another man's nipple. The shorts guy was also barefoot. My friend was astonished only that he was barefoot, the handcuffs and chains didn't bother her, just the idea that he was walking barefoot on the city streets.

• If you were born or now live in SF and love the City, you are a “true” San Franciscan in my book!

• You know you're a real San Franciscan if you…LOVE Yank Sing.

• On a date you Tweet what your girlfriend just ordered.

• If you can claim you saw Stan Getz fall off a bar stool at the Keystone Corner in North Beach.

• If you can remember when we had more than one jazz club in the city. (Wait? Do we have even one now?)

• You're only a real San Franciscan is you had relatives in the '06 earthquake and fire.

• If you can close your eyes and conjure up the image of Carol Doda's Hindenburgs.

• If you were driving a cab the night the Zodiac killer murdered Paul Stine at Washington and Cherry.

• The USO on Market. Old Seals Stadium at 16th and Bryant. The Woolworth's at Powell and Market. Playland, of course.

• You're a real San Franciscan if you can make distinctions between two different types of kale.

• When you see anything spelled 'Spreckles' you know it's misspelled; vaguely remember that there was an Arthur Murray dance studio upstairs from Zim's at Van Ness and Market; shopped at any of the HEADLINES stores that were here and there around town; know how to say “Happy New Year” in Cantonese; know where to get “Indian pizza” in case anyone ever wanted it; have a favorite mural or two around town.

• Born at the French Hospital, back when the French nurses were really French.

• White Front Stores; When they built the round Villa Roma Hotel at the foot of Columbus. Catching fish off Muni Pier and stinking up the bus coming home. Hearing Don Sherwood say “It's all over for you, my man!” Watching the off duty cops stagger out of Tipsy's, The Old Crow, Hockey Haven, Jackson's and The Lineup. Continental Chocolates and Fantasia Bakery. The Pie Shop at the beach. King Norman's TV show. Troop 39 and 111. Original Mel's drive-in. The veteran downtown on coasters with no legs and a tin cup. The Boy's Club on Page Street. Original Joe's. Follies Burlesque on 16th, and The Hub, The Fox, The Golden Gate and The Strand Theaters on Market Street.

• If you remember the Big Hunk candy bar factory next to the Mortuary on Market St across from SF Mint and Safeway.

• As Herb Caen once said — they wear dark glasses on foggy days to protect their eyes from the white shoes of the tourists.

• If you always badmouth Oakland to your out of town guests.

• Jumped on a freight train out of the yards at Geneva and Bayshore heading to Santa Barbara only to wind up in the Oakland yards 9 hours later! doh.

• Have commuted to work via the cable car (and the conductors would give you a 'free ride' for being local). Getting a hand-written thank-you note from Herb Caen after submitting an item. Just being able to sign your check at Sam's Grill and being able to settle at month's end. Unapologetically appreciate local treasures like the Tonga Room, Alcatraz, Top of the Mark and Beach Blanket Babylon.

• Had a relative work in The Cannery when it was a real Del Monte cannery or carry a gun on the Embarcadero when it was a real working waterfront and dangerous place (not a promenade) Know that Belvedere Island was used for drying codfish caught in Alaska.

• You know you're a real San Franciscan if you…wouldn't be caught dead doing any of these things: playing in a kickball league at Chrissy field. And pillow fighting ANYWHERE in public. Dressing head to toe in cyclist harlequin gear and espousing hatred of “hippies” into your iPhone…

• Let's play San Francisco trivia. If you're a REAL San Franciscan, you should be able to correctly answer at least 10 out of the 15 Name the city's 6 first-run movie houses of the '60s. What & where was the “International Settlement?” What & where is “Big Rec?” What streetcar would take you to Sutro Baths? What streetcars would take you to the “Big Dipper?” What used to be the property on which Davies Symphony Hall now stands? ; What was the name of the pro football team that 49ers supplanted in '46? Who or what were the “San Francisco Shamrocks? What streetcars would take you to Seals Stadium at 16th & Bryant? Who were Dan Sorkin & Al “Jazzbo” Collins? Which SF high school was Lowell's traditional rival in football? Where was the “Crystal Plunge” swimming pool and what is it now? What was the name of the famous SF Olympic star who used it as a training pool? Where was comedian Flip Wilson discovered and what was he doing at the time? You lose if you have to Google for help.

• If you remember Bob DiPietro?

• If you don't want to admit that you still have your magic key from Children's Fairyland in Oakland. (Oakland! the horror!)…if you have a close relative who walked across the Golden Gate Bridge on opening day; if you embrace the kind of “San Francisco Values” that make Nancy Pelosi such a target for the right-wing nutjobs. you know, crazy ideas like peace, pot and equality… oh those f'in hippies… and you know you're true to the Bay if you bristle every time someone calls SF “Frisco.” Frisco is in Texas. repeat. Frisco is in Texas. Big time political culture clash. just wrong. ugh. Learn your geography, people, even the farthest inland wastelands like Livermore and Antioch don't call SF “Frisco.”

• You know you're from San Francisco, when you call San Francisco “Frisco.” I DARE ANYONE to try to go to Hunters Point, overhear someone say Frisco, then call them on it. I dare you.

• Your grandfather hung out with Merv Morris (Mervyn's Department Store) at his original store on Market Street, and your grandfather owned a flower shop and stand at S.H. Kress Department Store.

• Remember Bill Russell and K.C. Jones owning March.

• And if you remember before Bill and K.C. the great Clarence Grider and Fred LaCouer, whose spelling I probably got wrong.

• If you are a true San Franciscan, of course you went to Fisherman's Wharf — before 1960. Who are these people??

• Watched the unsuspecting ladies in dresses walk through the front door, screaming as they struggled to keep them down from the air blast at the Fun House. Had 15¢ foot long hot dogs on Market Street. The Fillmore had kosher butcher shops, and Jewish ''we buy junk and sell antiques” stores. The Jack LaLanne Show and when Channel Two started. Moore's Cafeteria. Bierley's Orange Soda, the Diving Bell, the Ice Skating Rink at Ocean Beach, freezing at the Fleischaker Pool, Sutro Baths, watching the Cliff House burn down and drinking Foremost and Marin Dell milk.

• Ate at Dag Mary's. Went to the Farmer's Market — the real one off Alemany. Have a Croix de Candlestick pin.

• Remember when the Farmer's Market was downtown on Battery.

• Don't forget this one: Pulled the streetcar power contacts off the wires.

• Here are a few: Never visited Pier 39. Think Red's Java House serves good food. Went to restaurants on Broadway in the 70s. Looked forward to the Dog Show, Rodeo and Boat Show at the Cow Palace. Received care at Mary's Help; Shopped for everything in your neighborhood. Consider your neighborhood where you are from.

• Remember when the Warriors played at the Cow Palace. Sitting next to R.Crumb at the Chattanooga, but not at the same table.

• If you stand on a crowded MUNI train everyday for an ungodly amount of time to go a relatively short amount of distance to get to a job you're underpaid and over qualified for just so you can pay an inflated rate on a nice apt. in a great location… you have to love it, why else would you live here?

• You still can't believe that not every third person says, “Doses” on Haight Street anymore, and that people eat at sidewalk cafes on Divisidero and Fulton. Oh, and you miss Brother-in Laws Bar-b-que like a dead relative. That smell of burning oak at 11am every day. Must get half a chicken.

• You're a real San Franciscan if you were born in SF, went to local schools, and live and work in the city. All the “colorful” folks moved from elsewhere with crazy notions of what SF is all about. They then act out these fantasies after moving here. That's what gives SF the “colorful” reputation it has. In reality, natives are pretty reserved, hard working, family oriented, and generally open minded. With this background, true San Franciscans have gone on to do amazing things all over the world. Just Google the local high schools on Wikipedia and read about their alumni (OJ Simpson was an aberration). (But a great football player at Galileo.)

• Remember when there was only one Gap store (it was on Ocean Ave) and that it sold records as well as jeans.

• You're an old rad if you remember Robert Scheer at the register at City Lights.

• Have school pictures wearing a Derby. But the all time one that really clinches it is: “responds with the name of your high school when asked where you went to school.” That's got to be the most common feature of a true native or at least raised here.

• You know that the Bruce Mahoney Trophy is named after two individuals, and you know who Doc Erskine was.

• Wondered where uniformed San Francisco cops carried their guns (properly concealed under their dark blue serge button-down coats).

• Rode the wooden slide and was the last one on the spinning disk at Playland. Can ride the busses, cable cars and streetcars all the way around the City by the Bay from the Zoo to Sutro's bathhouse with one transfer, and used a kid's car ticket to get to school. Fell asleep in the Planetarium on that school trip. Had ice cream at Swensen's off Van Ness and David's Deli when visiting my dad downtown on Sutter. Saw R.C Owens catch an Alley Oop pass at Kezar. Went often to visit Monkey Island at the Zoo, and Penny (or was it Puddles) the Hippo when her tail would get the sh*t flying. Oh, my. Good times.

• Remembered the original Bud at Bud's Ice Cream at 24th and Dolores.

• You know you're a San Franciscan if you think you need a passport to visit San Mateo.

• If you read daily, the News, the Call, The Bulletin, the Examiner and the Chronicle.

• Never been to Alcatraz on a TOUR BOAT but on your own boat… To see Dennis Banks.

• Read Herb Caen first, before the news.

• Drove your car onto a ferryboat and drove it off in Richmond.

• If you still drive east down Broadway and by habit, exit where the Embarcadero freeway was. Know where the Fillmore West was. Used to hang out on the sidewalk at Winterland, drinking wine, smoking pot and waving to Jerry when he drove in through the stage door on Post Street. Or walking in SOMA when it was all old brick buildings with red lights in the halls and women would ask you for a “date”

• Had the large tuna sandwich with cheese at Freddie’s. Took unique great pix of the Bridgewalk 25 years ago. Lost part of your deposit to Angelo Sanjiacomo.

• Or know that the same drunk couple hanging out at the bus stop at 46th and Judah is the same couple that was hanging out there in '95

• If you still call “The Embarcadero” “The Embarcadero,” instead of Herb Caen Way. If you know who Herb Caen is. If you know how to get around Giants traffic at 7 o'clock on a Wednesday night game. If Candlestick Park, formerly know as “That which was once Monster Park after 3Com park at Candlestick point” is really just, “The 'Stick.” If you haven't taken a single picture off of Twin Peaks at night because you're too smart to go there at night because of the cold. If sourdough (not french bread, sorry Vlae) coupled with Molinari Salami is a food group, even if you can't spell Molinari. If you know where Diane Feinstein's house is, and driven past it to get into the Presidio. If you've ever seen the original Red at work at Red's Java house… If you know where all three cemeteries are inside San Francisco… the list goes on and on. This post rocks!

• Read Herb Caen's SF Chronicle writings for years and lived in Berkeley and one day walking by the Chronicle office south of Market, exchange friendly pedestrian greetings with Mr. Caen, as our paths crossed so briefly one spring afternoon.


  1. Mike Zelinsky January 13, 2018

    Re: Original “Bud’s” at 24th and Dolores

    It was at 24th and Castro.

  2. Penny Snipper January 10, 2018

    My 1st boyfriend worked at Bud’s. Pretty much, most of our dates were there.Used to go to work in Union Square from my home on Lombard and Columbus, on the cable cars. Loved then and now, Yank Sing.

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