Do you love San Francisco too? We’re renting out our house for a month this summer . . .

Here are a few things I love about this city, inspired during a recent trip through Civic Center /  UN Plaza.

 I, Sailko [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Fountain at United Nations Plaza, designed by Lawrence Halprin. Photo: I, Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons

The F line. It’s a special treat when I have reason to go up Market Street, because I love the streetcars on this line, which are restored trolleys (often antique) from all over the world, including Milan, Mexico City, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Zurich. If you’re really lucky, or fanatical enough to check the schedule and hold out for No. 952, you can ride a streetcar named Desire.

Buskers. There appear to be no rules governing buskers in the streets, squares, and stations of the city, as I am reminded every time my trip through the Civic Center BART station coincides with the shift of the impassioned, apparently insane “musician” who thinks a stringless bow on a battered violin makes beautiful music. I have to clench my teeth to keep them from shaking loose, but the reward comes at other times, when we come up the escalator to hear a marvelous cellist playing Bach, or there’s an out-of-work operatic baritone singing at the base of the Simon Bolivar monument at the Civic Center Farmers’ Market. He was there the day my daughter’s class took a field trip to the market, and sang a great rendition of “Fiddle-I-Fee” for the preschoolers. Another day, I was part of the lunchtime crowd at the market, and a busker had set up and gave us beautiful Spanish guitar with our tamales and rotisserie chickens.

Street Sheet. This newspaper, funded partly by the American Friends Service Committee, is sold by people living on the street. The sellers get the proceeds, the buyers get to help people who really need it and get an informative paper at the same time. Whereas simply being asked for money leaves me discontent, whether I give it or not, these interactions always make me happy.

Truth in Trash-Talk. The trash cans in this area, as in many parts of the city, have three categories: Recycling, Compost, and–no, not Trash–Landfill. I like that gentle reminder in our green city of what really happens to whatever we throw “away.”