San Francisco: North Beach

And now, the pièce de résistance from my weekend trip to San Francisco.



san francisco north beach


You guys, I absolutely fell in love with North Beach.



san francisco north beach
Those wires are what run the electric buses that drive along the streets 

san francisco north beach
san francisco north beach
It's hard to see, but we were 99% sure the guy in the red shirt was practicing tossing pizza dough. 
san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach


It was so...what are the words I'm looking for? Alive? Artsy? It was humming with energy? None of those descriptions really do it justice. I've been putting off creating this post because while the the pictures are there, the words to describe them aren't. I guess sometimes, photos just have speak for themselves.





san francisco north beach
san francisco north beach
The colors in this city; look at that pink building! With music notes! I want to live there. 
san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach

san francisco north beach


It made me feel inspired, and it didn't make me feeling like it was trying too hard. Does that make sense? Some places are so cliché, and kind of force themselves upon you; you go in expecting something spectacular because they've been talked up so much, but the whole experience turns out to be incredibly anticlimactic. It helped that I didn't know anything about North Beach going in to it, and it was only after we got there that I learned the neighborhood played a huge role in the Beat Generation; amazing writers like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady lived and wrote and created there. Isn't it incredible that a few people can influence an entire "generation", and that one small area of a large city can be at the epicenter of it all?

I don't claim to know anything about the Beat Generation or any of those writers, really, but I had fun imagining creative geniuses (geniusi? =]) roaming the streets and sitting in cafés drinking whiskey and putting pen to paper. We visited City Lights Bookstore, which was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and is full of old bookshelves and signs and quotations. It's old and creaky and the building comes to a point at the corner where the street meets Jack Kerouac Alley, which is bordered on the other side by the famous Vesuvio Cafe (where many of their writers spent a great amount of time) and lined with quotations etched in stone and bright, pretty murals on the walls.

There were so many nooks and crannies and angles to be explored; so many colors, so many signs, and so much history. I couldn't put my camera down, because although I knew I wouldn't be able to do it justice, I had to at least put in some effort. I'm a perfectionist like that. 





san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights
san francisco city lights
This is almost like a double-exposed photo that I would take with my Holga, but it's just the reflection from the window. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip. 
san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights
san francisco city lights
Being super intelligent and stroking beards and talking about literature. 
san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco city lights

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco
san francisco
Francis Ford Coppola apparently has his offices/studio in this green building
san francisco

san francisco

san francisco
san francisco
Vesuvio Cafe
san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco


Ugh, too many photos. Did I just totally overwhelm your eyeballs? This would have been the perfect opportunity to use my newly minted photo collage making skills, but I love each picture so much that I didn't want to squish any of them together. My sincere apologies, but posting this many photos had to be done. This way you get a tiny glimpse into how my eyeballs felt the whole time I was there. I felt like I could've sat down in Vesuvio Cafe and written a novel, right then and there. My very being was inspired. My soul was buzzing. I'm getting incredibly poetic and pretentious-sounding, aren't I? Okay, time to stop.

I leave you with the quotes from Jack Kerouac Alley. I, like every other blogger (slash human being) absolutely adore quotations. They are the thoughts in my head that I don't even realize exist until I see them written out in front of me. They spark my imagination and help remind me about the universal truths and creativity that unite us all. And when they're written in stone in a sunny, painting-filled alley in North Beach, well...be still, my heart. 



san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley

san francisco jack kerouac alley
san francisco jack kerouac alley
This is my absolute favorite. I had to do some weird editing in order to make all of the letters readable, because the lighting  in the alley was all slanty and shiny and shadowy, all at once. Just in case you're having a hard time seeing it, it says, "The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great..." Jack Kerouac. Yes, Jack. Just...yes. 
Happy Tuesday, friends.

san francisco city lights

P.S. I lied, I totally have one more San Francisco post coming, from Chinatown. It might be a little anticlimactic after all of my romantic, inspired word-spewing in this post, but as always, there will be pictures, so you can just look at those. =]