Summer in The City – San Francisco 2016
If there was a time machine that allowed us to travel to any place or time we desired, one of my choices would be San Francisco in 1967. Hippies dancing in the streets, peaceful protesters terrified of the war raging around them, a generation hoping to change the world with love, peace, LSD, and a new, radical sound that would forever change the face of music.
Sadly I don’t have a time machine, but I was able to travel to San Francisco and visit Haight-Ashbury this summer. Haight and Ashbury are 2 streets that intersect in San Francisco giving name to the district of Haight-Ashbury. Though you can still find much of the hippie look in the area, it seems to be more of a manufactured touristy feel. Walking through the neighborhood, we were approached by Greenpeace members, but even these guys didn’t have the passion you would have expected from someone in that magical area, they gave us a short speech about loving the earth before pulling out their iPads and asking us to give them our credit cards to become members.
We stopped and had great cheeseburgers and dark beer at Magnolia Gastropub and brewery. They still brew beer in the basement like they have since 1997. Around us were people in their 30’s looking very corporate and business like with their computers open, taking care of business while eating.
Tour buses drove up and down the streets telling the story of how the area became a Mecca for thousands of young people in 1967. Many searching for mind enhancing experiences and a culture that could belong to their lost generation.
The neighborhood has done what it can to bring back that ’67 vibe of the area, but there were no flower children dancing in the streets, no one was publicly smoking, shooting or dropping, and not one single musician played in the streets. I wondered if the spirits of hippies past still roam the streets, disappointed that their once cultural nirvana is now run by the establishment.
“Don’t let the man keep you down”.
There is irony in the fact that the generation who worked so hard to rid the world of the establishment gave birth to the generation of a whole new corporate America and .com.
Haight – Ashbury may no longer be a Mecca for the generation of peace and love, but being there was still a reminder of The Summer of Love, and the brilliant creative young people who converged into San Francisco and forever changed the world, and now own it.