The Presidio Brat

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The "hotel"

Yes, fair reader, there has been hot debate about whether or not there should be a Presidio hotel.

The cons argue that building such a structure will ruin the historic integrity of the main post. Except that when I talk to the people who are planning the thing, they describe it as a barrack-like structure that will include a series of interconnected walkways - kind of like what's already there. I have the feeling that the cons envision this:

And I think *some* of the cons happen to own hotels in nearby neighborhoods.

But to be fair, here are some of the arguments against.

The pros have told me a few times that it's not a HOTEL but a LODGE, like the kind you find in every national park. But I can tell you what the word "lodge" does to me.

As long as there are no stuffed elk over the fireplace, we're good. But actually, I LOVE the idea of putting a hotel-lodge on the main post. If we're sticking to historical integrity, then there should be hundreds more people on the main post every day. The place should be teeming. When the army was here, it was dynamic and lively with battalions of soldiers, families, civilian workers, parades, trumpets and hell, even cannon fire, but since the army left, the main post has gone to sleep. And I think she needs some serious action.

I vote for the hotel!

Just chillin with my off-leash dog

the "Visitor Experience"

When I hear these words, I usually have some gnarly thoughts about tourists. Being kinder, I'm guessing that the visitor experience is usually pretty confused, traffic-wise. Walk anywhere on the Presidio for longer than 20 minutes, and someone will ask you for directions.

But the phrase is now floating about in a more interesting way. The Trust wants to improve the visitor experience - as well as the RESIDENT and WORKER experience. Hoo-ah! And the most exciting of their projects is the Visitor Center. There are a lot of great ideas on the table.

Imagine a big, warm room with a fireplace, some cozy chairs. A cafe. A bookstore. A mini-market where you can buy a gallon of milk or some picnic foods. A place you could hang out. Take a class, or a tour. Meet your neighbors. Learn more about the Presidio. I would probably go there every day. It could look something like this:

Just imagining.

So over the next few weeks they're taking suggestions and trying to get resident input about what this Center should be. They're having five more workshops so if you have something to say, carpe diem people!

I'm forever talking about how this place would benefit from more foot traffic, but that whole sentiment has a dark twin - the part of me that likes it that people get lost here, that the army constructed this place to confuse the uninitiated, that this isn't just checkerboard San Francisco but a fractal pattern of roads and forests and trails with history layered all over it. I love all the unexplained parts of this place as much as the sleek pathways and helpful signage. And I am sure that some of our visitors will like the mysterious parts of it, too.

Some Reminders

Feel like fingerprinting your kids? Park police will be at the Disney Museum on March 25th. No confirmation yet on whether they'll be doing mug shots.

Need to vent your spleen about the proposed off-leash dog laws? Comment period ends on May 30th. (Oh go on, do it again!)

Need to dump your old stash of cocaine? Just kidding. I know you only have Vicodin from that ooooooold surgery. The SFPD will be taking disposals of controlled substances (yeah, I'm sure they will!) on April 30th from 10-2. Any station.

Need to visit the second oldest golf course west of the Mississippi? Go on then!

Feel like partying or meeting your neighbors? Of course you do. Bring your Vicodin!