I experienced this for the first time myself yesterday. I might’ve been looking for it since reading your comic. Thanks for educating me. Do you mind if I reference your amazing comic on my blog please (with attribution of course)?
This is something I just cannot believe on the 6th Street. Last night someone stopped his car with loud music.. just loud you can hear a few blocks away. He lef his doors open, got some beer.. joined by some more of his “Hey Man” buddies..thats it.. nearly an hour.. it was past mid night..just wonder why no one is there to ask.
Very good. Actually things have not changed too much since 65 when I lived there as a kid. 6th Street is much more run down. Drugs and alcohol were just as prevalent, especially when they started tearing down 3rd and Howard which was “Skid Row”. Does any one remember the South Side Hotel……….. Rooms for 50 cents a night…. Natoma street Pinoy’s…. One thing 6th Street will be changing one day and where will all the people go. Where can they afford to go ?????. Damn. Where will all the people go??????????
Great piece, but I have a small quibble. You didn’t mention all the Philippino families that live there now. I used to live on Natoma and 6th for years, and they are missing from your taxonomy. I watched a lot of small kids grow up to become teenagers on 6th. T
I love that you included the story of SRO’s and Filipino manongs in your story of the differences between the narratives of 5th and 6th streets. Thanks for spreading awareness of the fall of the I-Hotel, and the completely separate world one block away.
Someone got shot dead on 6th str on my 1st night in a Hotel in Minna(?) str. But apart from that 6th str was a place I will never forget,it was a real eye opener and I spent time talking to the crackheads in the middle of the night on my way back to the Pontiac Hotel.I was told to avoid 6th and enter Minnah str over 5th but I was so curious.Hope the peole get theirselves sorted out at some stage but Idont hold much hope for the poor buggers.
I also lived at the Ford Hotel in the 60’s. Each morning I walked down 6th Street to the bus on Market Street to go to school in the Sunset District. Looks like it’s pretty much the same now as it was then. So sad. Thanks for writing and drawing your perspective.
Very moving post. You really nailed the incredibly diverse mix of people who make the Mid-Market district what it is.
I volunteer with the Burning Man Project, a new non-profit dedicated to using arts and culture initiatives to help activate local communities. We’re currently partnering with a wide variety of local stakeholders to find ways to organically, sustainably and inclusively help the Mid-Market district shine.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to look at, share and comment on this piece. I don’t usually participate in comments on my own work but Id like to thank Christine for pointing people to “up from the deep”, mark ellinger’s wll researched and beautiful website. I interviewed him for this project and much of the words you read above are his. Please do take a moment to check out his photography, as well as the work of reynarldo and Bigface, the second and third portraits in the piece. Reynaldo is a photographer with the local group inks of truth, and Bigface is an independent artist working around 6th street. Also thanks to the aritst and 6th street resident Foot, who shared his home and story with me, This piece could not have been done without their generous words and time.
Finally, please note all the original drawings in this piece are on display as an installation in the group show about mapping “here be dragons” at intersection for the arts through January. Intersection is located in the chronicle building at 5h and Mission in SF. thanks again for looking,w
Please be sure and check out: http://upfromthedeep.com/sixth-street/
It is a classic, well written and very entertaining and informational. And if you really like one of the photographs, I think you can purchase it from the author. Great Christmas gifts.
I live here. And I say “Be the Change”. Thank you for this great piece. Oh and Tommy I miss you and 6th Street Books. It was one of my favorite places. I made a change in my life there, thanks to your help, y
You and 6th Street Books were a part of it. And I miss your sandwiches.
I lived between 7th and 6th street on Mission for about a year, I moved away from it two years ago. I am from Louisville, KY and just couldn’t stand the people defecating on the street and harassing me wherever I went but your art made me see past that and almost miss it. Good job.
I used to walk pretty quickly through this area in the late 90s to get to work or pop into Tu Lan, but never gave it enough thought. You’ve captured the beauty, history and sadness amazingly well. KUDOS! Like I needed another reason to move back!
Hey @tommystrange! Sixth Street Books was one of the best things to happen on Sixth Street in recent years, as was Rancho Parnassus. It breaks my heart that neither business was able to survive. I have photos of the fundraisers you threw in the basement of Sixth Street Books, Tommy, with Dr. Go-go and other bands and poets performing to help you raise money for rent. You may recall that I tended bar for you at a couple of those events, all of which were great fun. You may also remember that I was just beginning to photograph the neighborhood during the time your bookstore and cafe were under construction, and that you hosted an exhibit of my work to christen the opening of Sixth Street Books. It still saddens me that your bookstore is no longer there, but my memories of it are sweet and I will always be grateful to you for all that you brought to Sixth Street. I would be happy to share my photos of the fundraisers with you. My contact info is on my website http://upfromthedeep.com/.
Touching. As bad a 6th street is it always triggers a sense of nostalgia in me. Reminds me of my childhood in the city. Back then kids were allowed to roam free. Sixth street never scared me. I saw way more disturbing stuff the few times I had to use the the bathroom at the Castro St metro station. It was all some sort of crazy orgy back in the late 70’s. No public space was off limits.
I don’t mind if 6th street goes away as long as the people there get the help and support they need. Hopefully staying in SF. I am tired of everyone I meet in SF being from somewhere else. Very few of us left and fewer everyday.
Wendy, very interesting. I used to be in a band called Secret Chiefs (not to be confused with Secret Chiefs 3) back in 1984-1985. I had moved to San Francisco from Michigan in May of 1984 (spent nearly 8 years there). We used to go down to the 6th Street area and hang out in the bars. I remember it as being a very hospitable place to drink (the old men, most of them war veterans, used to buy all four of us rounds of beer, never cost us a penny). They really liked the company of younger folks who would sit and listen to their stories. I wish I could remember the names of the bars we hung out in. One was very much set up like the bar on the television show “Cheers”, with the big rectangle wooden bar in the middle of the room. One of the women regulars at that bar was called “Crazy Mary” by all the old men. If my memory serves me right she was the only women who I ever saw in the establishment. The other bar we frequented liked us so much that (at least I think they did) that they put a photo of our so-called band on the wall. Anyways, it was an interesting spot to go and spend a few hours on a weekend night. Somehow the people there were very much down to earth in a town that quite frankly is a bit of a roller-coaster ride! By the way, I now am living on 6th Street in my own home town. Ironic!
It hasn’t changed much. I grew up there in the 60’sf. We lived at the Ford Hotel on Mission, btw 5th and 6th. My brother and I used to play in the parking lots nearby. The corner of 6th and Mission always smelled of piss, cheap wine and bums. We used to shop at some grocery store behind the Pickwick.
I’m glad we made it out, but I’m not ashamed to say that I came from that hood.