Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Here It Is, San Francisco’s Best Christmas Tree for 2015, in an Unexpected Place – 55 Foot Tall – Straight Outta Shasta

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Just look at this thing in front of Pier 39 – it’s huge!

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And it’s 100% real, for better or worse. I heard it’s 55 feet, but officially it’s 60, perhaps due to rounding, IDK:

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I’m calling this thing an Attraction:

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Oh, but why so soon, in early November?

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This issue hadn’t occurred to me – I guess it is a bit early. (But feel free to add that to the lengthy list of things I care absolutely nothing about.)

Anyway, the Lighting Ceremonies are coming November 21-22, 2015.

See you there!

What, No More Christmas Trees in Front of SF City Hall? – Annual Tradition Lost – A Brief History of “Holiday Trees”

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

All right, I promised a history of the giant Christmas trees of San Francisco Civic Center in front of City Hall (aka the highest classical dome in the Western Hemisphere, believe it or not.*)

Here we go, from the mid to late Aughts, complete with a Star of Bethlehem atop. A shot from my office:


You know, keeping with Christian Tradition, as they say.

Well that didn’t go down good. So, in part due to some of my photos on SFist, back when Blogging Was King, and due to complaints of City Hall / SFGov workers objecting to having Christmas sort of imposed upon where there work – look it up on SFGate, Matier and Ross were on it – bye-bye Bethlehem star and bye-bye other overt displays of Christianity in and around City Hall.

But the tree stayed, and each and every year it came back, starless of course. And it was labeled a “Holiday Tree” in case there was any worry about it being a Christmas tree. Fine


Via Steve Rhodes, who, like Visa, is Everywhere You Want To Be.

And then, oh no, the garish lights on the tree! All those colors! Well, some rich white ladies about town thought they looked tacky, so away they went.

So that left us with this:

O.K. fine. Matier & Ross also had this story, about how the new, classier, white lights for white people cost RPD five figures, but that was OK, they said, because the colored Christmas tree lights would be able to be used in Golden Gate Park on Stanyan and perhaps they’re still in use, IDK.

Except this lack of color just wasn’t jazzy enough for other certain people.

So then came this:


Via Julie Blaustein

So, the colors came out of the tree in front of City Hall and they went into City Hall itself.

And then Mayor Willie Brown wanted ever more color.

Were these changes “improvements?”

No. But that’s what they were called at the time.

Oh well…

Anyway, that takes up to 2014, when we didn’t get any giant tree at all? NEWS TO ME! Did I not notice it wasn’t there? I forget. I tend to notice new things, I don’t tend to notice things what should be there and aren’t.

A Commenter just hepped me to the ABSENCE OF GIANT TREE, and I can see these photos from last year proving her point – no tree.

Here’s her beef:

“Hello. I was online trying to find info on why there was no Christmas tree outside of SF’s city hall in 2014, and I came across your post about the lights’ history during recent years. Regardless of any decor inside of city hall, i just don’t see why the tree was not part of last Xmas. I looked around online for info about the tree going up again this December, but any info on SF lighting ceremonies did not include a city hall plaza tree. I suppose the mayor’s argument for no tree is cost cutting and that people can go inside city hall to see some festive decor or head down to Union Square to join the tourists, but I find it pretty stunning that a major city has nixed its plaza tree. If you have an answer on this subject, I’d greatly appreciate hearing it.

Thank you,


It’s a Christmas Mystery!


*No no, the dome you’re thinking about (US Capitol Building) aint actually higher, OR it (San Jose City Hall or SuperDome) aint classical, OR it (St. Peter’s Basilica or Dome des Invalides) aint in the Western Hemisphere. Sorry. Look it up!

A Reminder of Easter: Bad Bunny, Market Street

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I don’t know, I think this bunny is up to something:


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Mandatory Christmas Merriment, Nob Hill

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Yes, you vill celebrate Weihnachten the way ve tell you to, yah?

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Put one of these on your balcony, or else…

The Evolution of Color in the Lights of Civic Center’s Christmas Tree and City Hall – This is How SFGov “Works”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is how the Christmas Holiday Tree in front of San Francisco City Hall was lit at night back in the aughts:


Via Steve Rhodes, who, like Visa, is Everywhere You Want To Be.

Do you see a problem? All those gaudy lights in the tree offended certain rich white ladies of San Francisco! They felt all that colour was “not appropriate.” So they imposed their values on the RPD, as they are wont to do, and RPD spent five figures to correct the “problem.”

So that left us with this:

O.K. fine.

Except this lack of color just wasn’t jazzy enough for other certain people.

So then came this:


Via Julie Blaustein

And now Mayor Willie Brown wants ever more color.

So, the colors came out of the tree in front of City Hall and they went into City Hall itself.

Were these changes “improvements?”

No. But that’s what they were called at the time.

Oh well…

What’s This, Kezar Drive, Gateway to the Inner Sunset and Beyond, is Going to be Shut Down for 420 Day on Sunday?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

All right, when I first saw this sign the other day, I didn’t  understand it – I was like “KEZAR CLOSED,” huh?

But now I understand, I think.

I think the Sunsets are going to be cut off from San Francisco due to the big 420 Day gathering this Easter Sunday 2014.

The sign says to “… USE … FULTON.” 

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Which, like, I don’t care, but isn’t this going to mess up traffic?

Just asking.

(And oh, just so you know, the group of people who just love, love, love cars the most are hippies, believe it or not. You’ll see.)

“Year of the Horse” Lunar New Year Forever Stamp Debuts in San Francisco – A Very Conservative Design This Time

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Here it is folks, halfway through January and I’m still writing “Year of the Snake” on all my checks. Haha!

Now while you’re chuckling at my clever joke, check out the reference to the “Chinese Chamber of Congress,which I assume must be a new somewhat corrupt Chinatown nonprofit that helps Chinese American voters with stencils(!) (to lockstep vote for the right candidates) and that helps to steer Central Subway money to the right contractors, etc.

And no mention of Rose Pak, mmmm.

All the deets:

“Lunar New Year Forever Stamp Highlights Year of the Horse

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today the U.S. Postal Service began celebrating the 2014 Lunar New Year by issuing the Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Horse Forever stamp.

Available today in sheets of 12 stamps, customers may purchase the stamps at, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) or at Post Offices nationwide and on eBay at

“The start of the Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year for much of the world’s population,” said U.S. Postal Service San Francisco District Manager David Stowe in dedicating the stamp at the Chinese Culture Center inside the Hilton San Francisco Financial District Hotel. “It’s a time of great celebration and reflection for millions of Americans, including the Chinese-American community right here in San Francisco.”

Joining Stowe in dedicating the stamp were stamp illustrator Kam Mak of Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco City and County Mayor Edwin Lee; Chinese Chamber of Congress Supervisory Board President Eddie Au; and KGO-TV Anchor Alan Wang.

Ever more deets, after the jump.


Sidewalk Christmas Tree Installed at Haight and Ashbury – Complete with Battery-Powered(?) Lights

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

[UPDATE: Oh no, the Great Christmas Tree of Haight Street tree is gone per amy stephenson of uppercasing! Did SFGov haul it away?]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Upper Haight:

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Red Meatball Over City Hall – San Francisco Honors 79th Birthday of Japanese Emperor Akihito

Monday, December 24th, 2012


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OMG, the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square is Opening! 2012 Season to Feature Lion King Performance, Giants Night

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

As they say, grab your scarf:

WHEN:              Wednesday, November 7, 2012  at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:           Union Square, San Francisco

MORE:              Grab your scarf and mittens and make your way down to the ice rink to view several talented ice skaters from “The San Francisco Tremors Ensemble” from the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center performing to Disney’s THE LION KING’s “Circle of Life” sung by Buyi Zama who portrays “Rafiki.”

Via Darren Kumasawa

Ever more deets, including info on GIANTS PRIDE NIGHT:

“Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines – Announces Giants’ PRIDE Night – Fans Across the Bay Area Are Invited to Come Out in Their Best San Francisco Giants Outfit

SAN FRANCISCO (November 5, 2012) – Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines will join the legion of proud Bay Area fans in celebrating the San Francisco Giants’ World Series sweep with Giants’ Pride Night on Thursday, November 8 from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The ice will be lit up in orange and fans are encouraged to come out in their favorite San Francisco Giants’ outfit for a fun night of celebration. The first 100 fans to arrive at the rink wearing Giants apparel will receive a complimentary skate admission for their guest that evening. General admission tickets are $10 and tickets for children eight years old and under are $6. Skate rentals are an additional $5. KMEL and KYLD will be at the ice rink between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. that evening handing out custom Giants Champs placards.

The ice rink opens November 7 through to January 21, and will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with the exception of December 31, 2012 when it will close at 9:30 p.m.

Ticket prices:
General admission tickets are $10 and tickets for children eight years old and under are $6. Figure and hockey skate rentals are $5. Advance tickets go on sale Monday, October 15, 2012 at Starting Wednesday, November 7, 2012 tickets will be available at the ice rink ticket window in Union Square. Group rates and private parties are also available.

Safeway, Alaska Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Macy*s, Marmot Mountain, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Square, American Conservatory Theater, Union Square Business Improvement District, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, JW Marriott, Chancellor Hotel, Galleria Park Hotel, Grand Hyatt Union Square, John’s Grill, SFMTA, Emporio Rulli Caffé, Disney’s THE LION KING, UNIQLO, San Francisco Examiner, NBC BAY AREA, Telemundo, KSTS-TV 48, STAR 101.3, 98.1 KISS FM, 106.1 KMEL, KOSF 103.7, WiLD 94.9 and KGO 810

About the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink
Since 2007, the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink has delighted children and adults with a holiday-themed ice park located in San Francisco’s Union Square. Ticket prices are $10 for general admission and $6 for children eight years old and under. Figure and hockey skate rentals are $5. Ice rink hours are from 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. daily. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. For tickets or more information, please visit or call 415-781-2688.

  • Robert Keith, Ice Rink General Manager at Willy Bietak Productions
  • Karin Flood, Executive Director at Union Square Business Improvement District
  • Keith Turner, Director of Public and Government Affairs at Safeway Inc., Northern California Division 
  • Steven Carhart, Veteran representative from Safeway Inc.
  • Randy Wittorp, Public Affairs Area Director at Kaiser Permanente