At The Guardian, Rory Carroll highlights the divergent views between old and young in San Francisco. The young seem to believe the feeling of the “Summer of Love” still resonates in the city. Meanwhile those who have lived there longer see a different city than they remember. Gentrification and loads of tech industry money have changed the face of San Francisco. Carroll writes:
Isaiah Wolfe, who goes by the name Orange, spends his nights under a bush outside Golden Gate park and his days on the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets, soaking up the love. Love from his wife, his dogs, his buddies and everyone else who calls this part of San Francisco home.
“We’ve come here to experience the love this place has,” said Orange, 20, sporting a beard, piercings and multi-coloured sweater. “I heard the summer of love was the best thing to ever happen.”
It happened in 1967 but Orange, a Minnesotan who has criss-crossed the United States sleeping rough for three years, could feel the glow 50 years later. “People here treat you as an actual human being unlike anywhere else in the country.” …
It was an illusion.
If you’re going to San Francisco by all means wear some flowers in your hair but be sure to bring a credit card and acceptance that the summer of love is history. The bohemian idyll of Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters no longer exists.
The Bay Area today is the global headquarters of big tech. Here community is a euphemism for customers, disruption means starting your own company and free love means Tinder or Grindr. The San Francisco sound, which once referred to psychedelic rock groups, is now “ka-ching” – money.
This is one of the world’s most expensive, unequal cities where billionaires step over sleeping shapes on the sidewalks. An evicted 100-year-old woman recently became a symbol of gentrification. Artists, writers and musicians are leaving for cheaper cities. Even techies with six-figure salaries complain about rents. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have appropriated the word sharing for the gig economy, itself a euphemism for perpetual work.
Read more here.