Cool Gray City of Love
At right, one of SF's storied stairways

Growing up in Berkeley, Gary Kamiya fell hard for our fair city. The Salon.com cofounder has spent most of his life exploring its 46 square miles as a writer and editor, and in his new book, Cool Gray City of Love, he permanently commits his love affair with San Francisco to paper.

The book is a rich mix of history and his expeditions (largely on foot), and each chapter is devoted to a different local site, from Baker Beach to the “haunted house” at 1712 Fillmore St. While he does a good amount of gushing, Kamiya never gets too googly-eyed; he sees the city (and its seedier sides) for the majestic yet complex place that it is.

Here, a few fun facts from the book:

• At 1,017 acres, Golden Gate Park--which took the author 20 days to canvass--is 20 percent larger than New York’s Central Park.

• An archaeological site buried under the Sports Basement at Crissy Field is believed to have been a food-processing camp for the Yelamu Native American tribe that lived there in the 18th century.

• In 1971, a two-bedroom apartment in Nob Hill ran you only $250 a month. (Those were the days.)

• More than 600 stairways are scattered around the city--and Bernal Heights has more than any other neighborhood.

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