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.