Posted by: Hackney Tours | September 18, 2009

Midnight in Castro

Down the hill from Twin Peaks, where the cantilever curves of the Bay Bridge sparkle amid the shimmer of downtown, and the temperature rises noticeably. The station attendant at the Bart/Muni stop is pulling across the red gates so I cross the road to the empty F-line tram at the Castro terminus.

A young guy sits outside a café, head resting on his knees, still clutching his phone in a stupor. Girls in super-short shorts stand outside the gas station, while a French and German foursome struggle with the timetable and a very drunk friend. We figure out together that it’s the last tram of the night down Market Street.

It’s not just any old tram car either. All the cars on this line have history – some have crossed the Atlantic from places like Milan or Lisbon to be here – but this car appeared in the recent film Harvey Milk, and the inside poster slots are all dedicated to the man and his fondness for public transport. Like an earlier and more glamorous version of Ken Livingstone, SF’s most famous supervisor was apparently a big believer in Muni and took it to work every day in his relatively short life.

The French guys bail out with their unfortunate drunken friend when he makes a break for it half-way down Market; I warn the German girls to give the ‘Loin a wide berth at this time of night; and then this modest movie star car trundles emptily into the night like a scene from a Dennis Hopper painting.

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