Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ghost horses of San Francisco

A couple of weeks ago the brilliant, totally entertaining podcast 99% Invisible did an episode about the concept of "Thomassons," which are objects (typically) found in cities that are completely useless but regularly maintained.

San Francisco being San Francisco, there's an entire blog devoted to Thomassons in SF (and some examples from elsewhere).  It's called Hyperart: Thomasson and it's fascinating.  Here's an example, found at the Lefty O'Doul Bridge on 3rd Street by AT&T Park:


This appears to be a remnant of the old gate that would come down and block traffic while the bridge was up.  Obviously the arms have been cut off and it doesn't do anything any more but it's apparently still painted and will have its arms raised into eternity as if to say "WOOO-HOOO!!!!  OBSOLESCENCE!!!"

Anyway, this got me thinking, as these things are wont to do, about other examples.  Then, as if by magic, this tweet by Devin McCutchen appeared:


That, my friends, is a Thomasson. This started us talking about other horse hitching posts around SF.  Burrito Justice knew about one:


Good find, Burrito Justice! But Sally Kuchar, editor of Curbed SF (and a totally cool chick) tipped us off that "there's a row of them on Pleasant Street in Nob Hill."

[BRIEF BUT ANNOYING DIGRESSION: This raises another issue that I've been thinking about for years.  When you're saying something is located in a neighborhood that ends in "Hill," do you say "in" or "on"?  Like, I say "You know, Thee Parkside, over on Potrero Hill," or "That is the douchiest place on Russian Hill, and that's saying something."  Sally obviously prefers the "in" usage, as in "My bro sold his startup to Google and bought a place in Rincon Hill."  Is either one right or are they both cool?  I don't know.  *shrugs*]

Indeed there are.  Pleasant Street appears to be accurately named!



Can't you just see a row of horses tied up there, waiting for their owners to return from whatever business they had in or on Nob Hill?  I guess they did perpendicular parking and not parallel parking with horses.

That's about all I've got.  Are there any other SF Thomassons I should know about?  Do let me know.  No one's reading this anyway because it doesn't have anything to do with iPhones and today's iPhone 6 Day or whatever.  My personal wish for the iPhone 6 is that it doesn't give a shit which direction you hold it when you shoot video and fixes it for you so it always looks right.  THAT would be something.

5 comments:

LB said...

There are horses in some alley off New Montgomery. Or there were several years ago. I have a photo of them from a time before cameras told you where you took your photos.

As for in/on, I could go both ways. The store is IN Nob Hill (the neighborhood). Or, the aliens have landed ON Nob Hill (the geographical land mass).

Slow day at work...

Rachel said...

I love 99% invisible, too.
Thomassons!

I am sure if we keep our eyes open we'll discover more...

Stoney said...

Commercial and Liedesdorff Alleys in the Fidi have horses. I bet they're around Jackson Square, too.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7936133,-122.4021422,3a,75y,356h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sthUT6XCqyeA00JYZxC48uA!2e0!6m1!1e1

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