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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 3:52 AM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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San Francisco - The Embarcadero

The Embarcadero is a thoroughfare and promenade within San Francisco's 7-mile by 7-mile city limits. It is a 2.5 mile stretch of the bayfront, and its major street is called The Embarcadero, a word of Spanish origin that describes a place to embark on an inland waterway. It forms the Eastern waterfront edge of a few neighborhoods: the Financial District and the South of Market area (most of the latter's part that touches The Embarcadero is often called South Beach) as well as the foot of Telegraph Hill. The Southern tip of it becomes Mission Bay, while the Northern tip becomes Fisherman's Wharf. Most of it is bay fill, as the original shoreline was often several blocks West. Over the years it was filled (some of the fill consisted of deliberately sunken ships) and large warehouse piers connected by multiple shoreline railroad tracks were built. In its late 19th and early 20th century heyday it was a major area of industrial transport and activity, far from a leisure area. However, as larger container shipping became common the the port died as the water traffic moved across the bay to the larger port facilities in Oakland. The need and use for cargo railroads also died, and The Embarcadero declined in utility. Some of the piers were destroyed, while others found new life as parking garages. However, in more recent times some of the piers have found new uses and been renovated or rebuilt while the entire length has been transformed into a popular recreational shoreline. This thread will take a tour from the Southern end to the Northern end.

South Beach Harbor:
This marina and park also features a pleasure boat pier and yacht club pavilion. It adjoins AT&T Park, the stadium where the San Francisco Giants baseball team play. I consider the ballpark to be the beginning of the Mission Bay neighborhood, not part of The Embarcadero. The street itself becomes King Street in front of the ballpark.





























Pier 38:





The Embarcadero, South of the San Francisco Bay Bridge:
This stretch of the street and promenade fronts South of Market's South Beach neighborhood. Like the rest of The Embarcadero, the streetscape is treated consistently with a divided roadway with a median lined with cobble paving and Canary Island date palms on either side of light rail tracks. The light rail line in this section is the T-line, with modern trainsets that link downtown with the Southeastern part of the city. Views of the Bay Bridge become prominent at the point where it crosses overhead and lands a few blocks inland. The bridge goes across the bay to Yerba Buena/Treasure Island in the middle of the bay, then crosses the rest of the bay to Oakland (that second half is the major new section under construction next to the older one, out of view from this part of the city).

















Rincon Park:
Just North of the Bay Bridge, this attractive park features two restaurants and 'Cupid's Span', a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.































The Ribbon/Signs of History:
The entire length of The Embarcadero's waterfront promenade is treated consistently with a linear feature made of glass blocks (backlit at night wih fiber optic cable) set in a concrete band of walkway or series of low platforms. Occasionally, various plaques and podiums and columns are located nearby with historical information, each one consistent with the others.

















Pier 14:
This modern pedestrian pier features great views of the waterfront and bay.











Views of South of Market skyline from Pier 14:







View of the Financial District from Pier 14:



The Ferry Building:
This building dates to 1898 and was once reportedly the second busiest transit terminal in the world in the 1930's. It was the hub for the commuter ferries that went to numerous destinations around the bay, before the bridges were built. Several smaller ferries still operate multiple lines, and their docks are here on the backside of the building. The building was most recently restored in 2003; the upper floors are offices, but the lower floor houses the very successful permanent stalls and eateries of the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is expanded twice a week to an outdoor Farmer's Market surrounding the building. The building is the terminal of the axis of Market Street, the largest downtown street and the dividing line between the Financial District and South of Market area.

















Ferry Building Plaza:
The Embarcadero street divides widely in front of the Ferry Building to form this plaza; on the inland side of the roadway is an additional park with Bocce courts and plam-lined walkways.



















F-Line:
The light rail tracks that turn into the Ferry Building Plaza from Market Street and continue North along The Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf are used by this line, which features historic streetcars painted in the liveries of other cities which once had streetcars of the era. Part of this stretch was occupied by a massive double-decked freeway until the 1990's and is thankfully gone!







Piers 1, 1-1/2, and 3:
These historic piers have been renovated for offices and a few restaurants surrounded by docks for larger boats and public walkways. Going North from here, many of the other remaining piers have identical facades along the street.















Pier 7:
This pedestrian pier was built in the modern era but strives for an older aesthetic than the slick Pier 14 seen earlier.





Piers 29 and 31:
These are near the North end of The Embarcadero before it becomes Fisherman's Wharf.



Levi's Plaza:
On the inland side of the street near the North end and at the foot of Telegraph Hill are several blocks occupied by this 1970's complex that is the headquarters for Levi Strauss & Co, the clothing company with historic ties to the city. The landscape that ties the blocks together was designed by Lawrence Halprin and features a few of his hallmark concrete water features.

















All photographs taken in 2011 (except a few from 2005-2010) by geomorph.

My other San Francisco photo threads:

Chinatown: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192153

Civic Center: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192243

Financial District - Historic Era: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192867

Financial District - Modern Era: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192884

Marina: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=197757

Mission Bay - Mission Creek Channel: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=197751

Nob Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...50#post5342350

Pacific Heights: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193459

Russian Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193318

Telegraph Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193160

Union Square: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...37#post5346737

Last edited by geomorph; Feb 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 4:23 AM
jg6544 jg6544 is offline
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The one good thing to come out of the Loma Prieta earthquake - it forced them to tear that damned freeway down.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 8:43 AM
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Such a nice city. Lovely.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 11:11 AM
sterlippo1 sterlippo1 is offline
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I have been in love with this city since i was a young child and have seen a lot of it in the many times i have visited but i have not been in 10 years and only twice in the past 20. It is incomprehensible to me how they have developed The Embarcadero. It is breathtaking. I will be there in August and can't wait to walk the entire thing and i get to top it off by watching the team that captured my heart when i was young, the San Francisco Giants.............yes, I love the Red Sox too but the Giants were my first love
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 11:23 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Very beautiful. SF's landscape and climate reminds me of Barcelona.

I wish it had more fountains though. (The one posted is not in the central district.) Its mild climate itself to large plazas with fountains.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 5:01 PM
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Coldrsx Coldrsx is offline
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I love S.F... so many amazing places to explore.

I also love how we pander in our design to a fun sport... ridiculous


(http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/1...rcadero061.jpg)
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 5:26 PM
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northbay northbay is offline
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great thread! thanks for the end to end tour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertWalpole View Post
Very beautiful. SF's landscape and climate reminds me of Barcelona.

I wish it had more fountains though. (The one posted is not in the central district.) Its mild climate itself to large plazas with fountains.
justin herman plaza at market and embarcadero has a huge fountain you can walk under. can't get more central than that: (my photo)

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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 5:59 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
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IMHO, San Francisco is the best of the West! I'm always thrilled any time we can get photos of this incredible city here on SSP. Thanks for posting these, geomorph!
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 6:16 PM
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giovanni sasso giovanni sasso is offline
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in my visits to SF, i've spent very little time in this area, so seeing the detail here is really catching. the pedestrian pier and levi's, in particular, i don't think i've ever seen before. good stuff, geomorph.
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eyes wide to all these sights; how do people keep up these days?
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2011, 9:14 PM
jg6544 jg6544 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northbay View Post
great thread! thanks for the end to end tour.



justin herman plaza at market and embarcadero has a huge fountain you can walk under. can't get more central than that: (my photo)

Also known as the leftovers from building (or demolishing) the Embarcadero Freeway!
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2011, 12:47 AM
bigcubfan bigcubfan is offline
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Nice pics. The Embarcadero is a quick and fun little way to get around the northeast corner of the city. ...After the Giants game I went to on my visit it was incredibly pleasant to sit along the Marina and watch the fans stream out. (2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th pic). And when they played "I left my heart in San Francisco" after the Giants won on the ballpark PA I thought my heart was going to melt. lol
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2011, 3:35 AM
Talbot Talbot is offline
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Awesome thread! San Francisco is so beautiful.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2011, 4:22 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Nice pictures. That plaza at the end looks pretty interesting.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2011, 10:19 AM
sterlippo1 sterlippo1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcubfan View Post
Nice pics. The Embarcadero is a quick and fun little way to get around the northeast corner of the city. ...After the Giants game I went to on my visit it was incredibly pleasant to sit along the Marina and watch the fans stream out. (2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th pic). And when they played "I left my heart in San Francisco" after the Giants won on the ballpark PA I thought my heart was going to melt. lol
hmmmmm, i didn't know they played that after they win............if they win when i go, my heart WILL melt
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2011, 3:30 PM
bigcubfan bigcubfan is offline
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^^I really like the female PA announcer the Giants have too.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2011, 10:58 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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RobertWalpole, I think that is a good observation, there are relatively few notable fountains in the city, especially of the older grand variety that you may be longing for; the twisted concrete one in Justin Herman Plaza pictured in the responses is certainly noteworthy but not everyone's idea of civic grandeur!
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