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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2011, 1:42 AM
geomorph geomorph is online now
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San Francisco - Union Square

Union Square is a neighborhood within San Francisco's 7-mile by 7-mile city limits. It is centered on the 1-block Union Square, a public plaza. It is surrounded by several other neighborhoods and can be considered part of the downtown area. West of it is the Polk Gulch/Van Ness Corridor; Southwest is the Tenderloin and Civic Center; Southeast is South of Market; East is the Financial District; Northeast is Chinatown; and North is Nob Hill. For those more familiar with the area, my definition of the limits includes about 36 blocks, extending about 4 blocks West of the plaza to Leavenworth, about 3 blocks South/Southeast to Market Street (including the buildings on the East side of Market Street), 2 blocks East to Kearny, and 2 blocks North to Bush (I include much of Lower Nob Hill as part of Union Square). The terrain is mostly a gentle slope, except at the Northern edge which becomes steeper as it rises at Lower Nob Hill. The neighborhood is a busy historic high-density area of commercial buildings and is the primary shopping district of the city; in addition, it is packed with art galleries, residential buildings, large and small hotels, and some offices and theaters and private clubs.

Union Square:
The plaza itself occupies a space that was set aside as a public square in 1850, and gets its name from the rallies that were held in support of the Union before and during the Civil War. At the center is the Dewey Monument from 1903, a column topped by 'Victory' to commemorate the admiral's triumph in the Philippines during the Spanish American War. The entire square lies on the roof of an underground parking garage, reportedly the first one ever built when it opened in 1941. The current square dates to 2002 when it was entirely renovated, becoming more of an urban plaza than the formal park it had been previously.





















Maiden Lane:
This two-block long mid-block alley is closed to vehicular traffic and is on axis with the Dewey Monument in the plaza beyond. It is mostly lined with shops but is not the high-end stretch it once was; now, many of the storefronts are actually the back ends of shops that face the larger streets beyond.



Grant Street:
This view is typical of the area's density along its streets; in the distance, Grant passes beneath the entry gate and becomes the main street in Chinatown.



Geary Street:
This view is a few blocks West of the plaza and becomes increasingly residential in the distance. Geary runs for nearly 6 miles West of here, through many neighborhoods before ending close to the Pacific Ocean.



Powell Street:
Two of the city's three cable car lines travel this busy stretch. The first view is looking North, the other South.





Market Street:
The city's largest street in the downtown area forms the South/Southeast border of the neighborhood; it is a few blocks away from the plaza but features just as much, if not more, shopping in this retail wonderland.











Historic Buildings:
There is a large selection of mostly post-1906 Beaux-Arts edifices throughout the neighborhood.

























San Francisco Centre:
This shopping mall occupies several large adjacent buildings; the Market Street facade of one of them is the original facade of the flagship Emporium Department Store, 1908. Behind the restored facade, the building is new (2006) but features the restored rotunda ceiling of the original. I will detail the more modern parts of the centre later in this thread.









Flood Building, 1904:





St. Francis Hotel, 1904-13:
This classic hotel faces Union Square, and is dominated by a taller 1972 modern tower addition pictured previously in the thread.









More Historic Buildings:













Curran Theater, 1922:



Geary Theater, 1910:



More Historic Buildings:
Further examples of Beaux-Arts edifices abound, as well as later styles of Art Deco with historic revival details and Zigzag Moderne.































































V. C. Morris Gift Shop, 1948:
This space on Maiden Lane is now occupied by a gallery, and was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.













Neiman-Marcus Department Store, 1982:
On a corner facing Union Square, this Philip Johnson-designed building replaced the historic City of Paris Department Store; however, its 1909 rotunda was saved and moved to a prominent corner location in the new building.









San Francisco Centre:
The original building of this mall opened in 1988 and features an 80's version of a rotunda with some spiral escalators.







Some buildings of the last few decades:







San Francisco Centre:
The very modern backside of the later 2006 building (the one behind the historic Emporium facade seen earlier) actually faces Mission Street and has much in common with many of its newer South of Market neighbors, but I include it here since it extends through the whole block to the Union Square area.













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

Last edited by geomorph; Apr 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2011, 1:53 AM
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San Francisco has this reputation as a hippie paradise, but there are an awful lot of higher end retail chains down there. Cool shots.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2011, 6:45 AM
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Thanks for the brief tour, geomorph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ls1z28chris View Post
San Francisco has this reputation as a hippie paradise, but there are an awful lot of higher end retail chains down there. Cool shots.
Perhaps the area of Haight-Ashbury. When the 60s died down, the hippie population seemed to have made their way to Oregon.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 4:31 AM
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Nice pictures. I appreciated the interior shots.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 4:54 AM
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What Macy's did to the I. Magnin flagship store on Union Square ranks right up there with the destruction of Penn Station.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 7:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jg6544 View Post
What Macy's did to the I. Magnin flagship store on Union Square ranks right up there with the destruction of Penn Station.
The old I. Magnin flagship wasn't destroyed, and it was never special like Penn Station. What the hell are you talking about?


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OJrPXK_F-G...+Francisco.jpg


http://www.traveltripz.com/wp-conten...ion-square.jpg
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 9:29 AM
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San Francisco continuing to strut her stuff an amazingly gorgeous city. i know there was a discussion on SSP or SSC about it being the most beautiful city in America or The Americas . It is the most beautiful city in the US and #2 is a very distant second IMO. San Francisco don't need flowers in her hair, she's beautiful just the way she is
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Smile

Thank you very much for this long and pretty thread!

Wonderful buildings! Very good pictures.

Congratulations and greetings from Madrid, Spain!
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 12:42 PM
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San Fran, always a beauty!
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 2:42 AM
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Another pitch-perfect thread!

I have to say that I especially like seeing other cities' monuments, such as that pillar in the square itself. I guess it's just interesting to see what was special enough to some city way back when to warrant its own statue or monument.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2011, 11:10 PM
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jg6544, perhaps you are thinking of the destruction of the City of Paris department store when it was replaced by the modern Neimen-Marcus?
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2011, 4:27 PM
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Very nice tour. Thanks!
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2011, 4:52 PM
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unbridled architecture porn in this set. and i quite enjoy porn. the neiman marcus right off the square is a surprising girl next door. hubba hubba.
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2011, 4:21 AM
jg6544 jg6544 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fflint View Post
The old I. Magnin flagship wasn't destroyed, and it was never special like Penn Station. What the hell are you talking about?


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OJrPXK_F-G...+Francisco.jpg


http://www.traveltripz.com/wp-conten...ion-square.jpg
They enlarged the corner windows on the ground level completely destroying the look of the building. They made a mess of the interiors which were some of the most beautiful ever built. In its heyday, I. Magnin's Union Square store was every bit the peer of Bergdorf-Goodman in New York. Now it's just another Macy's.

The former I. Magnin on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles was another gorgeous building which was closed when Magnin's merged with Bullock's Wilshire. It reopened as a Korean minimall and the owners showed much greater respect for the design of that store than Macy's did for the design of the store on union square. If you want to have some idea of what the two stores were like when they were I. Magnin, read "A Store to Remember" by James T. Mullane or "I. Magnin & Co.: A California Legacy" by Devin Frick.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2011, 5:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giovanni sasso View Post
unbridled architecture porn in this set. and i quite enjoy porn. the neiman marcus right off the square is a surprising girl next door. hubba hubba.
The neiman marcus building is by far my favorite of the Union Square area. When I first started coming to the city as a young boy, I fell in love with the sleek modern shell around such an old and classic structure in such a transparent way.

I rarely make it to Union Square these days, I believe the last time I was there was to chaperon some of my southern relatives around the city and hit all the touristy spots. I gotta love that flagship H&M store on Powell, a good friend of mine has worked her way up and is now some higher end managerial position there, it makes for awesome discounts on already ridiculously cheap clothing, sure it doesn't last, but it looks good!
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 4:21 PM
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These photos were taken by a good photographic eye.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 6:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKidD View Post
Thanks for the brief tour, geomorph.



Perhaps the area of Haight-Ashbury. When the 60s died down, the hippie population seemed to have made their way to Oregon.
it took them forever too with those fixed gear bikes too
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 7:58 PM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Very beautiful!
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2011, 4:23 PM
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This is the facade of what I assume is an earlier I. Magnin building in a different location of the neighborhood; it still houses retail on the lower floor. Anyone know more about it?

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Old Posted Oct 16, 2011, 6:00 PM
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Absolutely splendid!
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