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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 4:20 AM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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San Francisco - Russian Hill

Russian Hill is a neighborhood within San Francisco's 7-mile by 7-mile city limits. It is not the city's concentrated Russian-descent area; it was named after a small Russian cemetary on the hill that was found in the 1800's before any other development occured on the hill. It is located along a ridge that runs North-South and rises above the surrounding neighborhoods in the Northeastern part of the city. It is about 8 blocks long and 5 blocks wide, covered with an eclectic mix of mostly historic residential buildings; some are detached large homes, others are connected lowrise and midrise blocks, while a scattering of highrises from the 1920's to the 1960's completes the variety. Streets traverse the terrain in a grid, with some interrupted only by the steepest grades; in the blocks where this occurs, pedestrian stairs climb up through small terraced gardens. The most famous block on the hill is Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, where the vehicle pavement descends a one-way route of five switchbacks; this memorable negotiation of the grade change attracts a large number of tourists to this high-end neighborhood. Otherwise, it is a quiet place with fantastic views. The neighborhoods that surround it at lower elevations are far busier: West is the Van Ness/Polk corridor and the Marina, North is Fishermen's Wharf, and East is North Beach. The neighborhood to the South is also busier but not by much: the ridge of Russian Hill dips slightly to the South but then rises again to become Nob Hill.

Skyline:
These views from Telegraph Hill show Russian Hill's East face. It is still difficult to conceive that the highrises were ever allowed to be built here among so many smaller buildings away from any commercial thoroughfares.





Lombard Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth:









Views from Vallejo Street Steps:
Looking East from this park-like area reveals North Beach in the foreground and Telegraph Hill and the San Francisco Bay (and its bridge) in the background. Looking Southeast is Chinatown in the foreground and Financial District looming behind it.





View North, down Hyde Street:
One of the three cable car lines travels on the hill on the way to its terminus at Fisherman's Wharf far below.



View North, down Jones Street:
Fisherman's Wharf also occupies the waterfront in this view, with Alcatraz Island in the distance and Angel Island in the background.



Hyde Street, side view:
This block of the street is held up by a large retaining wall as it traverses the edge of the Russian Hill Open Space and Park.



George Sterling Park and Alice Marble Tennis Courts:
This block along the top of the hill has some wooded park terraces but is dominated by the courts named after the tennis champion that are built over a reservoir.



Residential Buildings:
Most of the buildings on the hill date from after 1906's Great Earthquake and Fire but there are several survivors that still stand. The usual varied styles of the city from that era through the 1930's are well represented. There are also a few examples of International style highrises. There are few modern or recent projects in this precious real estate, but those that have been lucky enough to be squeezed in are mostly in the backward-looking Mediterranean mansion vein.















































































All photographs taken in 2011 by geomorph.

Last edited by geomorph; Apr 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 5:43 AM
mhays mhays is online now
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What a phenomenal neighborhood. Some friends just got an apartment on top of Russian Hill and have a guest bedroom....gonna hafta visit soon.
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  #3  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
What a phenomenal neighborhood. Some friends just got an apartment on top of Russian Hill and have a guest bedroom....gonna hafta visit soon.
I need a friend on Russian Hill. Beautiful pictures.
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  #4  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 11:38 PM
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The views from Russian Hill are incredible... it's been a while since I've been on Lombard Street. Usually I only get the chance when I have family over from elsewhere lol.

This pic:



Captured it perfectly.


I'm only vaguely familiar with the rest of Russian Hill... looks like I'll have to rectify that. Thanks for another informative and greatly realized SF thread. You should publish a book of these when you feel you're "finished" with SF since you've already done all the research and can add captions for every picture you've taken.
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  #5  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2011, 6:08 PM
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Russian Hill is one of my favorite parts of San Francisco. I lived there for 2.5 years in a bldg. on the corner of Union & Jones (it's in your picture looking down the Jones St. Hill). Next time you're in the neighborhood, take some pictures of Macondray Lane (off of Jones between Greene and Union) immortalized as "Barbary Lane" in the "Tales of the City" series. The joke about the two, hulking, modern apt. buildings is that if you live in one or the other, you only have to look at one of them. They're hideous. Believe it or not, when they were built, the plan was to line the entire ridge from Russian Hill to Pacific Heights with similar monstrosities. A more interesting complex is the group of residences on Union just one address west of the corner of Jones on the north side of the street - the first residential co-op in San Francisco. It's gated and the gate is usually locked to anyone who doesn't have a key, but you can peer in. Also, at the corner of Union and Hyde is the original Swensen's ice cream store. It was the only one the owners retained after the chain was bought by whoever bought it and they still make ice cream right there on the premises. It's wonderful!
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  #6  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2011, 2:50 AM
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Nice pictures. I wondered how Russian Hill got its name. One thing I am unclear on: isn't North beach to the east, and Van Nuys to the west?
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2011, 5:44 AM
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Nice pictures. I wondered how Russian Hill got its name. One thing I am unclear on: isn't North beach to the east, and Van Nuys to the west?
North Beach is to the east, down Union Street. Van Nuys is in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, well to the south.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2011, 11:43 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Beautiful!!
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2011, 2:54 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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xzmatt, yes you caught my error, I have changed the description to read correctly now: West is Van Ness/Polk, East is North Beach!
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  #10  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2011, 3:48 PM
sterlippo1 sterlippo1 is offline
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great stuff, i am looking at Russian Hill as i write, staying at the beautifully renovated Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill. I found that tennis court too , amazing view of the fog just pouring into the bay through the Golden Gate with the tops of the bridge's towers being the only part of the bridge visable because of the fog . I always thought Taylor was the steepest street but i think that award goes to Jones! I have been to SF many times and it never fails to blow you away with it's charm and unparalleled beauty. God Bless San Francisco
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 5:17 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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sterlippo, do you like the views from Nob Hill better than Russian Hill? I wonder how popular a big hotel would have been on Russian Hill if one had ever been approved, of course I doubt that its a possibility now!
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2011, 2:55 PM
mulahjulah mulahjulah is offline
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Beautiful images indeed! I really liked the one featuring Fisherman's Wharf, which is my favorite spot in SF. But I might have to check out Russian Hill next. lol
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2011, 9:27 PM
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Well done as usual, geomorph. One thing I've always liked about Russian Hill (and Nob Hill for that matter) is the number of buildings with ornate detailing. You captured that so well here. Bravo!
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2011, 1:27 AM
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Great tour of a $tunning district.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2011, 9:00 PM
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Very well done! The first picture blows me away. Great job!
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  #16  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2011, 3:38 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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Mulahjulah, its nice to hear someone likes Fisherman's Wharf, most locals dismiss it as touristy and claim that they never go there; however it has many aesthetic and recreational merits, I hope to photograph it at some point soon!
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2011, 1:29 PM
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The white city! That's a fabulous looking neighbourhood. Thanks for sharing.
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  #18  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2011, 4:12 AM
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San Francisco would be the perfect city for me to live in due to the fact that it's always cold and pleasant (I hate hot weather)

I read somewhere that San Francisco gets warmer than 24 C degrees for no more than 10 days per year. Every other time the temperatures hovers around the low to mid teens
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  #19  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2011, 4:31 AM
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nice pictures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pallo View Post
San Francisco would be the perfect city for me to live in due to the fact that it's always cold and pleasant (I hate hot weather)

I read somewhere that San Francisco gets warmer than 24 C degrees for no more than 10 days per year. Every other time the temperatures hovers around the low to mid teens
according to wikipedia: SF's average high is 18, and the average low is 11. The average high from June to October is 20-21...SF averages 28 days a year with temps over 24 though, not 10. The record high is 39, and the record low is -2.8. It's actually 23 in my part of SF right now, even though it's night (it's kinda rare for SF to stay warm at night), and it was warmer earlier in the day of course. It's been this way for the past few days with the next few looking to likely be the same....pretty nice!
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2011, 4:37 AM
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nice pictures!



according to wikipedia: SF's average high is 18, and the average low is 11. The average high from June to October is 20-21...SF averages 28 days a year with temps over 24 though, not 10. The record high is 39, and the record low is -2.8. It's actually 23 in my part of SF right now, even though it's night (it's kinda rare for SF to stay warm at night), and it was warmer earlier in the day of course. It's been this way for the past few days with the next few looking to likely be the same....pretty nice!
You are so lucky to live there.
I am jealous now.
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