Usually when a small neighborhood from across the country gets a feature to itself in the New York Times it’s cause for overall rejoicing. Hooray local pride! Hooray free press! Those stubborn Manhatt-o-philes wish they lived where WE live!
This recent article and slide show from the Travel section of the NYT has residents of San Francisco’s Sunset district feeling a little ambivalent, though.
Why? Well, for one thing, the piece is titled, “In San Francisco, a Bleak Neighborhood is Revived”. Despite the possibility of good intentions, nobody wants the word “bleak” attached to their ‘hood in a headline. It’s just not flattering, no matter the context.
Furthermore, those who live in the Sunset are rather sensitive to the accusation of bleakness – mostly because they hear it from fellow San Franciscans all the time. Everyone who lives in San Francisco probably has a couple of friends who swear by its charm, its quiet, its free parking and cheap, delicious dim sum joints.
All these things are abundantly true, but it’s just not for everyone. As someone who spent extensive time apartment-shopping in the Sunset, I can tell you that I actually saw the sun one time, and that the dim sum is delicious. But I’d also tell you that “bleak”, while not very nice, is certainly not a stretch.
San Franciscans: what do you think?