Is The Heart Of San Francisco Still Beating?

by on June 20, 2023

I took a nice walk along Market street from SF’s Financial District to Mid Market in March to test the pulse of downtown.


My Walk From SF’s Financial District to Mid-Market – Beyond Chron


Financial District has already slipped into a coma at that time but I still found a pulse when reached Mid Market starting from Old Navy.


Walking around the City to talk to people who live and/or work in the area is the best way to find out ourselves the true condition of our City. “Seeing is believing.”


And based on what I saw and heard from store employees from Old Navy (closing on July 1) all the way to AT&T (closing on August 1) on Market street, I predicted at that time that Mid Market would soon lose its pulse.


There is no way that those stores can survive with rampant drug use and dealing on the streets and thefts inside their stores.


I saw more drug dealers than tourists during my walk along Market street.

“What A Difference A Month Made!” Shortly after my walk in March, several stores along Market street announced their closures: Anthropologie (April), Saks of Fifth (May), Nordstrom Rack (May), Nordstrom (May), Coco Republic (May), Old Navy (May), Cinemak theater in Westfield Mall (June), and AT&T (June). It’s the “domino effect.”


Most stores won’t talk to reporters about the real reasons why they are pulling the plug. Therefore, reporters have to dig deep. They have to go into stores and talk to store employees themselves and/or make a public records request to find out the truths.


And the truths are what I have seen and heard from frustrated store employees I talked to during my visits to Old Navy and Westfield Mall during my walk in March.


Betty Yu with CBS interviewed an Old Navy employee about brazen shoplifting in the store: Worker: Closing downtown Old Navy store victim of ‘out-of-control’ shoplifting


J.D. Morris with the SF Chronicle obtained public records to find out how bad crime really is in Westfield Mall:


We can “Blame It On The Rain” for killing retail stores but the fact is our City’s unsafe street conditions and crime play major parts in changing consumer shopping habits from store to online shopping.


Due to rampant shoplifting, stores like Safeway, Target, Walgreens, and CVS lock up their basic products which irritates their shoppers and drives them away from their stores to online.

Garrett Leahy with the SF Standard went shopping with a stopwatch to find out how long it took him to buy locked-up items:

Here’s How Long It Takes To Buy Locked-Up Basic Items


When stores shutter, it affects the whole community.


Being a homeless or a drug addict is not a crime but ripping off stores until the stores shutter is.


Riding BART to downtown is also as scary as the streets.


A friend of mine, who hadn’t been in San Francisco in 20 years, visited the City May 20-27 and e-mailed me her observations of the City:


“I wanted to tell you when I was taking BART from SFO to Civic Center at 7pm Saturday night I was disgusted at the platform inhabitants when I was getting off.


From SFO you go by San Bruno, Daily City, Glen Park stations, etc. All clean no one hanging around on platforms. Get to Civic Center & grossed out by drug dealers openly selling, zombies drugged out laying around, prostitutes, guys riding bikes.


Tried to take the elevator, homeless blocking it.

Get upstairs to ticket exit, 2 guys with bikes jump the turnstile. Station Agent sitting there but staying in glass enclosure (not blaming him for confronting anyone). Escalator going down from street broken & see little old lady barely making it down the 80 steps. Lucky for me going up was working.


Get outside & loads of drug dealers hanging out on Hyde against Asian Museum (where I was going to walk pulling my suitcase). Changed my mind & went to Market & took the bus to Van Ness.


Where are all the BART cops? Why would all those dopeheads get to sit all night on the BART platform? SF cops?


Imagine being a tourist on a Saturday night & being confronted by that scene just trying to exit a BART train.


We need to bring this to someone’s attention like the Mayor, BART executives or media.

They keep streets clean & lit up all around City Hall but dopeheads all over the place. No wonder SF is described as a ghetto.


It does make me sad. I remember the days as a young girl going downtown to the Emporium with my grandmother, aunt, and siblings, and having lunch and doing shopping and just how memorable downtown was back then. San Francisco is a disgrace right now in its current condition.”


When I sincerely asked my friend when she would be visiting our beloved City again, she replied, “Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Play?”


She has since sent e-mails to the Mayor’s office and BART.


From what I’ve seen, I believe that San Francisco may be barely breathing but the heart of our beautiful lady is still beating.


If we want to revive downtown and bring back foot traffic, we must first clean up the streets and enforce the law.

And we must do it fast.


When the vibrancy that draws tourists, workers, and shoppers is gone, it’s very hard to revive it.

Filed under: Mid-Market / Tenderloin